Andrew Miller is the best reliever on the free agent market and, not surprisingly, after several dominant seasons as a setup man he wants to be a closer.
Here’s what Miller’s agent, Mark Rodgers, told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com:
I think Andrew’s evolution in the bullpen and his numbers this year fortify the belief in baseball that he’s a closer-in-waiting–and maybe the time for waiting is over.
Rodgers made sure not to rule out Miller signing with a team that wants to use him as a setup man, because that would unnecessarily weaken his value on the open market, but the 30-year-old left-hander would clearly prefer to pitch the ninth inning somewhere.
Miller has just one career save, but then again everyone lacks closing experience until some team actually gives them a chance to save games. And in terms of Miller’s performance, there’s zero doubt that he has the raw stuff, bat-missing ability, and overall results to thrive in a ninth-inning role.
This season Miller threw 62 innings with a 2.02 ERA and 103/17 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .153 batting average and .456 OPS. And since shifting to the bullpen full time three seasons ago Miller has thrown 133 innings with a 2.57 ERA and 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings.