DETROIT — For the last few years, Andrew Miller has been the pitching envy at the trade deadline. Teams wanted him, but either couldn’t afford him or didn’t want to pay the fee. The Indians ultimately bit the bullet, but before that happened, the Tigers inquired on, and then rebuffed the Yankees’ insane price tag. As rightfully they should’ve.
Understandably, Miller is expensive, but this year’s pitching market was astronomically high. So, of course this is the year he gets traded. Cleveland, already a juggernaut team in the American League, have been impossible for the Tigers to beat.
Bringing Miller to the AL Central only compounds the pressure, but at least the Tigers weren’t the team paying the price. Detroit did their due diligence on Miller last year, too. Most teams should, given he’s been the most dominant closer in the game for a while running, but it’s generally nothing more than that because of the low chance for an actual trade.
So, when the Tigers asked the Yankees what the asking price was for Miller’s services, the response was Michael Fulmer, Matt Boyd, and Joe Jimenez, according to Fox Sports Detroit’s John Keating. For reference, the Indians gave up three pitching prospects and and an outfielder prospect to get Miller, none of which were cheap sacrifices.
Outfielder Clint Frazier, left-hander Justus Sheffield, and righties Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen all went to New York in the trade, with Cleveland responsible for all of Miller’s remaining contract. The Yankees obviously made a nice haul, but none are part of the Indians’ rotation. Fulmer and Boyd are, and Jimenez is the golden ticket reliever of the future for Detroit.
What New York was asking for wasn’t just astronomical, it was unreasonable. It would’ve gutted a starting staff that can’t afford to lose any starter, let alone two, and left Detroit increasingly vulnerable down the stretch. On one hand it’s understandable that the Yankees’ price tag would be fairly high, but the proposals to the Indians versus Detroit weren’t in the same ballpark.
Fulmer is in contention for AL Rookie of the Year and Boyd has settled into his starting role — at least, as much as he can at this point. Jimenez is essentially off limits for trades, and given general manager Al Avila’s desire to grow the Tigers’ farm system, giving up top organizational prospects isn’t likely in the team’s near future.
At this point, if the Tigers do buy it’s likely going to be for a back-end starting arm. J.D. Martinez is due to return to the team soon, and Jordan Zimmermann isn’t far off either. The Tigers are riding a hot streak and they appear to have taken care of their many defensive and baserunning issues of late.
Whether the team buys or stands pat — like Avila has continually affirmed — the one thing they’re not doing this year is selling. It should also be noted that the Tigers already have a closer in Francisco Rodriguez and one of the best bullpens in the league. The Tigers may yet part with pieces to upgrade a larger need, but what the Yankees wanted from Detroit was absurd, and the Tigers rightfully turned New York down.