With rumors swirling as December gets underway, we decided to take a quick look at a name the Los Angeles Dodgers are apparently pursuing.
Since being drafted sixth overall in 2006, Andrew Miller has went from starting pitcher bust to top free agent reliever. Last year he spent time with the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles. The left-hander enjoyed a strong season, combining for a 2.02 ERA in 73 games. In 62.1 innings, Miller struck out 103 batters and allowed just three home runs.
Why The Dodgers SHOULD Sign Him
Watching the NLDS between the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals, it became obvious where the NL West champions needed to improve this season. By the time the postseason rolled around, Kenley Jansen was the only arm that Don Mattingly could truly trust in a big moment. Miller would come in and immediately become a setup man candidate. This would push J.P. Howell into the sixth and seventh innings, an area he’s more comfortable with. It would also spread appearances around and keep Howell and others fresh.
Since becoming a full-time reliever in 2012, Miller holds a 2.57 ERA in 163 games with 202 strikeouts in 133.1 innings. He’s stranded at least 76% of runners in all three seasons and has improved in most statistical categories each year. Miller was worth 2.3 WAR in 2014, which would have ranked third among Dodger pitchers and first among relievers. Moving to Dodger Stadium would also add to the continued improvement.
Despite being left-handed, Miller is not simply a left-handed specialist. In 2014, Miller actually held right-handed hitters to a lower batting average. Although he walked righties more often, he was just as effective against both sides of the plate. This would give Mattingly the flexibility to use Miller for more than one batter at a time.
Why The Dodgers SHOULD NOT Sign Him
It appears Miller is seeking at least a three-year deal from any team willing to sign him. Relievers are not the most reliable signings, as the Dodgers know from experience recently with the big deals given to Brian Wilson and Brandon League. Despite all signs pointing to Miller continuing his progression, relief pitchers’ effectiveness can come and go rather easily. Giving Miller anything more than two years is a risk in itself.
With Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Daniel Coulombe and Adam Liberatore, the Dodgers have a handful of left-handers ready to make the roster. Howell and Rodriguez are proven arms that should start the year in the big leagues. The other two are minor-league arms with possible major-league talent and could find themselves in Los Angeles this season. Miller would become another left-hander and the Dodgers may decide they will stick with what they have.
Potential Contract/Chances Of Landing In LA
Seeing as left-hander Zach Duke received three years and $15 million from the Chicago White Sox, Miller will get at least that. It’s more likely that Miller gets a four-year deal in the $30-40 million range.
There are already rumors that the Dodgers are very interested in bringing the lefty to L.A. and if the Dodgers want a player, they usually have the funds to get a deal done. We put the chances at the moment at 75%, as the New York Yankees are among the other teams also in the mix.