Red Sox Acquire Miller, Deal Richardson to Marlins
From 2004 through 2006 the University of North Carolina boasted a pair of starters that many considered surefire MLB prospects. The MLB Draft came up that June and with the 6th pick in the first round the Detroit Tigers selected left-hander Andrew Miller. Later, with the 28th pick in the first round, the Boston Red Sox selected right-hander Daniel Bard. Miller and Bard have taken drastically different paths since that date but the two will now be reunited thanks to a trade completed this evening between the Red Sox and Florida Marlins in which the teams exchanged Miller for southpaw reliever Dustin Richardson.
Miller, who will turn 26 next May, quickly reached the Majors just three short weeks after signing with Detroit in early August 2006. He would end up pitching 10.1 innings over the remainder of that season with mixed results before splitting 2007 between the minors and Majors. By the end of 2007 Miller was considered one of the top young prospects in the game and was highly coveted. The Tigers, in need of an impact bat after missing the playoffs a year removed from losing the World Series, made a blockbuster trade with the Marlins to acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. The price for the pair was a package of four players, most notably top prospects Cameron Maybin and Miller. Miller has spent the past three seasons again splitting time between the minors and Majors.
Over the course of his career he has appeared in 79 games, 54 of them starts. In 294.1 total innings he has posted an ERA of 5.84 with a record of 15-26. While his K/9 ratio of 7.3 is respectable, his other peripheral statistics are examples of just how disappointing he has been: 5.3 BB/9, 10.3 H/9, 1.736 WHIP, .289 opponents batting average. Over the same span his minor league numbers haven’t been much better: over 232 innings he is 7-16 with a 4.00 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 5.0 BB/9, and 1.491 WHIP.
Richardson, meanwhile, was also drafted in 2006 but not until the 5th round. The Red Sox selected the left-hander out of Texas Tech University. Richardson has primarily been working out of the bullpen for the past two seasons but has limited time in the Majors. In just 16.1 career innings over 29 appearances he holds a 3.31 ERA with a 6.6 K/9, 8.3 BB/9, and 2.020 WHIP. The numbers aren’t impressive but ultimately it’s a remarkably small sample size so we can’t read too much into them. In the minors he’s thrown a total of 392 innings resulting in a 25-21 record, 3.95 ERA, 10.0 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, and 1.306 WHIP.
Miller is out of options so he will need to make the Red Sox roster out of Spring Training or else the team will have to expose him to waivers before they can send him to the minors again. In fact, he was believed to be a non-tender candidate this winter because of that very fact. But there seems to be enough of a belief within the Boston organization that new pitching coach Curt Young can turn him around with a little work or else they wouldn’t have made such a deal. Richardson, on the other hand, gives Florida a lefty option as they strive to rebuild their bullpen for the 2011 season. Ultimately the deal appears to be a win for both sides barring something unfortunate. The Sox were able to part with Richardson to take a chance on revitalizing Miller while the Marlins were able to part with Miller, who they had seemingly given up on, for a chance that Richardson’s minor league successes translate to the Majors.