Recent reports suggest that teams like the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants are interested in Yankees set up man Andrew Miller. In other news, water is wet and two plus two equals four. If made available, Miller's services would be a hot commodity at the trade deadline. After winning the second annual Mariano Rivera AL Reliever of the Year award in 2015, Miller has been downright unfair in 2016.
Here are a few stats that summarize Miller's dominance this year. He has 46 strikeouts and just three walks. His ERA sits at 1.05, and his WHIP is a measly 0.66. As Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs pointed out, hitters are somehow more likely to swing at his slider when it is outside of the strike zone. Statistically, even Rivera really only had one comparable season in 2008. This season, Miller has legitimately been as good as Mo, Craig Kimbrel, and Eric Gagne were at their respective peaks.
If Miller continues at the pace he's on right now, his 2016 campaign would be among the best in the 21st century. Six months ago, trading Miller would have meant giving up a very, very good reliever. Now, trading him could very well mean giving up the most entertaining player on the roster. Even Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman haven't been on the same level as Miller this year.
All of this begs the question: can Andrew Miller be too entertaining to trade? As fans, how much should we consider the entertainment value that he has brought to the Yankees, in addition to his statistical production? Trading him would also mean breaking up the three-headed monster comprised of him, Betances, and Chapman. Even if the Yankees trade Chapman or part ways in the off-season, the dominant bullpen would make the remainder of the season much more exciting.
On the other hand, the same thing could be said for someone like Chapman. His 103 mph fastball is as much, if not more of a spectacle than Miller's wipeout slider. While Chapman is a free agent at the end of the season though, Miller is on what is looking to be a team-friendly deal and is under control through 2018. Obviously, the Yankees could get a much better prospect haul for Miller, but it's tougher to get behind that deal knowing we could easily get to hear Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down" for two and a half more years.
If Brian Cashman is blown away by an offer for Miller, he will probably pull the trigger, as he should. His job is to think about what is good for the team. However, as fans, we don't share that obligation to the same degree. Even if the Yankees decide to sell at the Trade Deadline, I think they should be extremely stingy with Andrew Miller, entirely because he is so fun to watch. (His control through 2018 doesn't hurt, either.)
That's completely fine. Regardless of how the Yankees play or what they do in July, fans should pay attention to what Andrew Miller is doing out of the bullpen. No matter how you look at it, what he has done this season is truly special.