1:15pm: A straight-up swap of Giolito wouldn’t be enough to get the Yankees to budge on Miller, Heyman tweets.
12:53pm: We’ve long heard about the Nationals’ interest in Yankees ace reliever Andrew Miller, but it has never quite been clear what the team would be willing to do to make that happen. Per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, via Twitter, “sources who have spoken with the [Nationals] believe” they’d do a one-for-one swap of Miller for top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito.
That language certainly still leaves a bit of wiggle room, and it’s not clear that a firm offer has been proposed. There’s no question, though, that the towering righty would represent a tantalizing offer for New York — if he is in fact being placed on the table.
New York is looking for a massive return for its star lefty, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reports (Twitter links). The club is said to want three times the total value it achieved in its trade of Aroldis Chapman, who netted one very good prospect in Gleyber Torres along with three other pieces with real value. While Chapman is a pure rental piece, Miller comes with two added years of club control at a reasonable (though not cheap) price tag of $9MM annually. Heyman also notes that it still seems unlikely he’ll change hands, though perhaps New York is open to being blown away by an offer.
Joining the Nats with ongoing interest in Miller are the Cardinals, Indians, Rangers, and Giants, according to Heyman. Certainly, all of those clubs could put together appealing packages, though none has a rotation prospect that quite reaches Giolito’s standing — with the Cards’ Alex Reyes being the closest thing (though, to be clear, we’ve heard no indication to this point that he could be had). Texas also has some premium assets that it could dangle, though they land mostly on the position-player side. And it’s far from clear whether those teams’ best pieces are on offer for Miller.
If Giolito is, in fact, available, it would seem to make the Nats a favorite to acquire Miller. Giolito is widely regarded as one of the game’s truly premier starting pitching prospects, and he has already reached the majors for D.C. Truth be told, he would represent a rather stunning return, even for a reliever of Miller’s undeniable excellence.
The Nats were said not to be willing to give up Giolito, or even some lesser prospects, in a deal for Chapman. But there’s obviously good reason to cough up more assets for the controllable Miller, and the team has a deep stock of appealing young arms. Plus, Washington’s need for a premium late-inning pen piece only continues to grow, with incumbent closer Jonathan Papelbon struggling more than ever.