The Yankees continued to be busy Friday afternoon, signing left-handed reliever Andrew Miller to a four-year contract after swinging a three-team trade to get shortstop Didi Gregorius earlier in the day. It has felt like Miller to the Yankees has been nearly imminent over the last few days after reports were that the team might be preferring him to David Robertson and that other suitors had withdrawn from the race. Adding Miller to their bullpen gives the Yankees more strength in a spot where they were already strong. That is, even if David Robertson doesn't return, they have a pretty formidable one-two punch with Miller and Dellin Betances holding down the later innings.
Reports have surfaced that signing Miller wouldn't necessarily preclude the Yankees from inking Robertson to a new deal, but you have to wonder how likely that is. After dealing away Shane Greene earlier today the team needs at least two starters. They've been connected to Max Scherzer and have already expressed their desire for Brandon McCarthy to return. If they are going to dish out the necessary money to bring in a name like Scherzer, they might not want to hand out another four-year deal to a reliever in their bullpen. If they do, however, it would give them one of the best bullpens in the majors. A Miller-Betances-Robertson trio would easily compete with the best three relievers on any team, including the bullpen that helped the Kansas City Royals make it all the way to the World Series.
Some strange claims have been made recently about New York no longer being a top destination for free agents, but apparently Miller turned down a bigger offer in order to play for the Yankees. It is unclear which team made the offer, which could obviously have a lot to do with it. Miller's deal doesn't include insane opt out clauses like the ones given to Rafael Soriano to be Mariano Rivera's setup man. The Yankees also didn't hand out a no-trade clause, for whatever that's worth.
The best thing about Miller is that he is a left-hander that isn't tied to only getting out lefties. Miller pitched to a 2.34 ERA with the Red Sox before being dealt to the Orioles for their playoff run. He held lefties to a .161 average and righties to an even more ridiculous .142 average. That is an asset that any team would like to have in their bullpen, and should allow for Joe Girardi to continue to make the most of his relievers.
Miller not costing a draft pick would also soften the blow of the Yankees deciding to sign, say, Scherzer. They were able to fill their need at shortstop without going into the free agent market and they were able to add a strong piece to their bullpen without giving up their first round pick. If Robertson leaves, they'll receive draft compensation for him which would nearly make losing a pick for Scherzer a wash. Maybe they don't care about that, but it is certainly something to consider. I'll be a little sad if this means that Robertson's time in the Bronx is over, but adding Miller is definitely good news for the bullpen in 2015. Maybe that means it'll be Betances' time to shine as the next Yankees closer. Either way, it seems like there are definitely more moves to come and that's exciting.