Mason Miller trade possibilities

Two Mason Miller Trade Possibilities

One of the biggest stories around Major League Baseball in 2024 has been the emergence of Oakland Athletics closer Mason Miller as one of the most dominant bullpen arms in the game. Much has already been made about the A’s turnaround this season. Still, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the future of this organization and with postseason hopes remaining very slim it looks like their relief ace will be on the trade market this season. No team has enough pitching so virtually every contender will give the A’s a call about the 25-year-old flamethrower.

While the A’s have stated that Miller is available, they have also clarified that their asking price is understandably extremely high. After just 10 appearances in his rookie season in 2023, six of them as a starter, the hard-throwing righty entered a permanent bullpen role in 2024 and has been dominant. Among relievers, he is first in WAR (1.2), and third in Win Probability Added (WPA of 1.8), and his 1.10 ERA just scratches the surface of how great he’s been over 16 innings this season. His real value comes from the fact that he is just 25 and is under club control through the 2029 season. While excellent, Miller’s performance could also be a flash in the pan, so the A’s figure is now the time for them to sell high on one of baseball’s most exciting players. With that in mind here are two Mason Miller trade possibilities that could reshape pennant races for years.

Two Mason Miller Trade Scenarios

 

1. To Orioles: Mason Miller, To Athletics: Heston Kjerstad, Connor Norby, and Cade Povich

At first glance, these two teams appear to be a perfect match in any Mason Miller deal. The Baltimore Orioles are possibly the best team in the AL and look to put together a deep playoff run in 2024. The Orioles are a very young team at the beginning of their window so trading prospects is not a good idea, although they already did it for a rental this off-season. That being said if they’re going to trade from their deep system, Miller is the perfect player to acquire. He is young, controllable, and fills a clear need in the absence of closer Felix Bautista.

With veteran closer Craig Kimbrel struggling to start this year and the Orioles in a tough AL East race, the front office is already looking for options to stabilize the back end of the bullpen. With Baltimore’s current situation, the A’s could get what many would consider a significant overpay in the form of two top prospects, 25-year-old outfielder Heston Kjerstad, 23-year-old second baseman Connor Norby, and 24-year-old starting pitcher Cade Povich. Kjerstad would be the headliner, he is ranked as the 23rd-best prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline and projects to be an impact bat at the big league level despite struggling in his brief stint earlier this season. The Orioles may also want to trade him because he doesn’t have a clear spot on this roster in the future as a lefty-hitting outfielder and has struggled to get opportunities when up at the big-league level.

Kjerstad aside, Norby and Povich are also quality pieces. Norby is the organization’s sixth-ranked prospect and at just 23 he is raking in Triple-A with a 121 wRC+ while slugging .497. Povich is another interesting prospect, after struggling between double and triple-A in 2023 he has rebounded in a big way in his first full Triple-A season in 2024. He leads the International League in both ERA (2.16) and strikeouts (57) through eight starts and 41.2 innings. That is more than a worthwhile package for an A’s team looking for prospect depth to build around as they plan their move to Vegas. If this package doesn’t motivate the Athletics front office to move Miller now, it would be almost impossible to get him out of Oakland.

2. To Rangers: Mason Miller, To Athletics: Sebastian Walcott, Justin Foscue, and Brock Porter

The defending World Series champs have a bullpen problem that is hindering their title defense in 2024. The Texas Rangers bullpen has the worst ERA in baseball (5.35) and fifth worst FIP in the big leagues (4.41) while walking the most hitters of any bullpen in baseball. The problem seems to start with closer Jose Leclerc who is sporting a brutal 6.88 ERA in his first 16 appearances. While Leclerc will likely turn it around and remain an effective relief option, acquiring a back-end piece will be a priority for the Rangers as the season progresses. As well, as this is already a veteran pitching staff, injecting some youth into the bullpen would do a lot for the balance of the roster.

Like any other team though the Rangers would have to give up a lot of the future to get Miller and his 103 mile-per-hour fastball in their uniform. In this hypothetical that package starts with the system’s second-ranked prospect Sebastian Walcott, who at just 18 years old has already shown some power from shortstop in Single-A and rookie ball. The 6’4” shortstop is not expected to make his debut for several years but could be a major piece when he finally comes up.

As well, 25-year-old second baseman Justin Foscue, made his major league debut earlier in the season before an oblique injury sidelined him for some significant time. He raked in Triple-A last year before getting the call in 2024 and could be a big part of the Oakland offense as soon as later this season. Lastly, 20-year-old starter Brock Porter made 21 starts in Low-A in 2023 with a 2.47 ERA is another major piece the A’s could seek in a trade. The hard-throwing righty can go deep into games and touch 100 with his fastball, assuming he doesn’t get injured he could be a big part of an A’s rotation in the future. It’s a hefty price for any team to pay but if the Rangers want a game-shortening arm in the bullpen like Miller’s, this is what it’s going to cost.

These are two of the possible trade scenarios the A’s could pursue involving Mason Miller but there are certainly many more. On the rare occasion a young talent that special becomes available every contender lines up to put their best offer forward. In this case, though it will take a massive haul for the A’s to part with their star closer, especially given their current place in the standings. That being said, the two teams listed above will be among the first teams in line to try to bring a rising star into their bullpen, look for them to be in on Miller’s pursuit up to the August 1st trade deadline.

Main Image: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

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