St. Louis Cardinals: Andrew Miller headed to St. Louis on multi year deal

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CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Catcher Yan Gomes #7 celebrates with closing pitcher Andrew Miller #24 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on September 18, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Catcher Yan Gomes #7 celebrates with closing pitcher Andrew Miller #24 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field on September 18, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the White Sox 5-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals have signed a dominant reliever in Andrew Miller, how good could he be for them? Could it go wrong like the recent bullpen acquisitions?

The St. Louis Cardinals have made yet another big move, landing two time All-Star and former Reliever of the Year winner Andrew Miller on a two-year, $25 million deal with a third year vesting option, per Ken Rosenthal. Multiple teams offered Miller a two-year deal, but the Cardinals were able to lock him up by offering that coveted extra year.

Personally, I am a big fan of this deal. As you probably know, the Cardinals were in desperate need of a lefty relief arm. They looked to fill that void in both the free agent and trade market, and reportedly have been dangling defensively challenged Jose Martinez around in hopes to get one. They were linked to Giants relievers Tony Watson and Will Smith (not the actor, the pitcher), and were also looking at free agent Zach Britton as well.

Throughout Miller’s career, he has easily been one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball, even winning the Mariano Rivera Reliever of the Year award in 2016. Though he has been dominant, there are a couple of yellow flags with Andrew Miller.

First and foremost, he is coming off an injury plagued season in which he missed a big chunk of time dealing with a shoulder ailment. He took multiple trips to the DL and was only able to throw for 34 innings on the season. If you look at his ERA and WHIP on the season, they are below average at 4.24 and 1.38 respectively, which doesn’t provide much comfort.

On top of that, he will be turning 34 in May. there are some older relief arms who do very well, but it is still a thing to be aware of, especially with him signing a multi-year deal. It is also a bit worrying with the fact that their last two big relief man signings in Brett Cecil and Greg Holland have not worked in the Cardinals favor at all. The Cardinals are more than aware of this though, and did their due diligence with Miller.

Though there are some downsides to this deal, let’s take a look at how good Miller can be when he is healthy. In 2016 and 2017, he put up a sub 1.50 ERA in both seasons, which is insanely good, and his 2016 performance resulted in him garnering enough Cy Young Award votes to place in the top 10.

In 2017, he wasn’t much different, racking up strikeouts and just straight up embarrassing other hitters throughout baseball. Though he did have mediocre numbers in his injury plagued 2018 campaign, he finished the season with a respectable 3.52 FIP while recording a solid 11.9 K/9.

The Cardinals needed somebody who could shut down lefty hitters, and Andrew Miller did just that in 2018. He held lefties to a .227 BA, and was arguably the best lefty reliever on the market before the Cardinals snagged him.

For the past two seasons, the Cardinals bullpen has been plain awful, costing the team many games throughout.. Now, the Cardinals have missed the postseason for the third year in a row, and something needs to change.

The Cardinals already went out and acquired Paul Goldschmidt, who is arguably the best first baseman in all of baseball. Now, they landed one of the top lefty relievers in the league. John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch have shown that they are not playing around this offseason, and clearly want to get back into the playoffs and avoid yet another dreadful third place finish.

Though Miller has had some closing experience throughout his career, I doubt he will be the Opening Day closer with the team. He has not been in the full-time closer role since his time with the New York Yankees in 2015, where he totaled 36 saves on the season. The Cardinals could run with fireballer Jordan Hicks or even sign top notch closer Craig Kimbrel to a deal.

Overall though, I think this signing will benefit the Cardinals. It fills a need, it isn’t ridiculously long term, he can be one of the best in the league when healthy, and he could be that guy to end the Cardinals previous bullpen struggles.

Zach Britton fits in more ways than you think. dark. Next

The Miller signing is just another chapter in what is the most successful St. Louis Cardinals offseason story in a long time. After missing the playoffs for three consecutive years and several stars available via free agency or trade, fans would have been satisfied with nothing less.

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