Ariel Miranda Debuts, Isn’t Wade Miley

For the first time since being shipped to Seattle in exchange for Wade Miley, Ariel Miranda made a start for the Mariners and he did so looking rather good.

My first impression of Miranda was that he had a motion somewhat reminiscent of Wade Miley-trade castoff Roenis Elias. He reached 95 mph with his fastball with what looks like a very low effort delivery. Although the consensus is that his splitter is his best pitch, Miranda didn’t showcase it much, electing to go with a more fastball-heavy approach. He gave up more hits than you would like to see, but Miranda was making his debut start in the MLB, and these are the Red Sox. He went through six innings on just 80 pitches (54 strikes).

Miranda received just a ‘C’ grade from John Sickels, and also was not featured on any of the Orioles’ Top 20 or Top 30 prospect lists. Still, Miranda showed up to Seattle tonight and looked better than Wade Miley has looked in the majority of his starts.

Despite looking very solid tonight, Ariel Miranda (and 112.0 innings of an uninspired Wade Miley) have ended up being the return for Carson Smith and Roenis Elias. Had I been told that’s what we would have received at the time, I’d have been thoroughly disappointed. Now, I really don’t mind at all. Roenis Elias has had even more trouble with his consistency and command issues (4.37 BB/9 in AAA), and Carson Smith pitched all of 2 2/3 innings this year before being shelved for the season due to Tommy John surgery. So really, the Mariners lost this trade, the Red Sox lost this trade, Carson Smith lost this trade, Roenis Elias lost this trade, and Wade Miley lost this trade. We all lose! Except Jonathan Aro, also implicated in the trade. He’s mostly enjoyed becoming Evan Scribner in Tacoma (without the dingers!).

We managed to salvage Ariel Miranda out of it all, despite having years and years of club control in Wade Miley. Which makes you think, even if Wade Miley hasn’t been effective, why take so little when you have a proven innings-eater locked up for years? Jason A. Churchill and Steve Sandmeyer speculated that it may be a clubhouse issue with Miley. Miley may have not been a fan of adjustments that the team wanted him to make, and the team sure didn’t seem to be too keen on working with him since he was moved for so little. Adding to the confusion is that the Mariners refused to sell on several players with expiring contracts, electing to stay in-between the label of buyer or seller. Down the stretch, Miley is a pitcher that is very important for a team to have. Jerry Dipoto clearly didn’t want anything to do with him. Jerry Dipoto does want something to do with Miranda, and lucky for him, Miranda has another year of arbitration next year.

Going forward, I expect Ariel Miranda to be one of our best starters. Maybe my judgment is clouded from today’s start, but you also have to think about the fact that our rotation isn’t very good. (What a euphemism!) He feels like a starter that will get touched up from time to time, but he showed me enough tonight for me to be interested every time I see him in the slot for tonight’s starter. The novelty of a new starter is enough to last me until at least halfway through September, adding to the fact that he’s a lefty who can touch at least 95, he’ll be a fun guy to watch progress.

Welcome to Seattle, Ariel. May you never receive a terrible nickname from Dave Sims. And may that nickname never have anything to do with The Little Mermaid.

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