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Orioles fans dreaming of Andrew Miller are not realistic

Orioles fans dreaming of Andrew Miller are not realistic

As some Orioles fans watched the Cleveland Indians take a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, there were a number who wondered about Andrew Miller. 

The Orioles showed little interest in re-signing Miller after the 2014 season, but were all about Darren O’Day a year later, they said. 

Miller signed for four years and $36 million, and a year later, O’Day for four years and $31 million. 

The situations were very different. 

RELATED: ORIOLES PUZZLED OVER CHRIS DAVIS' 2016 NUMBERS

Everyone around the Orioles loved Miller. There was nothing not to love. In 20 innings, he struck out 34 and walked just four and had a Britton-like WHIP of 0.600. 

In the postseason Miller was even better, giving up just one hit in 7 1/3 innings, striking out eight and walking one. 

Miller has been nearly unhittable in this year’s postseason, allowing three hits in 7 2/3 innings to the fearsome Red Sox and Blue Jays lineups, and recording 17 strikeouts in 23 outs. 

Why couldn’t the Orioles have kept him? 

Miller liked his 10 weeks in Baltimore, and was popular among his teammates, and the Orioles didn’t make an effort to sign him, telling his agent they didn’t feel they could compete with a team like the Yankees, who signed him. He also may have had more lucrative offers from others. 

After 2014, the Orioles lost not only Miller, but Nelson Cruz, who many fans still miss and Nick Markakis, and that offseason has generally been considered an awful one. 

While the Orioles’ bullpen has continued to shine in the last two seasons, the production of Cruz and Markakis is still missed. 

The Orioles tried to re-sign Cruz, but the Seattle Mariners were willing to give him a fourth year.
Two seasons into the four-year, $57 million contract, Cruz has continued to play well. He’s hit 87 home runs and driven in 198 runs while hitting .287.

Perhaps the primary reason the Orioles refused to give Cruz a fourth year was his age, but at 36, he had a better offensive season than his excellent one with the Orioles in 2014. 

Last year, the Orioles made an organizational change. They decided that in order to compete they had to be more aggressive with free agents. 

A year ago, no one would have dreamed a seven-year, $161 million contract for Chris Davis was possible, or that they’d pay that much for a relief pitcher. 

The Orioles still probably won’t win many bidding wars over free agents. The biggest ones they’ve signed during the Dan Duquette era have been their own (Davis, O’Day Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters) or those at a deep discount because there wasn’t a great market for them (Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo and Pedro Alvarez). 

In Feb. 2014, it was a stretch for the Orioles to sign Jimenez for four years, and after his poor initial season, the team was reluctant to offer four years to another free agent pitcher, and that’s why they weren’t going after Miller. 

Even now, the four-year barrier could be difficult to overcome if they’re trying to extend Chris Tillman. 

The money for Miller and O’Day isn’t quite as comparable as it looks, either. 

Miller’s contract is for four years at $9 million a season while $4 million of O’Day’s $31 million is deferred. 

The Orioles are hoping that O’Day rebounds smartly from his painful 2016 season when he missed more than the year with hamstring and shoulder injuries. 

His 2016 production lagged. In 34 games, O’Day was 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA. The ERA was more than half again as much as his previous high with the Orioles (2.28 in 2012). 

The Orioles thought they were taking a good risk with O’Day, who hadn’t suffered any disabling injuries in his first four seasons with the team. 

They were heartened by his last three regular season outings (2 2/3 perfect innings), and the sharp five-out performance in the wild-card game. 

Miller would have been wonderful to have, and it’s great to see the inventive way Terry Francona has been using him, but the bullpen is hardly the Orioles’ weakness. 

With O’Day, Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Mychal Givens, it’s one of the game’s best. 

While having Miller as part of that bullpen would be great, but it just wasn’t possible—or realistic. 

RELATED: ADAM JONES ON THE CUSP OF LEGEND STATUS IN BALTIMORE

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Closer Zach Britton tears Achilles tendon in offseason training

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Closer Zach Britton tears Achilles tendon in offseason training

BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Zach Britton ruptured his right Achilles tendon in offseason training, a significant injury that could cause him to miss part of the 2018 season.

Baltimore executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette on Wednesday confirmed the torn Achilles tendon. It was not immediately clear how long Britton would be out.

In a tweet announcing the injury, the team said Britton was injured Tuesday while training in California and wished him a speedy recovery.

Britton had 15 saves and a 2.89 ERA with the Orioles this past season. In 2016, had a 0.54 ERA and was perfect in save opportunities with a major league-leading 47.

The left-hander, who turns 30 on Friday, is arbitration eligible after making $11.4 million last season. Britton can become a free agent after next season, which made him a strong trade candidate before the injury.

Britton has converted 135 of 145 save opportunities since becoming the Orioles' closer in 2014.

MORE ORIOLES: GAUSMAN CHANGES HIS NUMBER TO HONOR ROY HALLADAY

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.