The Baltimore Orioles have acquired left-hander Andrew Miller from the Boston Red Sox, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. In return, the Red Sox will be receiving pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, according to Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet.
Rodriguez is a fantastic return for the Red Sox, who have made a handful of good moves today. Prior to the season, the 21-year-old was ranked by Baseball America as the 65th-best prospect in the minor leagues. In 16 starts for Double-A Bowie, Rodriguez is 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 1.440 WHIP. This comes in 82 2/3 innings pitched. He has a fastball in the 91-94 mph range, change-up in the 81-86 mph range, and a slider in the 82-86 mph range. His ceiling is probably a number two or three starter.
The Orioles are getting the premium lefty on the trade market in Andrew Miller. The 29-year-old has a good repertoire with two plus pitches; the fastball and the slider. He has only allowed 25 hits in 42 1/3 innings pitched on the year, walking only 13. This is good for a 0.898 WHIP. He is 3-5 with a 2.34 ERA, 1.69 FIP, and a 69 to 13 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Miller's neutral ERA (adjusted by park factors) is 68% better than the average pitcher, as he has a 168 ERA+ on the year.
Besides closer Zach Britton, the Orioles only have one left-hander in their bullpen in Brian Matusz, who has a 4.14 ERA and a 96 ERA+ in 37 innings pitched. Acquiring Miller does fill a need for the team, but giving up Rodriguez may be too much for them. The Orioles are currently in first place in the American League East, by a 2.5 game lead. Miller and Britton will be a shutdown combination in the 8th and 9th innings for Baltimore the rest of the way. However, Miller is a free agent at the season's end.
The Orioles get their man in Andrew Miller, but not after they give up pretty good prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. But when going for a World Series championship, you have to make those risky moves and worry about later when later comes. We will have to see if Miller is a difference-maker down the stretch.