Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Baseball’s off-season continues to be in full swing, and the latest hot item on the radar is a pitcher named Andrew Miller. Buster Olney reported yesterday that the Yankees are in "serious pursuit" to sign him, and they are competing with teams like the Dodgers who are ready to offer him 3 years. It is likely that the Yankees will up the bid to 4 years and may sign him.

Many predict that Andrew Miller is the diamond in the rough of this off-season, though less so now that the bidding war is at full throttle. His stats are impressive. In 2014, he began the season with the Red Sox, who traded him at the deadline to the Orioles. He was primarily a 7th and 8th inning left-handed setup guy for both teams, earning 22 holds in 23 opportunities. In the regular season, his ERA was 2.02, his WHIP was 0.802, and his K/9 was 14.9. He went to his first postseason in 2014, and he did not wilt. He did not allow a single run – inherited or otherwise. He delivered a WHIP of 0.273 and a K/9 of 9.8. The numbers say that this guy is very good.

However, the pursuit gives you the Yankees’ disposition on their bullpen. As BYB mentioned yesterday (Read HEY HAL, IT'S BASEBALL, NOT A POKER GAME!), it is hard to understand why they’d offer this guy 4 years and not offer their 39-save closer David Robertson the same contract length. While we all have sources in this line of work, no one knows exactly what is going on in the negotiation room except the people in the room. However, I am going to venture a guess that it is not going well. It would look very bad to let your closer walk and offer a newcomer the same length of contract, even if the dollars are less. The only thing worse would be to let the closer walk and not have a backup plan.

That is why I think the Yankees are in a pickle. The heat behind their pursuit tells me that they are hedging and that they will probably get Miller because they cannot afford not to sign him. At that point, you have to wonder if they will still try to sign Robertson, go out and try to sign another closer, or do they bet the farm on Dellin Betances as their new closer. Personally, I think that a closer role is in Betances’ future, but the risk is that he is not ready.

There are a lot of what-if’s right now. What we know is that they are trying to sign Robertson and Miller at the same time, and there are some bad signs out there. Signing Miller is not necessarily a bad thing because he is a very good pitcher. If they sign Robertson, he would make an excellent left-handed setup pitcher. Not being able to sign Robertson would be a very bad thing because we lose a pitcher with a record of accomplishment under the pressure and spotlight that the Yankees live under. Whatever happens, pay close attention to this development. In the next couple of days, the Yankees will defined their bullpen for 2015 and beyond. We will be bringing it to you as the news breaks.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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