On July 31, the Mariners traded away struggling starter Wade Miley to the Orioles in exchange for Cuban lefty Ariel Miranda. At the time, the move was seen mostly as a push (at least, to everyone who doesn’t enjoy Mariners-themed Disney song parodies). However, in September, Miranda brought his new club home with a bang, going 4-1 and tying a club record for wins in that month. His 2.62 ERA for the month is fourth-lowest in club history, and he held runners to just a .175/.233/.400 slash line that month. It was by far the best he’d pitched in his career, and it came at a time when the Mariners needed him the most.
Ariel Miranda will be fighting for a spot on the 25-man this Spring Training, whether in the rotation or the bullpen. He will need to prove that he’s taken a significant step forward since his semi-middling numbers in Cuba and the Orioles’ farm system. Even though he is old for a recently-arrived prospect, at 27, there is a chance that in the off-season the Mariners’ pitching staff will be able to provide Miranda with the magic tweaks he needs to break through at the MLB level. Tall and very slender, Miranda isn’t going to be a dominant strikeout pitcher. But if he can continue to work low in the zone and get groundball outs, limiting his dinger problem, he could find himself a useful part in the Mariners’ rotation next year. Anyone who can get Trout to ground out, ending a threat with two runners on and a two-run lead, is a valuable piece indeed.