Cubs one of several teams Buster Olney linked to Yankees’ LHP Andrew Miller
With Memorial Day around the corner, the non-waiver trade deadline (Aug. 1) is over two months away. And the rumors are just beginning.
The Cubs have the best record in baseball and the front office will be exploring ways to upgrade the pitching staff. One of the areas the Cubs are believed to be focused on is adding a left-handed reliever to the bullpen.
Andrew Miller has been linked to the Cubs in each of the past two off-seasons, first as a possible free agent signing then as a trade target last winter as Brian Cashman shopped the lefty reliever.
The Cubs have a strong connection to Miller from Theo Epstein’s days in Boston calling the shots for the Red Sox. Theo Epstein traded for Miller in November 2010 when he sent Dustin Richardson to the Marlins for the struggling southpaw.
Andrew Miller turned his career around pitching out of the Red Sox bullpen and has become one of the most dominating relievers in the game. Last season, his first in the Bronx, Miller was 3-2 in 60 games with a 2.04 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 2.16 FIP. Miller struck out 100 batters with 20 walks and 33 hits allowed in 61 2/3 innings.
It’s been more of the same for Miller this year. In 19 games, Miller is 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 1.27 WHIP. Miller has struck out (33) almost half of the batters he’s faced (70) this season. Miller has given up 11 hits with one walk and 33 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings.
Andrew Miller is under contract for two more seasons beyond this one. Miller inked a four-year, $36 million contract with the Yankees in December 2014. Miller’s contract calls for a $9 million annual salary and does not appear to include any performance or assignment bonuses.
Buster Olney reported Wednesday, both online and during a spot on ESPN 1000, that the Yankees could trade Andrew Miller before the deadline regardless if the team is contending for a spot in the playoffs or not. Miller could bring back pieces that would help the Yankees this season and beyond.
According to an evaluator Olney spoke with the Yankees could receive a rather large package of players for Miller “because he undoubtedly would be the most coveted reliever in the market.” Olney thinks the Cubs would have “significant interest” in Miller because Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are “in win-now mode” and the front office has a history with him.
The Giants, Dodgers, Rangers, Nationals and Mariners also figure to be in the mix for Miller, according to Olney, if the Yankees try to move him. The Dodgers, Rangers and Nationals have the prospects and players to satisfy the Yankees and all of the teams Olney mentioned have the payroll flexibility to take on Miller’s contract.
Reports suggested in the off-season that Brian Cashman wanted a starting pitcher and/or a middle of the order bat in return for Andrew Miller. The Cubs have the position-player prospects in the system to make just about any deal. If a team is looking for a high-end starting pitcher or pitching prospect, the Cubs would likely not be able to matchup on a trade.
As the Cubs continue to win games, the rumors will only get louder as it gets closer to the non-waiver trade deadline.