The New York Yankees beefed up their bullpen earlier this offseason, acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds. The move gave them a nasty three-headed dragon of a bullpen with Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller potentially closing out late innings next season.
While keeping all three relievers would be especially nasty, moving one of them in a lush trade market makes sense. Miller is the logical trade option, and according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Yankees are shooting for the moon when talking about the lefty, seeming to prefer to keep him unless they’re blown away.
It’s more likely that the Yankees will keep their uber-bullpen intact rather than trade Miller, according to a major league source. Teams like Houston and Toronto have inquired about Miller, but the Yankees want back a young top-of-the-rotation starter, and that doesn’t appear to be available to them. Lance McCullers was the target in Houston, but he is off-limits. The Blue Jays would have to give up someone such as Marcus Stroman, and that’s just not happening.
McCullers and Stroman are both great young pitchers, and there’s no way Houston or Toronto would make that move. It’s an absurd ask on general manager Brian Cashman’s part, but he has no need to deal Miller unless he’s given an offer he can’t refuse. Miller was dominant in 60 games last year, posting a 2.04 ERA, a 2.16 FIP, 36 saves, and a 14.6 K/9.
Miller’s got three years left at $9 million per season, which is affordable for a top-flight reliever. Considering the amazing haul the Phillies got for Ken Giles, the Yankees are playing it smart by applying an astronomical price to Miller’s name.
If Miller is traded this offseason, expect the return to be very high. The relief market is hotter than ever. If they decide to keep him, their bullpen is going to be ridiculous.