Tis the offseason, and that means rumors. After a somewhat quiet week, tidbits are starting to emerge about who is on the market and what teams are interested. Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman is at least "open" to the idea of trading closer Andrew Miller, according to CBS' Jon Heyman, and the Detroit Tigers are interested, a source told Bless You Boys. The team is taking a "whatever it takes" approach to resolve several holes left by the 2015 season.
The Tigers enter an offseason needing repairs in multiple areas of their team. Chief among them is the starting rotation but the ever-troubled bullpen isn't far behind. Detroit is also among several teams to have "steep" interest in reliever Darren O'Day, according to Heyman.
In addition, the club met with former-Tigers closer Joakim Soria on Sunday during GM Meetings, Detroit News' Tony Paul tweeted on Sunday. Soria, not known to wait around during the offseason, could make a quick decision. However, acquiring Soria wouldn't preclude Detroit from going after other top-end relievers considering the state of their bullpen.
Miller, 30, had a phenomenal 2015 season as the Yankees' closer, posting nearly identical numbers in back-to-back seasons. He finished with a 2.04 ERA, 2.16 FIP, and an 0.859 WHIP. His 14.6 SO/9 is the second-highest mark of his 10-year career. While his 0.7 HR/9 was higher than 2014's 0.4, he did pitch in the home run happy ballpark of Yankee Stadium. He is owed a guaranteed $9 million per season for the next three seasons.
As for former Orioles reliever O'Day, his numbers were equally impressive. The 33-year-old's strikeout rate isn't as eye popping, but his 1.52 ERA, 2.49 FIP, and 1.9 BB/9 aren't shabby, either. He did give up on average 6.5 hits per nine -- a bit high for a closer -- but that's been O'Day's MO. What's good is he doesn't allow many of those hits to come around to score.
While Soria, 31, had a down year in 2015, there's no reason to think he won't bounce back from it. He also had a troublesome end to his 2014 campaign that included a stint on the disabled list, with residual effects of that carrying over to 2015. But even with his ups and downs, Soria still finished with a 2.53 ERA and 1.094 WHIP.
His 1.1 HR/9 is unsightly, but that was entirely on the part of his first-half 2015. In his second half, Soria gave up no homers after giving up eight in Detroit, and settled in to finish the season strong. O'Day is projected to make three years, $7 million, and Soria should get somewhere in the neighborhood of two years, $7 million, per FanGraphs.
While "money is no object" in getting the team back on track to contending in 2016, with so many areas in need of repair the team may need to look for less expensive options while seeking big-name free agents at the same time. Finding that balance will be a delicate matter for general manager Al Avila to tackle. Interest in Miller is not likely to progress beyond that, as he has been too expensive to acquire in the past.
At the Tigers' end-of-season press conference, Avila said that the team would have a "very highly competitive payroll, like we always have," though he wouldn't nail down a specific number. As it sits, the Tigers are looking for two starters, bullpen help, and outfield relief -- as well as other minor tweaks here and there.