Yankees may lose out on potential Athletics trade target to division rivals

Mason Miller, Yankees
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The New York Yankees are in win-now mode, which could necessitate further star additions to the roster. However, one reliever that could take their unit from great to exceptional may be swayed to another team in the AL East.

Oakland Athletics closer Mason Miller is also linked to the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore was labeled by The Athletic’s Jim Bowden as having the best shot to land him should Oakland be sellers by the July 30 MLB trade deadline (h/t Fansided’s Zach Pressnell).

Yankees could snag Athletics closer Mason Miller despite Orioles being the frontrunners

Mason Miller, Yankees
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However, that does not eliminate New York from the running. The Yankees could benefit from bringing the 25-year-old into their fold as the 2024 MLB season approaches its halfway mark. The Yankees currently have Clay Holmes closing the show in the Bronx. Holmes owns a superior 1.80 ERA and more than double the amount of saves with 25. Behind him though, the Yanks lost Jonathan Loaisiga for the year and have questions marks further down their depth chart in leadup to Holmes.

Meanwhile, Miller owns a 2.40 ERA and a scintillating 0.867 WHIP alongside 55 strikeouts thus far this season. He’s given up three home runs, which is only one more than his concession from 2023, in 14 more games played. With 24 appearances under his belt, 12 of which he’s notched saves in, the Pennsylvania native has established himself as a formidable closer in the Majors and one that could potentially elevate the Yankees even further in their pursuit of a World Series this year.

Miller’s huge pricetag may be one that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner refrains from

MLB: New York Yankees-Aaron Judge press conference
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The Yankees would have major legwork to do in order to ingratiate him into their system. Deciding on his role, as well as the haul of assets it would take to acquire him will be major determinants. Though, the biggest one of all is seeing if the Orioles are as serious about making a power play for the second-year talent as they’re projected to be.

The AL East could be decided by the team that Miller lands on by July 30

Mason Miller, Yankees
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The Orioles also have a stacked bullpen. They are led by superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. As a unit, they have 22 saves on the campaign, good for fourth-most overall and only three less than the MLB-leading Yankees. Individually, Kimbrel and Holmes both have three blown saves on the year. Though the divide between both relief units may not seem glaring at the moment, Miller’s insertion into either fold could tip the scales considerably.

Only 2.5 games separate the 49-22 Yankees (No. 1) from the 45-23 Orioles (No. 2) in the AL East standings. Whichever team lands the righty flamethrower could get a favorable advantage that distances themselves from the other as the year progresses.

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