Andrew Miller Rumors
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.
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.
As the Giants pick up a major win over the Rockies tonight, here are some news items....
- The Marlins face a tough decision with the out-of-options Andrew Miller, writes Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post.
- Gerald Laird is looking for regular playing time next season, so it could mean the end for his time in Detroit what with Alex Avila having locked down a regular catching job, reports MLB.com's Jason Beck.
- "I think there’s probably a better chance that [Prince Fielder]’s not with us than he is [next season]," Ryan Braun said to Anthony Witrado of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before what could be Fielder's last home series as a Brewer.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter) predicts that Miguel Olivo will return to Colorado next season even if he doesn't reach his vesting option.
- C.C. Sabathia doesn't think his friend and former Indians teammate Victor Martinez will re-sign with Boston this winter, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman.
- Matt Cerrone of the MetsBlog would like to see Bobby Valentine managing the Mets next season, with Wally Backman (who's been rumored as another managerial candidate) as the team's bench coach.
- Now that we know Stan Kasten won't be back as Washington's president next season, MASNSports.com's Phil Wood thinks Kasten would be a prime candidate to be baseball's next commissioner. Wood also thinks the Nationals will promote their next president from within the organization.
- With Yadier Molina shut down for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks the Cardinals should look for a veteran backup for the workhorse catcher over the winter.
- A number of Padres coaches are being interviewed for open managerial jobs, writes MLB.com's Corey Brock.
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.
Links for Saturday...
- David Ortiz said he isn't letting his contract situation get to him, writes ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. Big Papi will earn $12.5MM this year, and the Red Sox hold an option at the same salary for 2011 with no buyout. Tough to see them picking that one up.
- An interesting point raised by MLB.com's Adam McCalvy: The Brewers essentially traded Hernan Iribarren to the Rangers for Joe Inglett. Milwaukee picked up Inglett in January after he was waived by Texas. Mat Gamel and Inglett are now in the mix for the Brewers' final bench spot.
- Edward Salcedo was officially introduced to Braves reporters this morning, writes Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The 18-year-old Dominican shortstop said that Atlanta was the only organization to show significant interest in him over the past two years.
- Jim Edmonds may be playing his way into a role with the Brewers, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Both the Diamondbacks and Mariners had interest in Dana Eveland before he was acquired by the Blue Jays, tweets MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com spoke to a scout who wouldn't be surprised if the Marlins traded lefty Andrew Miller (link goes to Twitter).
- David Murphy is just biding his time on Texas' bench, writes Anthony Andro of The Star-Telegram. Murphy is a .278/.336/.465 career hitter, but he might get too expensive for a bench job as he enters his first arbitration year after 2010.
- Ben Shpigel of The New York Times reports that Yankees' hitting coach Kevin Long was analyzing videotape of Curtis Granderson to help him improve against lefthanders way back in November, a month before the team traded for him.
Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald looks at what's in store for the Marlins as the Winter Meetings approach:
- No surprise here, but the Marlins won't be players for any reputable free agents. In fact, were you aware that over the past three offseasons, the most the Marlins have spent on any one free agent was the $2MM they gave Luis Gonzalez in 2007? Needless to say, Matt Holliday and Jason Bay aren't headed to South Florida.
- The Giants have been one of the most outspoken suitors for Dan Uggla, but the Marlins have asked for Madison Bumgarner in any deal for Uggla. The Giants top pitching prospect is a hefty price to pay, and could lead the Giants to pursue other avenues to add some thunder.
- As we've heard before, Renyel Pinto and Matt Lindstrom could very well be moved at the Winter Meetings.
- Even if Pinto and Lindstrom stay put, the Marlins will be on the lookout for affordable bullpen help now that Kiko Calero and Brendan Donnelly have departed.
- The Marlins will turn to internal options such as Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison to replace departed free agent Nick Johnson and his monstrous OBP.
- Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are the team's two locks for the starting rotation. From there, a combination of Anibal Sanchez, Andrew Miller, Sean West, Rick VandenHurk, Chris Volstad, and Hayden Penn will fill out the final three spots.
In the wake of the Phillies' bullpen giving us all Mitch Williams flashbacks, here are a few pieces of news....
- Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post reports that Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria thought about replacing manager Fredi Gonzalez with Bobby Valentine as far back as June.
- Loria, Gonzalez and other members of the Florida front office were in Paris for a short working vacation earlier in the week, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.
- Spencer also notes that Florida left-hander Andrew Miller (the No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft), is pitching for Mesa of the Arizona Fall League to both get some extra work and to straighten out the kinks in his throwing motion.
- In other AFL news, MLB.com's Jason Beck thinks that Tigers prospect Scott Sizemore's performance in Arizona this winter might help him win a job in Detroit in 2010.
- Atlanta's Brian McCann underwent his second bout of Lazik eye surgery today to try and solve his nagging vision problems, reports Mark Bowman of MLB.com
- WEEI.com's Alex Speier says Red Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie met with doctors on Friday and was told his surgically-repaired wrist should be in top shape for spring training after an off-season conditioning program.
2:38pm: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Marlins are no longer pursuing Bell or Nick Johnson. That should leave the Angels or Dodgers if anyone.
2:11pm: ESPN's Buster Olney says the Twins have interest in Bell, as well as Oakland's Michael Wuertz.
1:18pm: Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times says the Angels and Dodgers are battling for Bell.
9:19am: Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel says the Padres wanted Cameron Maybin and Miller for Bell. The Fish have seen other trade ideas dry up as well, leading Rodriguez to suggest "it might be Nick Johnson or bust for the Marlins." SI's Jon Heyman agrees.
7:02am: The latest on Padres closer Heath Bell, who is under team control through 2011...
Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune says that "late Thursday night, both the Angels and Marlins were still talking to the Padres regarding Bell." We learned yesterday that the Padres requested Andrew Miller or Sean West from the Marlins, and Florida declined. Marlins president David Samson appeared on the radio yesterday to discuss the trade deadline, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has a nice summary of that.
1:48pm: A Rosenthal/Morosi source says the Rangers aren't in on Bell, Sherrill, or Matt Capps.
11:49am: ESPN's Buster Olney says the Marlins declined the request for Miller or West, leaving talks between the two clubs at a standstill.
Meanwhile, Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post says the Marlins are also in on George Sherrill.
11:12am: SI's Jon Heyman tells us the Marlins are "are in serious discussions to try to land Padres closer Heath Bell." Heyman says it looks like it could be Andrew Miller or Sean West, names that have been put forth in previous reports. Either young lefty seems like a solid return for Bell. Heyman notes that the Yanks also have interest, but the Fish "are in good position to make a deal." Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX Sports acknowledge interest from the Yanks, but say the teams have not had serious discussions. The writers also mention the Rangers "on the periphery."
Rosenthal and Morosi wrote yesterday that 10 to 15 teams are pursuing Bell. He's under team control through 2011 and sports a 2.01 ERA this season.
Echoing Buster Olney's earlier reports, Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at FOX Sports are saying that the Marlins are indeed the most aggressive of 10 to 15 teams looking to add Heath Bell. The Marlins have the prospects to get a deal done and "could easily absorb" the $400k left owed to Bell this season. However, the Padres are said to want the Marlins' top pitching prospects in Sean West and Andrew Miller if such a deal were to happen, a high price to pay.