Indians Get: Andrew Miller
Yankees Get: OF prospect Clint Frazier, minor league leftie Justus Sheffield, and minor league right-handers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen.
The Indians’ bullpen is beginning to look similar to the Kansas City Royals’ of the past few years: dominant. That will be necessary to get through some of the AL’s more powerful offenses in the playoffs. This is a move that screams, “OCTOBER!”
Andrew Miller has been one of the most overpowering relievers in baseball over these past few years, especially from the left side of the mound. He is arguably the best all-around setup man/closer this year: in 45.1 innings pitched, he’s put up a sparkling 1.39 ERA, .77 WHIP, and 15.3 K/9. Since 2012, he’s struck out just under 40% of the batters he’s faced and owns a 2.06 overall ERA with a WHIP under one.
The stats aren’t his biggest plus — he’s under team control for the next two seasons and will be due $9.5 million per year, a great price for a pitcher of his caliber.
His prowess late in games and team-friendly contract made him the most valuable reliever to the Yankees while also the most enticing on the trade market. After former Yankee and rental Aroldis Chapman commanded an overpay of prospects from the Chicago Cubs in a trade, Miller’s situation would logically require even more.
It did. What Cleveland is sending in return shows that it’s taking its 4.5 game lead in the AL Central and going all the way for this season.
Clint Frazier is a Top 25 overall outfield prospect and was perhaps the best in Cleveland’s system next to Bradley Zimmer and Tyler Naquin (the latter now playing well with the major league team). A trio of great young outfielders made a deal involving one of them likely, and we see it here.
Young leftie Justus Sheffield is featured on many Top 100 lists, and made a mark in the Indians’ system with a plus fastball and changeup with good velocity and body control on the mound. He projects as a future starter and slides to the top of the Yankee’s farm at that position.
The Yankees also get two relief prospects in right-handers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. Both project as quick stamina, single inning types, and are just one or two years away from the big leagues.
This is a huge return on Miller for New York. Whether or not it was influenced by the Chapman deal, it’s clear the market is trending upward for relief pitchers. Not a long time ago, four prospects — two of them Top 100 — would’ve been way out there for even a Miller type.
But is this still too much for a relief pitcher even in this market? I don’t think so. Frazier, the prize of this deal, was one of three great outfielder’s in the Indians’ system. They can afford to lose one, despite his high ceiling and close to five tools.
TL;DR: The Indians are going for it in 2016 and get late-inning dominance in Andrew Miller. But the price is bigger than expected; prized prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield are both heading to New York, and Cleveland’s future is hurt a bit if both reach their ceilings. But the Yankees are continuing a smart rebuild and the Indians get an elite piece that serves their new direction. Mutually beneficial trade.
18 year old Washington sports fan and Penn State freshman. I'll cover the MLB, NFL, and NBA.