The Boston Red Sox and Andrew Miller avoided arbitration Saturday night by agreeing on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract for $1.9 million. Miller coming to terms means that all 40 players on the expanded roster are under contract for 2014.
The 28-year-old left-handed reliever pitched in 37 games for the Red Sox before an injury shut him down in early July. Throwing 30 2/3 innings, he finished 11 games and had a very good ERA of 2.64.
A strikeout artist, Miller fanned a career-high 14.1-per-nine last year. However, control is a problem as his walk rate is 5.3-per-nine in his career. He throws many pitches in limited action.
Miller’s 2014 salary is an increase of $425 thousand from his $1.475 million salary in 2013. A converted starter, Miller spent the last two seasons with the Red Sox as strictly a reliever.
Acquired via trade from the Florida Marlins on November 12, 2010 for Dustin Richardson, the Red Sox converted Miller from a spot starter that was not only wild, but also extremely hittable, into that crafty lefty that can come in and strike out a left-handed bat when needed.
Miller hopes to be the other left-hander manager John Farrell uses out of the bullpen with Craig Breslow. In his last fully healthy season of 2012, Miller appeared 53 times for then-manager Bobby Valentine, posting a record of 3-2 with an ERA of 3.35. In 40 1/3 innings, Miller posted a career-best 6.2 hits allowed-per-nine, walked 20 and stuck out 51.
How Farrell uses Miller, however, remains to be seen.
The Red Sox have brought in a number of new relievers, via trade, free agency, or non-roster invitation. With seven spots in the bullpen to fill, Miller is going to have to show his worth in Spring Training to grab a roster spot when the team breaks camp.
Although his ability to strike out batters is jaw dropping, Miller has never successfully controlled the strike zone. With so many players competing for what may be one or two spots, he is going to have to not only throw strikes, but also keep balls put in play in the yard.
The $1.9 million the two sides agreed to was slightly higher than the mid-point between the Red Sox offer of $1.55 million and Miller’s request of $2.15 million. In order to collect, however, he is going to need to make the final roster, something not carved in stone.
*All statistics and salary information courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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