Despite all the rumors and speculations over New York Yankees setup man Andrew Miller and a trade, it would be in the team’s best interest to hold on to the lefty reliever.
At this moment in time, the New York Yankees essentially have three weeks to turn their season around.
With their record knotted up at 44-44 entering the second half, New York sits 7.5 games out of first place in the American League East and 5.5 games back of a Wild Card spot.
From now until the season concludes on October 2, the mediocre Yankees need to leapfrog over six teams just to play in a one-game elimination playoff contest.
If they can take it to the Boston Red Sox and then to the first place Baltimore Orioles following the All-Star break, then the Bronx Bombers could be in business.
If not, then we could pay witness to a fire sale, something that no Yankee fan has seen in recent memory. In team history, for that matter, and one of the hottest names that has been thrown around is one of the most prominent bullpen arms in baseball, Andrew Miller.
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The All-Star owns a 5-1 record including a 1.37 earned run average on the season. More impressively, the lefty has struck out 69 batters compared to a mere six walks while fanning 15.8 batters per nine innings.
Unless you don’t know just how good those numbers are, we can all agree that every contender would make their team more of a threat by having one of the top five relievers in the game.
There are many teams that would offer a boatload of prospects for his dominance. The Washinton Nationals, Chicago Cubs, and the San Francisco Giants are just some of the many contenders in hopes to add a bullpen arm to propel them to a World Series title.
Miller is wheeling in a pretty hefty paycheck at $9-million a year as a reliever but when you consider his age (31) and the type of reliever you’re getting (finished tenth in last year’s AL CY-Young award voting), it’s not unreasonable.
Yes, the Yankees control the market with their deal-able bullpen arms, but it would be in their best interest to keep a firm grasp on Miller. Why? Because if New York decided to call this season lost in order to rebuild for future contention, that future contention is only one to two years away.
Let’s start at looking at Miller’s contract. The fact that he’s in the second year of his four-year deal makes him invaluable for this season and beyond.
We know a team that considers themselves as contenders this season would crave Miller on their roster but, additionally, any team believing it can contend in the next two years would also aspire to have a guy like Miller on the books.
The Yankees aren’t inclined to rebuild with the idea of returning to relevancy three or four years down the road. If they sell come August 1, it’s nearly guaranteed the sale will be made with the philosophy of battling for title number 28 in 2017 or 2018.
For those who don’t know, by then the contracts of Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez and other hefty contracts will be off the books by the end of 2017. Just those names erase a combined $84-million from the payroll.
As for Miller, he would be still under contract entering the 2018 season and has a fantastic chance to remain one of, if not, the best arms in the Yankees bullpen. While we review how things will shape up two years down the road, Dellin Betances, Miller’s partner in crime, won’t become eligible for free agency until 2020.
So, putting things into perspective, if the Yankees decide to keep Miller in the Bronx come this year’s trade deadline, New York could hypothetically head into the 2018 season with $84-million dollars – and some – to spend, possible free agents like Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Jose Fernandez and others to choose from, while the 1-2 punch remains intact.
Miller’s circumstance is not remotely as close to that of Aroldis Chapman’s, Beltran’s, Teixeira’s or Ivan Nova’s. Those four players that were just introduced are playing in the closing year of their contracts.
If the Yankees plan on getting any benefit out of them beyond this season – a season that will likely amount to nothing more than a one-game playoff, at best – they have an obligation to trade them to the team that offers the most value.
Miller, on the other hand, has value to New York exceeding the 2016 campaign. He can be the closer for the next World Series championship team, even if this year is not that year.
The only time general manager Brian Cashman should deal this prized reliever away is if he is knocked off his chair with an offer. I’m talking the best offer a team could possibly give you.
According to the latest rumor, that appears to be the plan but unless that offer happens, Miller must stay. After all, we are talking future championships to an organization that makes winning a priority.