Andrew Miller Rumors

AL East Notes: Miller, Craig, Victorino

David Ortiz told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he’s extremely excited to have Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in the Red Sox’s lineup alongside healthy versions of Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli. “It’s going to make a huge difference.” Ortiz said. “Last year we had the big struggle with injuries. Pedroia struggled with injuries. Nap struggled with injuries. Even myself toward the end, I had a wrist problem. When you have pretty much the center of the lineup going through all those injuries, it’s hard to recover from the struggles we had offensively last year. Hopefully that’s not the case now. Everyone is healthy now. And you’ve got more thunder coming into the lineup.”  Here’s more from the AL East..

  • Andrew Miller turned down a four-year, $40MM deal from the Astros to join the Yankees on a four-year, $36MM this offseason, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes.  While he believed that the Astros are headed in the right direction, he thought it would take them time to realize their goals.  Miller also told Cafardo that the rival Red Sox made an excellent offer, but the Yankees’ situation was just too good for him to pass up.  It’s believed that the Red Sox topped out at $32MM over four years.  Miller recently spoke with MLBTR’s Jeff Todd about his free agent journey.
  • The Angels will turn to Matt Joyce in the wake of Josh Hamilton‘s issues, but Cafardo wonders if they could call the Red Sox about Allen Craig or Shane Victorino.  He also posits that the Blue Jays could have interest in talking with Boston after Michael Saunders‘ injury.
  • The Rays made the right move in releasing thrice-suspended 2010 No. 1 draft pick OF Josh Sale before he anything else went wrong, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes.  Sale has run into a litany of problems over the last few years, including two suspensions imposed by MLB and one from the Rays.  Of course, it also didn’t help that he had yet to play above Class A in five pro years.
  • No one is expecting Johan Santana to revert back to his prime form, but scouts see the Blue Jays signing him as a smart, low-risk move, Cafardo writes.  “He obviously isn’t the Santana of old, but I’m not sure there is a more competitive pitcher in the game, and he’s learned to pitch with less,” said one National League scout.

AL East Notes: Moncada, Beckham, Duquette

The $31.5MM bonus the Red Sox will reportedly pay Yoan Moncada has generated a variety of reactions from players around the league, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes. Moncada’s bonus is well beyond what most other 19-year-old prospects might be able to make, since he was able to negotiate with all 30 teams. “It’s not right that a Cuban 19-year-old gets paid [$31.5 million] and the best 19-year-old in the entire USA gets probably 1/6 of that,” wrote Rays pitcher Drew Smyly. “Everyone should have to go through the same process.” An international draft would help standardize the system by which amateurs sign with teams, and new commissioner Rob Manfred seems to favor discussing it in the next round of CBA negotiations. Abraham polls Red Sox players about an international draft, leading to a large range of answers. Here’s Jackie Bradley Jr.’s: “I would have loved to be a free agent in college and made the best deal I could. Maybe I should have moved out of the country. If everybody was a free agent, you’d get what your real value is.” Here are more notes from the AL East.

  • More than six years after being selected first overall in the 2008 draft, shortstop Tim Beckham is competing for a big-league job in Rays camp for the first time, Marc Topkin writes for Baseball America (subscription-only). With Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar now gone, the Rays now have more space in their middle infield. Asdrubal Cabrera will take one of the middle infield starting jobs, but Topkin suggests Beckham could be a reserve infielder or even a starter, particularly if the team decides it would be best if Cabrera played second base. Beckham, now 25, moved slowly through the minors and finally made his big-league debut in 2013 before missing most of last season due to a knee injury.
  • The Blue Jays‘ pursuit of executive Dan Duquette was serious, but Duquette is back to work with the Orioles, writes MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom. Duquette confirms that he could not leave the Orioles for Toronto because the two teams could not agree on a compensation package for him. This offseason, the Orioles made few big moves of their own and lost Nelson Cruz, Andrew Miller and Nick Markakis, although Duquette points out that the O’s should benefit from full seasons from Manny Machado, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis.

MLBTR Podcast With Guest Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

Host Jeff Todd runs through the week’s news, as always, before being joined by new Yankees late-inning lefty Andrew Miller (2:09) to talk about the pitcher’s free agent experience and interesting career path.

Jeff then chats with MLBTR’s Steve Adams about the potential for further offseason player movement now that James Shields has signed (21:11). Among other things, Jeff and Steve talk through the most likely remaining trade scenarios and the still-active Cuban market.

Click here to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, and please leave a review! The podcast is also available via Stitcher at this link.

The MLB Trade Rumors Podcast runs weekly on Thursday afternoons.



AL East Notes: Kuroda, Hardy, Orioles, Ross, Red Sox

Hiroki Kuroda recently opted to return to the Hiroshima Carp in Japan, but the move doesn’t appear to be a shock to the Yankees, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com writes. The team already re-signed Chris Capuano and traded for Nathan Eovaldi, suggesting that the Yankees either knew Kuroda wasn’t coming back or didn’t want to wait for him. Here’s more from the AL East.

  • The Orioles have lost Andrew Miller, Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis and haven’t done much this offseason to make up for those departures, but their winter would have been much worse if they hadn’t re-signed J.J. Hardy, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. Kubatko suggests that Hardy could have gotten more than the three years and $40MM he received from the Orioles if he’d hit the open market.
  • The Orioles are one of a number of teams that have had quiet offseasons, Andrew Simon of Sports On Earth writes. Despite the departures of Miller, Cruz and Markakis, the O’s might come out fine, as they could easily get more from Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters next season. But they probably still ought to add an outfielder, whether that’s a free agent like Nori Aoki or Colby Rasmus, or a trade acquisition like Marlon Byrd of the Phillies or one of a number of Padres outfielders.
  • Catcher David Ross recently agreed to a two-year deal with the Cubs, rebuffing the Red Sox and Padres, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com provides an interesting chronicle of those negotiations. The Red Sox didn’t want to go to two years for Ross, and Jon Lester‘s decision to sign with Chicago rather than Boston might have had some effect on the Cubs’ willingness to commit to more years for Ross. Ross told the Red Sox he would sign with the Cubs, but then the Padres made a strong offer, which Ross told his agent they would discuss after he worked out. By the time that workout ended, the Padres had traded Ryan Hanigan to Boston, and there was also a report that Ross and the Padres had agreed to terms. “I couldn’€™t believe it,” says Ross, who ended up honoring his commitment to the Cubs. Ross adds that the level of interest in him took him by surprise after he hit just .184/.260/.368 in 50 games last season.

NL West Rumors: Morse, Rosario, Rockies, Padres

The latest from the NL West..


East Notes: Yankees: Byrd, Orioles

Now that David Robertson has agreed to terms with the White Sox, the Yankees should forget about traditional closer usage and instead use their best relievers situationally, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post writes. Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances don’t have significant track records as closers, but established free agent closers like Jason Grilli and Sergio Romo aren’t better pitchers than Miller or Betances. So if the Yankees sign someone like Grilli or Romo, they should treat them only as potential options to pitch in save situations, not as closers in the usual sense. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Marlon Byrd is a good fit for the Orioles, but the Phillies shouldn’t give him up freely, Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com writes. Byrd is a quality hitter on a reasonable and relatively short-term contract, so his age (37) should not be a major detriment. If the Phillies can’t get the right return for Byrd, they shouldn’t trade him, Seidman suggests. The two teams met to discuss Byrd yesterday.
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter marvels at this offseason’s spending by Baltimore’s fellow AL East teams, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com writes. “They run out of money yet? God bless them, that’s the system. If we were in their shoes, we’d do the same thing,” says Showalter. “We just have to be good at some things that allow us to compete with them.” The Orioles have been relatively quiet this offseason while the Red Sox have spent heavily on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the Blue Jays on Russell Martin, and the Yankees on Andrew Miller.

Pitching Notes: Miller, Giants, Cards, Masterson, Axford

Before he joined the Yankees, the Astros actually offered Andrew Miller a deal that included not only four guaranteed years but also a fifth-year option, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reports on Twitter. It remains to be seen how Houston will reallocate the funds it had earmarked for the lefty.

  • If the Giants miss on Jon Lester, they are more likely to go to the next tier of free agent pitchers than to go all out for Max Scherzer, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). San Francisco could aim for options of the ilk of Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano, says Shea, though it is not clear if those illustrative names or particular targets.
  • The Cardinals met with Scherzer at some point over the offseason and are at least weighing a run at him, Jon Heyman of CBSSportscom reports. It remains something of a longshot that Scherzer will land in St. Louis, Heyman notes, though the fact that he is from the area can’t hurt.
  • The Red Sox met with Justin Masterson over the weekend, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports on Twitter. The Twins, meanwhile, have not managed to gain traction with Masterson’s camp, Wolfson adds.
  • The MarlinsWhite Sox, and possibly Cubs will also sit down with Masterson in San Diego, Heyman reports.
  • Reliever John Axford has drawn interest from the Reds, though nothing is close and there are other teams involved, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

Details On The Pursuit And Signing Of Andrew Miller

Southpaw reliever Andrew Miller is headed to the Yankees. GM Brian Cashman addressed the signing in a conference call, and his comments will appear shortly in a separate post.

Here are some notable links regarding the signing:

  • The Astros and Red Sox appear to have been the other finalists for Miller. Houston was in it “to the end,” Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. In fact, the Astros were the high bidder, and were the team that had a $40MM offer out for the lefty, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports on Twitter.
  • There are conflicting reports on just how high Boston was willing to go. The team made a four-year offer that Miller “strongly considered,” according to Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com. On the other hand, GM Ben Cherington left Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) with the impression that his club was not willing to bid up to the level of the Yankees and Astros, and may not have offered a fourth year. And Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald tweets that the Sox were not willing to guarantee the final year of the pact.
  • UPDATEThe Red Sox were willing to go to four years at a lower AAV, with more incentives involved, per a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. And indeed a four-year offer was on the table, Cafardo tweets.
  • The Dodgers were not willing to add a fourth year, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Contract length also played a role in the team’s decision not to push for Zach Duke, though Los Angeles had interest in him, Rosenthal adds.
  • One reason that the Yankees upped their bid for Miller was that the team found other possible upgrades to be too expensive, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Cashman told reporters that the team added $4MM to its offer upon learning that Miller had $40MM on the table.
  • In an interview with Rosenthal, Miller explained that the Yankees were able to offer a total package that no other team could. Specifically, Miller said that he placed a high value on the fact that the Yankees train in the Tampa area, where he lives. He also feels comfortable staying in the AL East. “Money wasn’t everything,” Miller explained. The teams that negotiated with us were fully aware of that as well. In the total package, the Yankees had the best offer for me personally.” Miller added that the Astros made a very appealing overall bid.

Brian Cashman On Andrew Miller, Didi Gregorius

The Yankees addressed two major needs earlier today when they completed a three-team deal to land shortstop Didi Gregorius and later signed reliever Andrew Miller to a four-year, $36MM deal.  Since the Miller deal came to light, some have wondered whether he will displace free agent David Robertson as the team’s closer.  In a conference call earlier today, GM Brian Cashman left the door open for Robertson but also made it clear that he’ll be addressing other needs as well.

We’ll wait and see.  We’re still evaluating all opportunities in this market place,” Cashman said.  “We need to address the left side of the infield, the starting rotation, finding a fourth outfielder…we’ll evaluate every opportunity that comes our way and with all the moving pieces that we have going on, we have to take a serious interest in all of those things and I can’t predict how that will go.

If one thing is for certain in Cashman’s mind, it’s that there is plenty more work to be done this winter.  He told reporters that he is in “acquisition mode” this offseason as the Yankees look to take care of their multiple needs.  Still, he won’t prioritize one area over another as intends to pounce on whatever opportunities and strong fits come his way.

Of course, he trimmed down the checklist a good amount today with the acquisitions of Miller and Gregorius.  As Cashman explained, his pursuit of the young shortstop has been going on for some time.

He’s a young athletic shortstop and his defense is very good.  He’s struggled against left-handed pitching and we believe he hits right-handed pitching well, so I think at the very least, we open up 2015 with him in a platoon with Brendan Ryan until he separates himself.  So, the high end projection is that we think there’s more in the tank there as he continues to develop. We think he’s an exciting talent, but honestly he’s not a finished product.

He’s someone we targeted not just this winter, but in past seasons, both with the old regime and the new regime.  I had to go through another club to get my hands on him.  We believe we’re in a better place than we were before we had him,” Cashman explained.

Even though Cashman was happy to finally get his man, it was difficult for him to part with right-hander Shane Greene in order to make it happen.  In the end, Cashman felt that Greene established himself as a promising talent after last season, but that was the price he had to pay in order to get an up-and-coming player at a premium position.

While today’s acquisitions will be counted on for big performances in 2014, Cashman knows that it’ll be even more crucial for the Bombers to get strong play out of their veterans coming back from injury.  Alex Rodriguez‘s name was mentioned alongside the likes of Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann, but he was noticeably left out when Cashman noted that he has one possibility to play third base (Martin Prado) on the roster.  When asked to expand, Cashman explained that he’s only hoping for, not banking on, A-Rod to be a factor at third base.

I think it’s every color on the rainbow.  The extreme hope is that you can get the middle of the lineup bat to play third whenever you want, if not all the time.  The worst case scenario is that he’s no longer a third baseman and doesn’t have that bat and you’re looking other places,” said the GM.

Ultimately, Prado could wind up being slotted in at second or third base and Cashman sounded like someone who was equally open to either possibility.   Figuring out a solution for one of those two positions will be amongst the Bombers’ top priorities going forward, but the crazy nature of the baseball offseason means that Cashman will have to be equal parts proactive and reactive in filling the team’s holes.  Whether the Yankees put more resources into the infield or, say, fortifying the starting rotation will hinge on what opportunities present themselves in the coming weeks.

I will gravitate faster to whatever presents itself as the most interesting option.  I will have to act accordingly because there are many teams with the same needs as us,” Cashman said.


Yankees Sign Andrew Miller

5:27pm: Miller will receive a straight $9MM annual salary, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The deal does not include any options.

2:38pm: Earlier today the Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius in a three-team trade, and that was just the beginning of the splash they’re making, as they’ve now also announced the signing of Andrew Miller to a four-year contract. Miller, a client of Frontline Athlete Management, will reportedly receive a $36MM guarantee, but the contract does not include a no-trade clause.

"<strong

The 29-year-old Miller (30 next May) broke out in a huge way in 2014, pitching to a 2.02 ERA with an eye-popping 14.9 K/9 (an AL record), 2.5 BB/9 and a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate in 62 1/2 innings for the Red Sox and Orioles. He went on to throw another 7 1/3 shutout innings with an 8-to-1 K/BB ratio in the postseason as well. Miller will pair with Dellin Betances — an electric breakout story himself — at the back of the Yankee bullpen, giving manager Joe Girardi a pair of dominant late-inning options. Joel Sherman of the New York Post expects Miller to be used to close games, but not exclusively, as Betances will likely be in the mix for save opportunities as well (Twitter link).

Of course, Girardi is accustomed to that feeling, as he was able to enjoy excellent work from David Robertson and Mariano Rivera from 2011-13, and then Robertson and Betances this past season. The Miller signing doesn’t necessarily preclude the Yankees from retaining Robertson, as some reports have indicated that it’s at least possible for GM Brian Cashman to spend to bring both elite relievers to the Bronx. That would give the Yankees a Royals-esque late-inning trio, though the team may also simply replace Robertson with Miller and collect a draft pick when their closer signs elsewhere.

Miller’s contract is the largest ever for a non-closing reliever — a nice feather in the cap of agent Mark Rodgers. Rafael Soriano had previously signed a three-year, $35MM contract to set up for the Yankees, though he had prior closing experience. Scott Linebrink signed a four-year, $19MM contract with the White Sox that was the largest guarantee for a setup man that had never closed.

As excellent as Miller was in 2014, the contract is clearly not without risk for the Yankees. Setting aside the volatile nature of all relievers, this past season marked the first year in which Miller displayed above-average control and was also the first in which he was allowed to face both right-and left-handed hitters in a full setup capacity. Miller averaged 4.7 walks per nine innings from 2012-13 (5.0 in 2013) and totaled just 71 innings in that time due to a combination of a more limited role and injuries. Miller suffered a lis-franc fracture in his foot in 2013 and missed time in 2012 with a strained hamstring. This past season he faced 144 righties and 98 lefties, but in 2013 he faced a much more even 73 righties and 62 lefties. In 2012, he was deployed mostly as a lefty specialist, pitching to 102 left-handed hitters and just 67 right-handed batters.

The Miller situation has likely handcuffed the free agent reliever market to some extent. As many as 23 clubs showed interest in him, though in recent days it seemed that the Astros, Dodgers and Yankees were among the final clubs standing. With one of the top two names off the board — Robertson being the other — more relief signings figure to trickle in, especially considering the fact that Robertson’s market figures to be limited to a smaller number of teams, given his higher asking price.

Jack Curry of the YES Network first tweeted news of the agreement and the terms of the contract. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted the lack of a no-trade clause.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.