To the surprise of no one, the window is effectively shut on Andrew Miller returning to the Orioles. Though he is a reliever seeking a four year deal, he's still got up to ten teams who he is seriously negotiating with, according to the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles are not one of those teams.
Miller, 29, whom the Orioles acquired from Boston for pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, is in such high demand thanks to a season in which he held both lefties and righties to a microscopic OPS: .446 against RHB, .467 against LHB. He struck out a whopping 103 batters in 62.1 innings. That's pretty dang good.
In the three seasons since he converted to a reliever full-time, Miller has accumulated a 2.57 ERA in 133.1 innings pitched, striking out a stunning 202 batters. When the ball was put in play, it ended up on the ground nearly half the time. In 2014 in particular, he drastically cut his walk rate, going from a 12.8% BB rate in 2013 to 7% this season. Oh, and he only allowed three home runs all season. That's like one homestand for Brian Matusz.
Since the Orioles acquired him midseason, there was no chance of tagging him with a qualifying offer to compensate them with a draft pick if he departs. That's probably another reason why the market for his services is so robust. All that a team has to pay is money, and they've all got plenty of that. There are also a lot of teams with a specific need for a reliever with a track record of recent success. Imagine the ALDS if Miller was in the Tigers bullpen instead. Pretty big difference.
The O's just aren't in a place where they can pony up for a premium reliever for that long of a contract for the money he'll command. Especially since, in Miller's case, this is the only season of his career where he pitched at such a high level, or even pitched a full season in relief at all. Prior to 2014, the lowest BB/9 of his career was a 4.46. This year, the league average in that category was 2.89. If the improvements he made stick, then he'll probably be worth the money to somebody. If not, well, someone else gets stuck with that hot potato.
If we're lucky, Miller will end up with some National League team who the Orioles don't have to see on a yearly basis. If we're unlucky, Miller will be back in Boston and Rodriguez will win like four Cy Youngs.