Since the World Series ended, there have been several national baseball writers who have speculated that the Indians might try to move their post-season star, Andrew Miller, during the off-season.
We feel this should be filed under the same grouping as writers saying the Cavaliers are going to move Kevin Love, and the Browns will fire all of their coaches again this winter. Meaning, it’s a reflex move for writers, low hanging fruit, if you will.
Look, anyone can be traded. We love when Tribe fans will say to us things like the team will never trade Jason Kipnis or Jose Ramirez. Our response is always, if the Angels called and offered Mike Trout, a deal would be reached pretty quickly.
When Chris Antonetti and GM Mike Chernoff acquired Miller from the Yankees at the trading deadline last July, one of the reasons he was so appealing, besides that he may very well be the best reliever in the game, was he was under contract for two more years.
That’s the biggest reason the Indians were willing to move two of their top ten prospects.
The national media speculates in this way because they can’t believe the Tribe would be willing to pay $9 million for the next two seasons on a relief pitcher, and combine with a likely $6-7 million payday for Cody Allen, there is certainly no way Cleveland, little small market Cleveland, would spend close to $20 million on their bullpen.
They forget that the Indians are in a win now mode. Most of their key players are in their prime, and they have a very good starting rotation that is paid well below market value compared to their ability.
And yes, we have been critical of the franchise’s spending habits over the years, but with post-season ticket revenue and an expanded season ticket base, we think the front office won’t be as frugal this winter.
When you get to the seventh game of the World Series, your organization has to think they can win the world championship the next season.
Also, the Indians’ farm system is in pretty good shape right now.
When they made the deal with the Yankees, they had two top outfield prospects in Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. They still have Zimmer poised to be in Cleveland by the end of the 2017 season, and Greg Allen keeps getting better and better too.
They also moved Justus Sheffield, a top starting pitching prospect. Mike Clevinger is the next man up if an injury occurs next season, and the organization has Ryan Merritt and Adam Plutko in the upper levels of the system, and Triston McKenzie, Juan Hillman and others in the lower levels.
So, Miller will be an Indian on Opening Day, 2017 in Texas unless the front office is absolutely blown away by a trade offer, which we doubt will happen.
The Indians intend to get back to the post-season next fall, and if they do, what better weapon to have than the guy who was this fall’s ultimate weapon…Andrew Miller.
On the other hand, if something happens and the season goes south, Miller could be on the move in July, and then, and only then, will Antonetti and Chernoff consider making a deal and will command the same kind of haul Cleveland gave to New York.
That’s the only scenario where Miller gets moved.