Andrew Miller Rumors

Red Sox Sign Andrew Miller

The Red Sox have signed Andrew Miller to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, according to a team media release.  The left-hander met with a number of teams at the Winter Meetings, before the Giants and Red Sox emerged as finalists.  Frontline, the agency that represents A.J. Burnett and Cliff Lee, represents Miller.

Boston acquired Miller from the Marlins for Dustin Richardson after the season, only to non-tender him on December 2nd. The Tigers selected Miller sixth overall in the 2006 draft and sent him to Florida in the 2007 Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade. The 25-year-old has walked 5.3 batters per nine innings in his major league career and has a 5.84 ERA.

He is out of options, so the Red Sox will have to expose him to waivers before sending him to the minor leagues. Boston will be able to retain him after 2011 through arbitration if they so choose. 

Gordon Edes of (Twitter link) was the first to report that a deal was close between Miller and the Sox.

Strong Interest In Andrew Miller

3:25pm: The Giants and Red Sox are competing for Miller, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).

WEDNESDAY, 3:00pm: Miller met with four teams yesterday and is still fielding offers, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston (Twitter links). The Red Sox are engaged with Hideki Okajima and Miller and the team would like to re-sign Miller.

TUESDAY, 11:11am: Miller will be at the Winter Meetings in person this afternoon to meet with teams, including the Red Sox, tweets ESPN's Gordon Edes.

4:24am: Cliff Lee isn't the only lefty free agent represented by Darek Braunecker, but I think it's safe to say that Braunecker's other client, Andrew Miller, won't be receiving the same types of offers as the 2008 AL Cy Young winner.

Still, Peter Abraham and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe relay some information from Braunecker, stating that "a lot" of clubs are interested in Miller, the former #6 overall pick in the draft. Boston would like Miller back on a reasonable deal, but it sounds like they'll have some competition.

The Red Sox flipped Dustin Richardson for Miller last month, but then decided not to tender the 25-year-old Miller a contract due to concerns over what kind of salary he'd command in arbitration. Miller became a free agent, and understandably, several clubs would like to get their hands on a player who was drafted sixth overall and once rated the game's #10 prospect by Baseball America.

The 6'7" southpaw was rushed to the Majors to say the least, when the Tigers called him up on August 30, 2006, just months after he was drafted. The hope was that the projected strikeout machine would help solidify their stretch run out of the bullpen. Miller struggled, but the assumption was that he'd be a solid contributor in the near future.

That looked to be the case, as Miller pitched very well across three minor league levels in 2007 before being called up to once again struggle in the Majors, this time in 13 starts. Still, as a 22-year-old, expectations were high. They were so high, in fact, that he became one of the centerpieces (along with Cameron Maybin) to the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from Florida to Detroit.

Miller's command struggles continued with the Marlins though, and his fastball velocity continued to drop. In November 2010, the Marlins flipped him to Boston for Richardson, a pitcher who was drafted 157 picks after Miller in the same 2006 draft and has just 16 1/3 Major League innings to his name. Not what Florida was hoping for.

Miller won't turn 26 until late next May though, and that leaves plenty of time for him to put it together. As it wouldn't take more than a minimal investment, many teams have contacted Braunecker. It's not as if high upside, left-handed pitchers grow on trees, after all. Miller may never become the front-line starter he was once projected to be, but that pedigree can certainly provide him with a number of suitors to choose from.

Giants Rumors: Rotation Depth, Cabrera, Santiago

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle has a pair of Giants articles up. Let's dig in:

  • The Giants are looking to add rotation depth by pursuing "sixth starter" types. According to Shea, they're one of several teams interested in Andrew Miller, who visited the Giants in their suite Tuesday at the Winter Meetings.
  • The Giants are also in the market for backup shortstops. Some names they've floated around include Orlando Cabrera and Tigers' utilityman Ramon Santiago. Edgar Renteria remains an option as well.
  • Despite yet another surgery for Freddy Sanchez (this time on his left shoulder), San Francisco won't be pursuing any second basemen. Sanchez should be ready for Opening Day, and the Giants already have Mike Fontenot and Mark DeRosa to backup if needed.

American League Non-Tenders

This post will list all the American League players non-tendered today, but the best place to track all 200+ arbitration eligible players is our new non-tender tracker.

Meetings Rumors: A’s, Tigers, M’s, Red Sox, O’s

Baseball's general managers met in Orlando today and discussed potential changes to the collective bargaining agreement. MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred told reporters that he's optimistic about reaching a new CBA with the MLB Players Association and eager to hear the opinions of baseball's GMs. Manfred declined to go into detail on the talks, but the GMs addressed a number of hot stove topics with MLBTR soon afterwards. Here are the details (and be sure to follow @mlbtrorlando for more updates):

  • The A's are off to a busy offseason start, but it's not intentional. "I don't think any particular reason other than opportunities presented themselves when they did," A's GM Billy Beane said. "It wasn't by design or anything like that. [David]  DeJesus was somebody we inquired on back in August when he was hurt and we didn't control the pace of that negotiation, because they didn't move him until they were ready to move him."
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski says the Tigers could add left-handers, right-handers or both to their bullpen this winter.
  • The Tigers expect Andy Oliver to be a quality big league pitcher, but they aren't counting on him for their 2011 rotation, according to Dombrowski.
  • Asked who will close for his team in 2011, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik praised David Aardsma's recent body of work. Zduriencik also said he doesn't expect Milton Bradley's history with manager Eric Wedge to be an issue. 
  • The Mariners opened the 2010 season with a heavily right-handed bullpen and Zduriencik says "it'd be nice to have a left-hander or two out there" in 2011.
  • Red Sox GM Theo Epstein says the Red Sox need to get to know Andrew Miller and Taylor Buchholz before he knows specifically what to expect from the team's new acquisitions. He does like "the possibility of real upside" for both pitchers, and was impressed by Buchholz's 2008 season with the Rockies.
  • Epstein says the Red Sox bullpen is far from a finished product despite the acquisitions. "We probably have to acquire one or two relievers through trade or free agency and we will. I really believe in the guys we have in the back: [Jonathan] Pabelbon, [Daniel] Bard and possibly [Felix] Doubront. If he's not in the rotation, he could be a very valuable bullpen piece."
  • Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail says there haven't been major developments with free agents Cesar Izturis or Ty Wigginton since the O's expressed interest in both when the offseason ended.
  • For more GM Meetings coverage, see what Jed Hoyer of the Padres, Neal Huntington of the Pirates and Andrew Friedman of the Rays had to say.

Red Sox Acquire Andrew Miller

The Red Sox acquired Andrew Miller from the Marlins in exchange for Dustin Richardson, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports (on Twitter). 

Miller, 25, was picked sixth overall by Detroit in the 2006 amateur draft and was dealt to Florida as part of the big Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis swap in December 2007.  Miller was seen as arguably the biggest piece (along with Cameron Maybin) of the six-prospect package that Florida acquired for their stars, but the left-hander has struggled to become a consistent major league hurler.  In 79 career games, 54 of them starts, Miller has a 5.84 ERA and a 7.2 BB/9 rate.  Miller was out of options with the Marlins and could've been non-tendered, but the Red Sox were clearly willing to take a chance on a young pitcher who still has a high ceiling.

Richardson is also a 25-year-old southpaw originally chosen in the 2006 draft, though Richardson's pick came in the fifth round.  Also like Miller, Richardson has struggled with control issues — in 16.1 major league innings, Richardson has recorded 15 walks.  His control has been better (4.4 BB/9 rate) in the minors, plus he has a K/9 ratio of 10.0 over his five minor league seasons.  Richardson has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen for the last two years and the Marlins were known to be looking for relief pitching this winter.

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.

Odds & Ends: Miller, Laird, Fielder, V-Mart

As the Giants pick up a major win over the Rockies tonight, here are some news items….

2006 Draft Throwdown

There is little that is more dismaying than looking back at old draft lists, with the benefit of hindsight, and seeing which players your favorite team missed out on while settling for players who either failed to make much of an impact, or who never even reached the major leagues. Think Reggie Jackson and Steve Chilcott, Robin Yount and David Clyde, Dwight Gooden and Bryan Oelkers. Often, this is driven less by player talent, and more by positional need.

But even more fascinating is to look at some recent draft picks and some of their immediate counterparts, to see how teams fared picking players, one over another, who played the same position. In other words, straight-up scouting choices led to these decisions. Let's take a look at how those worked out in 2006.

  • LHP Andrew Miller (Tigers) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers): This one is more complicated than it might seem at first. Clearly, Miller, drafted sixth overall, has not been nearly as effective as Kershaw, drafted seventh overall. Miller has a 5.50 ERA in 261 2/3 major league innings, and is currently having trouble throwing strikes in the minor leagues, with an astonishing 30 walks in 28 innings. Kershaw has a 3.28 ERA in 342 major league innings, and shows signs of being a good deal better than that moving forward. But Miller isn't with the Tigers; Detroit dealt him in the move that brought Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Still, advantage has to go to Kershaw on this one, and the Dodgers as well.
  • RHP Tim Lincecum (Giants) vs. Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks): Is this one about to turn? Obviously, as of this date, Lincecum, drafted tenth, has worked out as well as one could hope any draft pick could, while Scherzer, drafted eleventh, is still a work-in-progress who has already been traded once. But Lincecum has had uncharacteristic struggles with his control lately, even though his season ERA (3.14) and strikeout rate (10.4/9 innings) are not far off of his career marks. And Scherzer is coming off of a 14-strikeout performance, though four walks meant that he did so in just 5 2/3 innings. For now, though, a big edge to Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
  • OF Tyler Colvin (Cubs) vs. Travis Snider (Blue Jays): Based on 2010 season line alone, this battle of the lefty-hitting outfielders would have to go to Colvin, drafted thirteenth, over Snider, drafted fourteenth. After all, Colvin has an OPS of .991 in 83 plate appearances this season, while Snider's stands at .806. But overall, it seems clear that the Blue Jays did better here. Snider came out of high school, while Colvin was a collegiate player. Yet Snider posted significantly better offensive numbers than Colvin as each player climbed their respective system ladders- a .916 to .785 edge in minor league OPS. Snider was holding down a regular job at age 22 before he hit the DL, while Colvin is struggling for a regular spot as his 25th birthday approaches. This one is debatable, but the smart money gives Toronto and Snider the edge.

Odds & Ends: Ortiz, Brewers, Salcedo, Miller

Links for Saturday…