Washington Nationals: Why Nats Should Trade For Andrew Miller
By Ricky Keeler
With the Washington Nationals looking for bullpen help, they should call the Yankees and try to acquire Andrew Miller
Even though the Washington Nationals have had one of the better bullpens in the National League for the first two months of the season, they could always use an upgrade. One spot in the bullpen that fans have been looking to upgrade is at the closer spot with Jonathan Papelbon having blown two saves so far this season.
On Friday, Willam Ladson of MLB.com reported that the Nats are interested in acquiring another piece for their bullpen and the New York Yankees could be an ideal trade partner if they decide to become sellers at the trade deadline. Here is more from Ladson:
"“The Nationals are not close to acquiring a reliever, but they are hoping Yankees relievers Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman are available before the Deadline. The Nationals are aware the Yankees would ask for a king’s ransom for either pitcher. The Yankees would likely be looking to replenish their farm system.” (h/t Ladson)."
Now, it is rare that the Yankees are ever sellers when we get to July or August 1 (this year’s trade deadline), but they are currently in fourth place in the AL East (5.5 games behind the Orioles). With New York looking to get younger at certain positions and having too many bad contracts, they don’t have much to sell besides some their key bullpen arms and Carlos Beltran.
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While Miller and Chapman would be good fits for the Washington Nationals bullpen, I would go after Miller if given the option. Chapman would be a rental while Miller still has two years left on his contract after this season at $18 million. This season, Miller is 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA, has six saves in seven chances, and has 42 strikeouts to only three walks.
One reason I like a Miller deal for the Nats would be that he can either be the closer or setup man this year and then become the closer next season with Papelbon becoming a free agent. The Nats don’t want to make the same mistake they made last year when they acquired Papelbon and demoted Drew Storen to the setup role.
Even though Miller was demoted to the eighth inning role when Chapman came back from his domestic violence suspension, he hasn’t missed a beat. In the eighth, Miller has 23 of his 42 K’s (tied with Felipe Rivero), a .167 opponents’ batting average, and a 2.19 ERA. Miller has been excellent when facing left-handed hitters. Lefties are only hitting .136 (3-for-22) with a RBI. Plus, right-handers aren’t faring much better (.164).
Now, because Miller has the extra years of team control, the Yankees will want more in return. The one thing New York could use is more starting pitching when you consider New York doesn’t have any current starter in their rotation under their control past 2017 (Masahiro Tanaka has an opt-out after 2017).
One name that I think the Yankees would ask for as part of a deal, assuming that Lucas Giolito is untouchable, would be left-hander Reynaldo Lopez. This season, the 22-year-old is 1-4 with a 4.15 ERA in nine starts at double-A Harrisburg, but he did have a 12-strikeout performance two starts ago.
To get more insight on what the Yankees might want, I spoke with Michael Cambria, who is the editor at Yanks Go Yard. I also host the YGY Radio Show for that site. Michael told me that the two names he would want in a deal for Miller would be starter A.J. Cole and top infield prospect Trea Turner.
If the offer was for Cole and Turner, I would decline that deal because Turner is the future for the Nats at shortstop and the Yankees already have a strong middle infield with Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius. Cole would make sense for New York since they are looking to acquire more pitching at the upper levels of the minors.
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Should the Washington Nationals not be able to acquire another big bat for their lineup, Miller would be a great fit to add to an already strong bullpen. Even though the cost might be high and it would be the Nats’ fourth left-hander in the bullpen, adding Miller would be a boost to the team’s chances at reaching the postseason.