10:51 am: The deal is official. Atlanta designated first baseman Matt Adams for assignment to clear roster space for Milone, who is in fact set to start tonight’s game for the Braves.
8:26 am: The Braves are nearing a deal to acquire left-hander Tommy Milone from the Orioles, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com (Twitter link). Atlanta will send two prospects, neither of whom is in the Braves’ 60-man player pool, to Baltimore, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Because they are outside the player pool, those prospects will be included as players to be named later. Presumably, we won’t know their identities until after the end of the season.
Milone, 33, was surprisingly named Baltimore’s Opening Day starter after latching on with the organization on a minor-league deal over the offseason. That start didn’t go as planned, but he’s quietly performed well in his five starts since. Overall, Milone has a 3.99 ERA in 29.1 innings this season.
The soft-tossing Milone has always been a control artist, and that’s continued in 2020. More importantly, he’s struck out a career-best 24% of hitters in the early going on the back of a career-high 12.5% swinging strike rate. The Braves will place a low-cost bet Milone can mostly maintain that uptick in swing-and-miss while working in his customary 86-87 MPH velocity range. His $1MM base salary was prorated to a little over $370K, of which about $173K remains. Milone will be a free agent at season’s end.
It still seems there’s room for the Braves to explore further rotation acquisitions. Max Fried has been exceptional so far, but the rest of the rotation has been shaky. Despite those starting pitching woes, the Braves are off to an 18-14 start and two games ahead of the pack in the NL East. However, they’re not expected to be involved in the pursuit of Rangers ace Lance Lynn, hears Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link).
At 14-18, the Orioles are technically still on the periphery of the AL wild card race. Serviceable start notwithstanding, this was always expected to be a rebuilding year for Baltimore, so it’s hardly surprising to see them flip present assets for future value. Prospects Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer are already on the 40-man roster and are speculative candidates to replace Milone in the starting rotation.