With the Aug. 1 trade deadline drawing closer, the first-place Giants could make a major acquisition over the next couple months as they seek their fourth World Series title since 2010. One potential trade target they’ve discussed internally is Yankees left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link). Rosenthal wonders if San Francisco would be willing to part with its best pitching prospect, 23-year-old right-hander Tyler Beede, in order to land Miller.
Even if the Giants do pursue Miller, there’s obviously no guarantee the Yankees will deal the 31-year-old. Miller, after all, is still under their control at a reasonable $9MM per year through 2018, so they could keep him if they plan to contend in the near term. Contention could be out of the question this season, though, given that the Yankees haven’t consistently shown signs of life during their 25-29 start. They’re already seven games behind American League East-leading Boston and six games out of a Wild Card spot, and they lost first baseman Mark Teixeira on Friday to what could be a season-ending knee injury.
If the Yankees sell Miller, there’s a chance they’ll lose both him and fellow lights-out lefty Aroldis Chapman by the end of the year. Chapman, also a summer trade candidate, is slated to hit free agency after the season. That would bring a quick end to the Yankees’ much-ballyhooed Chapman-Miller-Dellin Betances trio and leave them with just one of the three going forward.
For the 35-22 Giants, who hold the second-best record in baseball, adding Miller would further strengthen a bullpen that already has a handful of impressive late-game options – even without the injured Sergio Romo. Giants relievers entered Saturday with a below-average 4.01 ERA and a replacement-level fWAR (0.0), good for the fourth-worst mark in the league, but closer Santiago Casilla (a pending free agent), Hunter Strickland, Cory Gearrin and Derek Law have performed well. Miller is vastly superior to each of them, though, and would offer variety as a southpaw.
Handedness aside, Miller has racked up videogamelike strikeout totals (16.62 per nine innings) while showing excellent control (1.25 BB/9), generating grounders 50 percent of the time and pitching to a 1.25 ERA over 21 2/3 innings this year. Dating back to 2012, his breakout season in relief with the Red Sox, Miller has put up a 2.28 ERA, 14.21 K/9, 3.20 BB/9 and 48.1 percent grounder rate in 216 2/3 frames. The 6-foot-7, 210-pounder has added to his value by showing the ability to dominate as either a closer or setup man.
There are likely to be many suitors for Miller if the Yankees make him available, so the Bombers’ asking price for him should be high. Whether the Giants are willing to move Beede for Miller is unknown – as is whether Beede would even appeal to New York – but it’s fair to say the reliever will command a quality return if the Yanks shop him.