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Andrew Miller: Trade rumors ‘impossible to avoid,’ but not distracting

07.27.14 at 2:42 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Andrew Miller has been traded before. Indeed, he owns a permanent place in baseball history, having been traded after the 2007 season (his first full year in pro ball) by the Tigers to the Marlins as part of a six-player package that resulted in Miguel Cabrera joining Detroit. At the time, Miller recalled, there was shock value to being dealt by the organization that had drafted him just 18 months earlier.

This year, there will be no shock if Miller is dealt by Thursday’s trade deadline. Rumors of a heating market are growing in intensity. Several industry sources suggested that, in many ways, it would be a shock if the Red Sox do not deal Miller, a 29-year-old who has harnessed his mid- to high-90s fastball and slider to forge a 2.52 ERA with an eye-popping 14.6 strikeouts and 2.7 walks per nine innings in 47 appearances (39 1/3 innings).

Miller will be eligible for free agency this offseason. Given his age, recent dominance and prevailing market trends, he’ll probably seek something north of the three-year, $21 million deal that power lefty setup man Jeremy Affeldt received from the Giants after the 2012 season (when he was 33 years old). Even if the Sox wanted to bring him back, the market for his services via trade right now could be considerable.

A year ago, for instance, the Padres turned left-hander Joe Thatcher (and a prospect) into starter Ian Kennedy at the trade deadline. Thatcher had an additional year of team control, but couldn’t match Miller’s dominance. Last year, the Angels dealt two months of left-hander Scott Downs for a long-term bullpen piece in Cory Rasmus — at a time when Downs had been reduced to the lefty specialist role. On the other side of the spectrum, last year, the Red Sox traded a high-ceiling outfielder with a rocky performance track record (Brandon Jacobs — whom the team didn’t plan to protect in the Rule 5 draft) to the White Sox for left-hander Matt Thornton, then viewed as a specialist.

The Sox’ potential haul for Miller likely will be capped by the fact that he’ll be a free agent after this season, but his value among the bandwidth of available relievers is considerable. Miller understands that. Yet at this stage of his career, having found the long-anticipated success in his career, he suggested he’s not focused on the matter.

“Honestly I don’t really care to find out if I’m worth a team’s seventh-best prospect or Baseball America’s 150th best prospect. I would have no idea where to begin. That’s for the general managers and scouts to figure out,” Miller said on the Minor Details podcast. “As far as the trade deadline, being mentioned, it’s impossible to avoid. Shoot, my parents, my wife, my agent, everybody — you hear the rumblings. You can be aware of that stuff, but when I get to the ballpark, I’ve got to completely forget it, ignore it and focus on the task and hand, and that’s winning the ballgame today and how can I help?”

That is a question that Miller may well be asking with another team by the end of the week.

For more of Miller’s thoughts on prospect valuation, his recollections of having been part of the Cabrera deal and his views on the trade rumor mill, click here for the Minor Details podcast.

Read More: andrew miller, cory rasmus, Ian Kennedy, joe thatcher
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