Is Andrew Miller Really What The St. Louis Cardinals Want?
Andrew Miller has been seen by some as the main targets for the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason.
And rightly so.
The team desperately needs left handed relief out of the bullpen. Especially after Randy Choate fell out of favor with the team after a horrifying NLCS. … Yes. I said horrifying.
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Miller threw 62 innings with a 2.02 ERA. He threw 103 strikeouts and walked 17 while holding opponents to a .153 batting average and .456 OPS. Since moving to the bullpen full time three seasons ago Miller has thrown 133 innings with a 2.57 ERA and 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Sounds perfect for the Cardinals right?
I agreed until I saw this report from Aaron Gleeman of Hardball Talk.
"Andrew Miller is the best reliever on the free agent market and, not surprisingly, after several dominant seasons as a setup man he wants to be a closer.Here’s what Miller’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:I think Andrew’s evolution in the bullpen and his numbers this year fortify the belief in baseball that he’s a closer-in-waiting–and maybe the time for waiting is over."
This is nice and all. His numbers are good. And if he wants to be a closer, why not give him a shot.
But. Last time I checked, the Cardinals were not in the market for a closer. We’ve been led to believe that Trevor Rosenthal is Mike Matheny‘s go to guy for closing. At many points last season, I would have requested that stance on Rosey be reconsidered.
Could this be seen as the team pushing for that to be changed?
If the Cardinals do decide to sign Miller it could be a changing of the closer. The Cardinals would be going from a guy in Rosenthal who had 45 saves (Yes, I double and triple checked that stat!) to a guy in Miller who had one save for the Baltimore Orioles last season.
I don’t know if this would be the wisest thing to put out their publically. You would basically be telling the whole Major League Baseball world you don’t have a lot of faith in a guy that got you 45 on-edge-of-your-seat-praying saves last season and are willing to risk having a closer with not a whole lot of experience.
If Miller is signed, it will be interesting to see how the situation is worded. Will the team say, Rosenthal is the closer and Miller will be our lefty specialist. Or will the team say they are going to give Rosenthal some competition and make the closer spot open for competition between Miller and Rosenthal … and maybe someone else!
I enjoy a good competition and, if Miller is signed, maybe both pitchers will benefit from not going into Spring Training with it being theirs. … It will actually become theirs to lose. And that can only be a good thing for the Cardinals.