MLB Rumors: Braves-Arcia bargain, Orioles replacing Kimbrel, Mason Miller trade outlook (2024)

The Oakland Athletics have been surprisingly decent thus far, entering play on Sunday with a 19-22 record. Yes, they're under .500, but this season has been a step in the right direction for a team that lost 112 games in 2023.

The main reason for their success has been the back end of their bullpen. The A's have the ninth-best bullpen ERA in the league entering play on Sunday, and have seen arms like Lucas Erceg and Mason Miller emerge in a big way.

Miller, in particular, has been otherworldly as the team's closer. The right-hander has not allowed a run in his 12 appearances and 15.1 innings of work since allowing two runs on Opening Day. He has struck out 33 of his 60 batters faced, while walking just four. He's only 25 years old and has arguably the best stuff in the league, but since the A's are the A's his name has appeared in trade talks.

According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, the Athletics are listening to offers for Miller, but a trade is unlikely.

"The Oakland A’s are listening on offers for closer Mason Miller, who has struck out 33 of the 60 batters he has faced this season, but the asking price is so steep he’s expected to stay put," writes Nightengale.

The Athletics have no reason to trade him for anything less than a monster haul. He has tons of years of control and actually makes their team watchable. If a team comes out and offers multiple high-end prospects then sure, the A's should consider, but trading him for anything less would be a mistake.

MLB Rumors: Orioles searching for Craig Kimbrel replacement

The Baltimore Orioles had to sign a late-game reliever this past offseason with Felix Bautista out for the year. There were several appealing options, but for whatever reason, the O's chose Craig Kimbrel and gave him $13 million for one year.

Why the Orioles chose to sign Kimbrel and use him as their closer after last season's postseason disaster with the Philadelphia Phillies is something nobody can reasonably explain, but that's what happened. Kimbrel, predictably, has struggled this season.

The right-hander has a 4.11 ERA in 18 appearances and has particularly struggled of late, blowing two of his last three save opportunities and failing to finish the ninth inning in four of his last five appearances as the closer. While the Orioles could simply turn to Yennier Cano to close, they still need a late-game arm. Fortunately, according to Nightengale, the Orioles know that.

"The Baltimore Orioles privately realize that they are going to have to find closer for the pennant stretch with Craig Kimbrel melting down. They have their eyes on St. Louis Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley, Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano and Astros reliever Ryan Pressly, if their teams become deadline sellers," wries

The Orioles are aiming high, showing interest in three established closers according to Nightengale. The O's have the farm system necessary to trade for one of these guys and not skip a beat. With how good the rest of their team is, if they can finally find their lockdown closer, that might push them to being the World Series favorites.

Remember when Atlanta Braves fans freaked out over Freddie Freeman leaving? Alex Anthopoulos replaced him with Matt Olson who, despite his struggles this season, has been an extraordinary addition. Remember when Braves fans freaked out when Dansby Swanson left? Orlando Arcia has proven to be an absolute bargain of a replacement.

Arcia broke out last season, making the NL All-Star team for the first time in his first season as a full-time starter for the Braves, and has had another good year in 2024. The 29-year-old is slashing .263/.289/.436 with four home runs and 15 RBI. He doesn't walk much, but for a player who mostly hits at the bottom of the order, he's been rock solid at the plate.

In the field he's been even better, ranking in the 98th percentile in outs above average according to Baseball Savant. He's been even better defensively than Swanson, a two-time Gold Glove winner, this season.

The best part about Arcia's emergence is his contract. He signed a three-year deal worth a total of $7.3 million.

"He’s in the second year of a three-year, $7.3 million contract that pays him just $2 million this year, $2 million in 2025 and a $2 million club option in 2026," writes USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Really hard to find better value than that. The Braves are paying a starting shortstop who has been an above-average hitter and an elite defender a total of $2 million this season and they have two more years of control at just $2 million per.

When the contract is up, Atlanta has other avenues to pursue. Perhaps one of their prospects like Nacho Alvarez Jr. or Jose Perdomo can be ready to fill in. Perhaps they get Arcia extended on another cheap team-friendly deal. While the future at the shortstop position is unknown past 2026, Anthopoulos will almost certainly find a valuable option at an unbelievable cost.


MLB Rumors: Braves-Arcia bargain, Orioles replacing Kimbrel, Mason Miller trade outlook (2024)
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