With Andrew Miller holding a June 15 outclause in his deal, it’s a given that the Red Sox are about to call up the former first-round pick of the Tigers. His ERA is down to 2.54 at Triple-A Pawtucket, and in his last three starts, he’s allowed a total of four runs and posted a 16/2 K/BB ratio in 20 innings.
What isn’t yet known is how the Red Sox intend to employ Miller. Apart from an eight-appearance stint in the pen during his pro debut in A-ball in 2006, Miller hasn’t worked as a reliever. He’s limiting left-handers to a .111 average in Triple-A this year, so maybe he could be useful as a matchup reliever late in games. However, that’s far from a given. Miller has a long history of control issues, and relievers who struggle to throw strikes are hard to trust late in games.
As much progress as Miller has made recently, the right move now is to stick him in the rotation. It’s not an easy call, since it’d mean bumping elder statesman Tim Wakefield back to the pen yet again. But Miller still has an incredibly high ceiling, and it’s worth seeing if he’s finally ready to pitch up to his potential. He’s earned the opportunity while allowing just one homer in 60 1/3 innings for Pawtucket. It wouldn’t be a big surprise if he’s the choice to start when the Red Sox face the Brewers on Sunday.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.