1. Pitcher Andrew Miller, New York Yankees
While the Indians’ starting pitching has been dominant so far this season, the back-end of the bullpen can definitely use another strong arm. Closer Cody Allen is having a solid season, converting 19 of his 21 save opportunities with a 2.66 ERA – but outside of the 27-year-old, there remains a lot to be desired. Current eighth-inning man Bryan Shaw has been incredibly inconsistent, given up the most home runs among relievers – seven – and carries and ERA north of 4.50.
Zach McAllister has taken a step back this year and currently sits on the disabled list, while Jeff Manship also has not been as sharp as he was last season. The only reliever other than Allen that is having a highly-productive season is Dan Otero.
All of these issues can be minimized should the Indians add Yankees reliever Andrew Miller. Miller has become one of the most dominant late-inning pitchers in the major leagues since 2013. He has allowed just 43 earned runs over the last three-and-a-half seasons while also converting on 44 of his 49 save opportunities. In just 41.1 innings this year, Miller has struck out a staggering 70 batters while maintaining a minuscule ERA of 1.31.
Miller is left-handed, which makes him an even more attractive option for the Tribe. There are no left-handed pitchers in manager Terry Francona‘s bullpen, so Miller’s addition would be a very solid fit. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Miller is under team control for another two seasons past this year for an affordable price of $9 million annually.
There has reportedly been interest on each side for this deal to get done. According to the New York Daily News, the Yankees had scouts in attendance for the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate’s game Monday night, where Mike Clevinger, the team’s seventh-ranked prospect, started. Triple-A pitcher Cody Anderson and Single-A catcher Francisco Mejia have also been tied to a potential deal with the Yanks. It is unknown whether a deal to acquire Miller would involve the Indians giving up one of Zimmer, Frazier or highly-regarded pitcher Brady Aiken, but that should not stop the front office from stepping up for the top-end reliever.
Should the Indians be able to pry the left-handed Miller away from the Yankees, he will not only help the back-end of the Tribe’s bullpen for the playoff push, but also for years to come.
Next: Jonathan Lucroy