The New York Yankees have signed Andrew Miller. According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, Miller and the Yankees have agreed upon a four-year, $36 million deal:
Andrew Miller has agreed to a 4-year, $36 million deal with the Yankees, according to source involved in negotiations.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 5, 2014
Earlier today, Joel Sherman reported that Miller was close to a decision and that it was expected one would come soon:
It appears the Yankees are willing to take a gamble on the 29-year old Miller with the size of his new deal. At four years and $36 million, the left hander now has an AAV of $9 million, south of Jonathan Papelbon’s record contract for a closer that has an AAV of $12.5 million. A good-sized chunk of change for a pitcher that has never gotten the chance to be a full time closer yet in his career.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported in November that Miller had offers that would make him the highest paid reliever ever without closing experience by AAV, breaking the record of $6 million:
Offers will make Andrew Miller highest-paid reliever ever (by AAV) who does not have closing experience; current record is $6M/year.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 21, 2014
Since being moved to the bullpen full-time in 2012, Miller has posted a 2.57 ERA with a lower 2.37 FIP over 133.1 innings. However, 2014 was the southpaw’s finest season yet. For the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, Miller posted a 2.02 ERA and 1.51 FIP over 62.1 innings, which led to an even more ridiculous ERA- of 51 and FIP- of 39 (park adjusted and league-averaged ERA and FIP). Miller also punched out 103 batters with only 17 walks, resulting in a K/BB of 6.06 and attributing to a 14.87 K/9.
If Miller can continue this pace, the Yankees will surely have two great weapons at the back end of their bullpen when combined with Dellin Betances. While the Yankees don’t necessarily have to put Miller in the closer role immediately, they could have a combination of Betances and Miller to finish the game. Which one is used in the 9th might be discovered through trial and error, but that is seemingly a good problem to have.
The Yankees have now also put pressure on David Robertson who, if he wants to stay a Yankee, would now have to return to a crowded bullpen. It’s not unthinkable for the Yankees to sign away Robertson as well in order to strengthen their bullpen the best they can.
So, while the Yankees have not explicitly made Miller their closer, nor completely ruled out re-signing Robertson, they have seemingly taken a preemptive strike on the relief market by signing the best left-handed back-end of the bullpen option available this off-season in Andrew Miller.