Another big free agent name has to be scratched off the Phillies wish list.
According to The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal, the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to a two-year, $25 million deal with reliever Andrew Miller. The deal comes with a vesting option worth $12 million has also carries a no-trade clause.
While Miller was coming off a down year in which he pitched to a 4.24 ERA, from 2013 to 2017 the two-time All-Star posted a 1.82 ERA, 469 strikeouts, and a 14.5 SO/9. Miller also closed with the Yankees in 2015 and 2016.
It’s yet another missed opportunity for the Phillies in an offseason that was expected to see Philadelphia spend “stupid money,” as owner John Middleton put it in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
The Phillies were said to have been heavily pursuing Miller by various sources, such as MLB.com’s Jon Morosi and NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury. Miller would have filled the team’s need for a left-handed reliever, as well as a veteran with closing experience.
Now that Miller is off the market, the Phillies could turn either to the options left in free agency or the trade market. Salisbury had mentioned the Phillies were hot on the trail for reliever Zach Britton in addition to Miller, and Rosenthal recently reported that the Phillies, along with the Mets, were the two teams that expressed the most interest in trading for Texas Rangers’ pitcher Mike Minor.
Minor is coming off a season in which he provided the Rangers with solid production as a member of their starting rotation. His contract includes ten teams to whom he can block a trade, but the Phillies are not one of them.
The Phillies have already added bullpen depth in veteran lefty James Pazos and righty Juan Nicasio. The front office feels that the club still needs to upgrade the rotation as well. Unfortunately, they haven’t yet been able to fulfill that desire.
Beyond Britton, Craig Kimbrel is the big free agent reliever. Back in early November Morosi had reported that the Phillies had shown interest in Kimbrel, although the pitcher is expected to earn a large contract, perhaps even the biggest any reliever has earned. That may be something the Phillies don’tt feel comfortable doing even with the money they have available.
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