The Cleveland Indians have to get creative to manage payroll while also bringing enough talent to town. That was exactly what was done with Andrew Miller.
The Cleveland Indians have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason.
One of those involves Andrew Miller.
Miller is reportedly drawing interest from several teams at this point in time, including the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals. The New York Yankees also can’t be ruled out due to the history between the two sides and the fact the team seemingly has an unlimited budget.
It will be near impossible for the Indians to retain Miller, given there is competition on the market. He came to Cleveland on a deal that paid $9 million annually. His reputation alone will garner a much more lucrative deal, even though he missed some time the past few years.
Some fans will see Miller leave and declare that the Dolans are cheap. A quick glimpse at the list of MLB payrolls shows that is not the case.
A team like the Indians has to get creative in order to bring top talent to town and still fit that within the budget. That was why the trade for Miller was such a great one.
The Indians got Miller at the trade deadline in 2016, owing him just over $3 million for the remainder of that regular season. Based on the way he pitched in the postseason, he was worth exponentially more than that.
He then earned $9 million in each of the past two seasons. There were injuries in there, but Miller would have earned much more on the open market. Just imagine if he was a free agent after 2016. He may have gotten a record deal.
That is why it was such a great move to get Brad Hand during the 2018 season. It also signaled a clear succession plan in the bullpen. Hand is set to earn $6.5 million in 2019 and $7 million in 2020 before a $10 million club option in 2021.
The hope is that Hand can step in as the new Miller, and potentially be the go-to guy late if Cody Allen isn’t retained either.
As long as the team is competitive, the front office will continuing scouring the market for bargains. The best bargains are talented players under contract for several years on team-friendly deals. That doesn’t mean the player will retire in Cleveland, but if they can contribute to postseason success then it is worth it.
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Now it is time for some of these players to contribute to a World Series title.