Andrew Miller Rumors

Red Sox Notes: Lester, Dodgers, Miller

“There’s a growing expectation from rival execs that Jon Lester is going to be traded before [the July] deadline,” ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link), and the Dodgers are seen as the likeliest candidate to add the Red Sox left-hander.  Los Angeles has shown interest in Lester, though there were conflicting reports yesterday about whether the two sides had actually seriously discussed a trade.

Here’s some more news surrounding the defending World Series champs…

  • The Royals, Dodgers and Nationals are the latest known suitors for reliever Andrew Miller, according to ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes and Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com. (Edes reported the Royals’ interest while Gammons reported on the two NL teams.)  Boston is known to be shopping Miller, with the Braves and Pirates also amongst the clubs checking in on the lefty.  Miller has posted an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 14.5 K/9 and 5.0 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 relief innings for the Sox this season.
  • Also from Gammons, several other teams were interested in Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, the two ex-Giants prospects obtained by the Red Sox in the Jake Peavy trade.  Two different rival executives told Gammons they tried to get Hembree as a future set-up man, while Escobar’s stock was higher before he began his tough season at Triple-A.
  • In a piece full of notes and observations about the Red Sox, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe is baffled that Lester and the Sox seemed so mutually interested in a contract extension yet now Lester could be a trade candidate.  “Why the Sox seem almost eager to chase away one of their cornerstone players is a mystery,” Abraham writes, predicting that if Lester hits the open market, he’ll sign elsewhere since another teams will spend big for the southpaw.
  • Also from Abraham, he opines that the Red Sox should extend Miller rather than trade him, stay away from Matt Kemp in any trade talks with the Dodgers and release struggling reliever Edward Mujica.

Red Sox Shopping Andrew Miller; Pirates, Braves Interested

The Red Sox are willing to move southpaw reliever Andrew Miller in a trade, according to multiple reports. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter) says that Boston is shopping the lefty, adding that the Pirates have been scouting the club for weeks and have interest in Miller. Likewise, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears (Twitter link) that Miller is available and reiterates that the Braves are still on him, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reporting that Miller is Atlanta’s “prime bullpen target.”

Miller, 29, could well be the most impactful late-inning lefty available, as I noted yesterday in a breakdown of the left-handed relief market. He owns stellar peripherals (14.5 K/9 vs. 2.8 BB/9, 51.9% groundball rate) to go along with excellent results (2.31 ERA). Unsurprisingly, ERA estimators are also a fan: Miller sports a 1.77 FIP, 1.82 xFIP, and 1.47 SIERA.

This is undoubtedly Miller’s finest season, as he has only once sported an ERA of below three earned per nine (last year) and struggled earlier in his career, when he was use a starter. But his results have steadily improved since he shifted to the pen, and Miller has plenty of value to a contending team that does not want to take on long-term commitments. He is earning just $1.9MM this year and will hit the open market following the end of the season.


Red Sox Becoming Increasingly Willing To Deal

The Red Sox are becoming increasingly likely to consider other trades, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reports. The big factor in the Red Sox’ willingness to deal is not the recent trade of Jake Peavy to the Giants, which was likely regardless, but rather the team’s recent slide. The Red Sox have lost four in a row and are now 10 1/2 games back in the AL East.

The Dodgers have touched base with the Red Sox regarding Jon Lester, Edes writes, although those talks have not yet gone very far. Also, the Royals are keeping their eyes on outfielder Jonny Gomes. Left-handed reliever Andrew Miller has also attracted plenty of interested teams. He’s due to become a free agent this offseason, but the Red Sox have not had discussions with him about an extension.



Stark’s Latest: Howard, Peavy, Reds, Red Sox, Rollins, Murphy

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com spent an hour chatting with readers about the trade deadline. Here are some highlights from his session…

  • The Phillies have offered Ryan Howard to any American League club they think could theoretically use him and received no takers. GM Ruben Amaro has even offered to pay the vast majority of Howard’s deal while asking for little in return, but to no avail.
  • The possibility of Jake Peavy heading to the Cardinals is still very much alive, Stark hears. The Red Sox just sent their top scouts to watch St. Louis’  short-season Class A club, which would fit with previous reports that Boston likes outfield prospect Rowan Wick (though he has since moved up to the Midwest League).
  • Despite a six-game losing streak, the Reds are still buying, and their preference is to add a bat that they can control beyond this season. As such, Marlon Byrd and Ben Zobrist both are targets, though it’s far from a guarantee that the Rays will sell.
  • Stark says he’s “barely heard [Stephen] Drew‘s name” on the trade market due to how poorly the shortstop has played since signing. If the Red Sox sell, he notes, the team will trade some combination of Peavy, Andrew Miller, Jonny Gomes and Junichi Tazawa. The addition of Tazawa’s name is a new wrinkle in the trade market. The 28-year-old has been dominant for the Sox and is controlled through 2016 via arbitration. One would think he could fetch a very nice return, given his 2.52 ERA (2.66 FIP), 9.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.
  • The Giants “really want a starter,” but Stark can’t see them seriously pursuing David Price. He does note that GM Brian Sabean usually ends up getting what he’s looking for at this time of the year. San Francisco has also shown some interest in Jimmy Rollins, but the chances are very low due to the former MVP’s 10-and-5 rights, his contract and the fact that Brandon Crawford would have to slide over to second base. (Alternatively, Rollins could simply play second, given Crawford’s defensive prowess.)
  • While most reports out of New York indicate that the Mets don’t want to trade Daniel Murphy, Stark hears that they’d “definitely” move him if they received enough quality in return. I’d imagine the asking price on Murphy to be very high, given Alderson’s reluctance to sell off assets that are under control beyond the current season.

Quick Hits: Urias, Braves, Burnett, McCutchen

17-year-old Dodgers lefty Julio Urias wowed observers at the Futures Game, leading to chatter about the possibility that he could make his big-league debut as soon as next year, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports writes. “This guy’s got the ability to pitch in the big leagues at 18,” says Dodgers scouting director Logan White. That doesn’t mean the Dodgers will promote Urias that soon — he’s currently at Class A+ Rancho Cucamonga, and he’s only pitched 52 1/3 innings because the Dodgers are concerned about overworking him. But his stuff (he can touch 97 MPH) and composure are impressive beyond his years. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.

  • The Braves badly need lefty bullpen help and particularly like the Red SoxAndrew Miller, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. Luis Avilan‘s struggles on Sunday are an example of the problems the Braves have had, O’Brien writes — Avilan entered in a 10-4 game in the eighth and faced three batters, giving up a single and two walks. By the time the inning was over, it was 10-7, and a blowout had suddenly become a save situation. Miller, who has struck out 14.4 batters per nine innings for Boston this season, would be a big upgrade. The Braves also like James Russell and Wesley Wright of the Cubs, O’Brien writes.
  • The Braves should release second baseman Dan Uggla, writes Mark Bradley of the Journal-Constitution. The $19MM the Braves owe Uggla through 2015 is a “sunken cost,” and the Braves won’t be able to find a team willing to trade for him. Uggla is hitting an execrable .162/.241/.231 in 145 plate appearances this season. Uggla received only 15 plate appearances in June and only has three so far in July. The Braves also suspended him for a game on Sunday for being late arriving at Wrigley Field Saturday.
  • A.J. Burnett wants to stay with the Phillies, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “I’m not a guy who looks for an out or wants to get out because things aren’t going the right way,” says Burnett. “If that happens, then it happens, but I’m not looking to move on. This is my team.” Burnett has a limited no-trade clause, and says he isn’t sure how he would respond if the Phillies asked him to waive it.
  • The rash of pitcher injuries this season might affect the salaries of free-agents-to-be like Max Scherzer and Jon Lester, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Recent injuries to Masahiro Tanaka and C.C. Sabathia and the questionable or disappointing contracts of pitchers like Justin Verlander and Johan Santana show how risky long-term deals for star pitchers can be. Scherzer and Lester have performed well this season, but other pitchers’ recent histories might affect the market this winter.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington wants Andrew McCutchen to be a Pirate for life, although he’s realistic about how difficult McCutchen will be to keep, Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “We truly hope Andrew McCutchen retires as a Pirate. That is going to be incredibly challenging to do, but that is our long-term goal,” says Huntington. The Bucs already control McCutchen through 2018 at bargain rates — his yearly salary through his age-31 season never exceeds $14.5MM.

NL East Notes: Mets, Murphy, Phillies, Braves, Miller

Mets GM Sandy Alderson maintains that the club is still assessing what course it will take at the trade deadline, reports ESPNNewYork.com’s Adam Rubin“Look, let’s see where we are at the end of this week,” said Alderson. “We’re always willing to listen. We may be thinking in terms of the second half of this season. We may be thinking more in terms of next season.” Alderson continued to note that, even if the team sells, it may not be willing to settle for lower-level talent: We’ve made a lot of deals in recent years where we’ve gotten prospects who are a good ways away. I don’t think we’re thinking that way these days, although sometimes that’s the value in a return.” 

Here’s the latest out of New York and the rest of the National League East:

  • After talking with people familiar with Alderson’s thinking, David Lennon of Newsday gets the sense that the Mets‘ GM isn’t necessarily committed to the idea of trading Daniel Murphy. Lennon does note that the team is eager to get another look at Wilmer Flores, who is playing second base at Triple-A Las Vegas these days.
  • Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. took to the air to defend the capabilities of several of the team’s veterans in a radio interview (audio link) with Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic. “If you want to talk about declining, that happens,” said Amaro. “But that doesn’t mean they aren’t producing in some way shape or form and Chase [Utley] is one of those guys.” Nevertheless, Amaro acknowledged that several of the team’s long-term deals have not worked out as hoped: “Unfortunately these guys are human beings and they aren’t living up to what we expected and we’re trying to do something about that right now.” Going forward, the team is in a “fluid situation,” said the Philly GM. “I talk to [team owner] David [Montgomery] and our group all the time about what our direction is,” he said.
  • The Braves are prioritizing the acquisition of a “lockdown-type left-hander” for the bullpen, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O’Brien argues that the club should make a push to add Andrew Miller of the Red Sox, noting his outstanding 14.7 K/9 mark and domination of opposing left-handed hitters. The 29-year-old has indeed been outstanding, with a 2.41 ERA through 33 2/3 frames thus far in his walk year.

 Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Red Sox Notes: Lester, Miller, Depth

Here’s the latest from Fenway Park…

  • Jon Lester has told the Red Sox that he would like to hold off contract talks until the season is over, and it appears that both parties will wait until October to re-open negotiations, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  Lester has repeatedly said that he feels in-season talks are a distraction, though the Sox reportedly were open to increasing their last contract offer.
  • Both sides still have “a strong interest” in reaching an extension and continuing Lester’s tenure in Boston, though naturally many teams would be interested in Lester’s services.  Heyman notes that the Yankees would have particular interest in adding the veteran left-hander.
  • Andrew Miller wants to stay with the Sox beyond this season, but the pending free agent tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that he isn’t thinking about either a new contract or the possibility of being traded before the deadline.  Miller said his representatives haven’t talked about an extension aside from some “very, very minor discussion in spring training that mostly stemmed from us not being able to agree on arbitration.”  After strong performances in 2012-13, Miller is having his best season yet in Boston, posting a 2.48 ERA, 5.5 K/BB rate and a superb 15.2 K/9 over 32 2/3 IP.
  • GM Ben Cherington made three offseason mistakes that hurt the Red Sox this year, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes.  Not making an earlier extension offer to Lester was one, in Lauber’s opinion, and the Sox also erred in counting too much on the injury-prone Shane Victorino and the unproven Will Middlebrooks to be everyday players.

Red Sox, Andrew Miller Avoid Arbitration

The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Andrew Miller by agreeing on a deal worth slightly more than $1.9MM for 2014, Alex Speier of WEEI.com tweets. Boston has announced the deal.

Settling with Miller means the Sox will not go to arbitration with any of their eligible players this winter. When they exchanged figures earlier this offseason, Miller requested $2.15MM and the Sox countered with $1.55MM. The $1.9MM contract is just above the midpoint between those two figures and is an exact match for this offseason's projection by MLBTR's Matt Swartz.

Miller arrived in Boston in a 2010 trade and was excellent in 2012, posting a 3.35 ERA in 40 1/3 innings. The lefty was building upon that campaign in 2013, allowing just a 2.64 ERA through early July, when he succumbed to a foot injury.


East Notes: Amaro, Teheran, Miller

Ryan Howard was "the single most productive player in the game" before he signed his extension in 2010, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. tells FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal in an extended interview. "Did we expect some dropoff later on? Sure. But can we gauge that the man was going to blow out his Achilles? No. That was a big blow to us. And it was a big blow to us because of the nature of the injury. It was a fluke injury," Amaro says. Amaro also argues that, although his roster might be on the older side, plenty of older players are effective. He hopes the 2014 team to be healthier than last year's team, but also notes that this year's edition is better equipped to deal with injuries. Here are more notes from the East divisions.

  • Julio Teheran's new extension with the Braves is similar to the one Madison Bumgarner signed two years ago, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs writes. While Teheran's deal isn't as surprising as the Freddie Freeman deal was, Cameron argues that it still demonstrates that pre-free-agency extensions are getting more expensive. Bumgarner, for example, had accomplished more at the time of his extension than Teheran has. Teheran also received much more than Martin Perez did in his extension, which he received in November.
  • Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller has an arbitration hearing on Tuesday, and in preparation, Miller and the Sox are working on a one-year deal, not a multiyear contract, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald tweets. Miller has asked for $2.15MM, while the Red Sox have countered with $1.55MM.

AL East Links: Henry, Ellsbury, Davis, Bickford

Andrew Miller will require surgery to repair ligament damage in his left foot and will miss the rest of the season, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters (including Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com) today.  Miller had pitched well out of the Boston bullpen this season, posting a 2.64 ERA, 2.82 K/BB ratio and a whopping 14.1 K/9 in 30 2/3 relief innings, though control continued to be an issue for the southpaw as he issued 17 walks.  With Miller out, the Red Sox could well look into some of the left-handed relief options available on the trade market.

Here's some more news from around the AL East…

  • Also from McAdam, Red Sox owner John Henry said that the team had room to add payroll at the trade deadline, if necessary.  "I can't see it being an issue," Henry said. "I suppose there might be some (larger) salaries that we couldn't take on, but it just doesn't come up as an issue."  The blockbuster trade with the Dodgers last summer helped the Red Sox avoid any potential payroll tax issues and left the team with financial room to maneuver this year, Henry explained.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury figures to be one of the top free agents of the 2013-14 offseason and agent Scott Boras will no doubt keep his client in the headlines this winter, but Ellsbury tells WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he and his agent haven't discussed the future as Boras has let Ellsbury just focus on baseball.  Bradford also talked to notable Boras clients Michael Bourn and Stephen Drew about their own forays into free agency and how Boras dealt with their situations.
  • The Orioles have avoided "the mega-contract business" since the Albert Belle signing, though CBS Sports' Jon Heyman wonders what the team will do to lock up Chris Davis and Manny Machado.  Davis will go through the arbitration process for the second time this winter and is controlled through 2015 while Machado is controlled through 2018 and is still two years away from arb-eligibility.  Davis, for his part, hasn't heard of any extension talks between the team and his agent, Scott Boras.  While the O's have generally avoided big signings, I'd argue that the Adam Jones extension shows that the team won't hesitate to extend its key building blocks.  A multiyear deal for Davis wouldn't be a surprise this winter, though the O's can probably wait for a year or two to explore an extension for Machado.
  • A scouting director tells Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun that his team considered Phil Bickford to be the top high school pitcher available in this year's amateur draft but the right-hander carried signability issues.  "The family wouldn’t meet with us until 48 hours before the draft and they wanted $3MM," the scouting director said.  The Blue Jays took Bickford with the 10th overall pick, a position that carries an assigned value of a little over $2.921MM, and since the team has saved a lot of bonus pool money, the Jays could afford to meet Bickford's $3MM asking price.
  • We covered some Yankees items as part of a New York Notes post earlier today on MLBTR.