Non-Tender Candidate: Andrew Miller

There is no commodity in baseball more precious than young power pitching, and that goes double if the player happens to be lefthanded. That's the case with Andrew Miller of the Marlins, the sixth overall pick in the 2006 draft and one of the key pieces in the December 2007 trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit.

It's easy to forget that he's still just 25 years old, but it seems like Miller had lived a baseball lifetime. He made his big league debut a few weeks after signing his first contract, throwing 10.1 innings of low-pressure relief down the stretch for Jim Leyland's club. After a brief minor league tune-up the next year, Miller found himself in the Tigers' rotation at midsummer, posting a 5.63 ERA in 13 starts. The next year he was in Florida, and in his three seasons with the Fish he's pitched to a 5.89 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 220 innings.

Miller has been bouncing back and forth between the majors and minors throughout his career as he's struggled to find consistency with his delivery and command, and as a result he's now out of options. If the Marlins want to sent him to minors next year, he'll have to first be exposed to the other 29 teams on waivers. There's a chance that will be a non-issue though, because Florida may opt to simply non-tender Miller this offseason.

Thanks to the major league contract he signed out of the draft, Miller earned a touch over $1.79MM in 2010. That original deal expired after 2009, though it paid him $1.575MM that season, which was used as a base for his 2010 compensation. Considering how poorly he's pitched, not to mention the system in general, Miller wouldn't have come close to a seven-figure salary in either of the last two years if he was a regular player with less than three years of service time. Given their financial restraints, it's not tough to see why the Marlins may opt to pass on paying Miller close to $2MM in 2011.

Despite all that, it's tough to walk away from a young lefty that still touches the mid-90's with his fastball. The Kevin Towers led Padres wanted Miller in a potential Heath Bell trade last year, and I'm sure general manager Michael Hill would be able to drum up some trade interest if he looks around. That would be preferable than a non-tender, since at least Florida would get something other than payroll relief in return.

What do you think the Marlins will do with Miller this offseason? Click here to vote and here to see the results. Thanks in advance.

30 Responses to Non-Tender Candidate: Andrew Miller Leave a Reply

  1. cweradio 5 years ago

    Attention Mr. Alderson … SIGN THIS GUY PLEASE

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      I don’t see why any team shouldn’t take a gamble on him, which is also why I see the Marlins keeping him. Anytime you have a pitcher who was as dominant in college as Miller was and who has visible potential (I’m not saying he has visible potential), you take a flyer. I don’t think the Marlins will or should non-tender him, but if they do, I expect many teams to attempt to sign him.

  2. i’d be shocked to see him get non-tendered. a young lefty w/ mid-90’s heat? he just needs the duncan treatment…

  3. Sniderlover 5 years ago

    I would like it if Jays could take a chance at him.

  4. PookieGonzales 5 years ago

    I think this has the sound of a guy theo would try out of the bullpen. ehhh….. that though kinda scares me

  5. airohpue13 5 years ago

    In an early post Mike Axisa wrote, “Miller was the consensus top talent in the 2006 draft, but lasted until the sixth pick because of bonus demands”. What went wrong with this guy? I know when I saw him play for the tigers it seemed like he only knew how to throw a fastball.

    • bigpat 5 years ago

      The Tigers rushed him like they did with all their prospects. Verlander worked out, but it hasn’t been so great for many other of their prospects. It seems like they don’t even give a guy a season in the minors before they’re in the bigs, and it’s too much pressure for a lot of guys, especially considering they draft power arms with spotty control. Tough to learn vs the best, but if they do I guess it works out.

      • I thought he demanded to be in the big leagues pretty much right away or he wouldn’t sign. Not the Tigers fault on this one, just greed and impatience on the part of Miller.

  6. Remembering back to when he was such a huge draft prospect, it’s hard to believe his career is already at a crossroads. I think Miller’s future will be in the back of a bullpen somewhere, whether it’s for the Marlins or someone else. He needs to get with the right pitching coach that can help expand his repertoire and not lean everything on that fastball. Or maybe his career will be the Cliff Lee route; spending some time in the minors and coming back up a CY Young winner?

  7. qudjy1 5 years ago

    I could see towers going after him again…

  8. vtadave 5 years ago

    Taking Miller over Kershaw and that Lincecum guy probably wasn’t the best call…

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      He was drafted by the Tigers.

      • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

        He was still drafted ahead of Kershaw and Lincecum.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Right, but at the time it wasn’t crazy.

          • start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

            True. As I recall of the 3, Miller was considered to be closest to major league talent.

      • vtadave 5 years ago

        Well aware of that…

        • Sniderlover 5 years ago

          So then why bring it up? Its easy to look into things hindsight.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Like our good buddy Albert Pujols, to whom every team passed on 12+ times.

  9. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    He’s still fairly young, he’s still left handed, he’s managed to stay healthy. I see him as a project for Don Cooper or Mike Maddux. They both have great track records with mechanically screwed up youngsters.

    The Marlins should work a deal with Texas or the White Sox.

    • RidiculousPage 5 years ago

      He hasn’t exactly stayed healthy. As I recall, he’s had a fee knee problems through the years. And he’s not exactly throwing gas anymore.

  10. the Padres can take him easy. big park you know.

  11. johnsilver 5 years ago

    Watch him pitch a game. he can’t repeat his delivery pretty much every time he throws for some reason. Willis (Dontre) is about the only other troubled pitcher last year I at least noticed that on and maybe the guy is just plain old too stubborn to change it.

    Just because he throws mid 90’s and is LH isn’t some magical jelly bean either..Willis has the same talent (or rather lack of) and hasn’t been worth 2C for 3 years.

    • cubfan4life 5 years ago

      One of the biggest problems is that through his time at UNC he was a low 3/4 almost sidearm guy and for him it was an easily repeatable delivery even if it was somewhat unorthodox when you watched him it was an easy motion for him.

      Then when he got to Detroit and after that Florida, someone who thought he knew what he was doing decided to change his mechanics to make him more high 3/4 to over the top. You cant change a pitchers mechanics that much and expect him to succeed right away. Combine the mechanical change with high expectations and you have a guy still learning something only this time its against major league hitters.

      I thought i read something this season about the FLA guys letting him go back to what he used to use but by then all he had to be thinking was “why didnt you just leave me alone in the first place” and his confidence is shot and his trust in the team and coaches is shot.

      For his own good i hope he is Non-Tendered. If he is i smell STL/Dave Duncan in his future.

  12. hartvig 5 years ago

    Part of Willis’ problem is the leg kick he uses & as he’s gotten older & a little larger he no longer has the flexibility to do it consistently. I don’t remember enough about Miller’s mechanics to know what his problem is.

  13. RidiculousPage 5 years ago

    The thing with Miller is that he can’t repeat his delivery, which is huge for a pitcher, and in the last two years, he’s lost about 4 mph on his fastball. He kinda jus whips the ball up there at around 91 and then throws junk for breaking balls. Watching his delivery several times, I wonder how the hell this guy was ever dominant. 96 doesn’t matter if you can’t spot it.

  14. marlinsfanatic 5 years ago

    I can see the Marlins trading Miller to the Nationals for Pudge or in any deal to get a catcher.

  15. abraves10 5 years ago

    FRANK WREN SIGN THIS GUY….sign him and bonderman and let them battle it out for the number 5 spot

  16. This guy is one good pitching coach away from being a solid ML starter

    Oh Cardinals…

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