Red Sox avoid arbitration with Andrew Miller

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5:45 p.m. EST update: WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Miller will make $1.04 million next season. The figure represents the maximum 20 percent paycut he could receive as an arbitration-eligible player. Had the Red Sox wanted to go lower, they would have had to non-tender Miller and re-sign him.

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Former Tigers No. 1 pick Andrew Miller will be back with the Red Sox next season after agreeing to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

Miller, who made $1.3 million last season, likely would have been non-tendered by Boston had he not come to terms before the deadline. While the 26-year-old remains intriguing as a left-hander with a 91-94 mph fastball, the Red Sox weren’t going to risk giving him a significant raise after another year of disappointing results. Miller went 6-3 with a 5.54 ERA in 12 starts and five relief appearances for the club last season.

Miller stands fourth or fifth on Boston’s rotation depth chart as it’s currently comprised, but he won’t be assured anything entering spring training. Since this contract won’t be guaranteed — one-year contracts for arbitration-eligible players almost never are — he could well find himself off the roster if he struggles during March.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.