Miller inks one-year deal to stay with Red Sox
Boston will opt for starting, relieving role in Spring Training
DALLAS -- One week prior to the non-tender date, the Red Sox secured the services of left-hander Andrew Miller for another season, signing him to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal on Tuesday.
"We felt like Andrew really made really good progress last year in Pawtucket, and then came up and made a few starts for us in the big leagues. He hit a couple of road bumps and then flashed some things late in the season out of the bullpen," said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. "So, we've been enamored with his potential and obviously worked hard to sign him last offseason. We always felt like this year was a development year for him -- even last year when we signed him, we looked at 2011 as a development year, and he made some good progress and finished the year in the big leagues for the first time.
"We felt like he was someone who we can continue to work with, and he's a lot closer to being an established Major League pitcher then he was at this time last year. We were able to work out a deal that we thought made sense, and this is where he wanted to be."
Miller appreciated the vote of confidence from the team, and hopes to compete for a spot in the starting rotation during Spring Training.
"At this point in my career, I know that any flexibility I can show is a bonus," Miller said by phone. "From what I understand, the intention is certainly to allow me to come in and compete for a starting role. I know that we have the big three guys at the top, and unfortunately it looks like [John Lackey] is going to be down this year, it looks like.
"There's going to be some competition, and I'll be in that [mix] is what it sounds like to me. Like always, anything I can do to help the big league team win games, I'm happy to do. You won't hear me complain. That's kind of what I hope to be doing."
If he's not successful in that quest, perhaps Miller can provide some usefulness as a reliever.
"He'll prepare for the year as a starter and we'll let him get stretched out and see what he looks like," Cherington said. "He's done both and flashed really good things in both roles. We'll just see what he looks like in Spring Training and make the call then."
Last year, Miller came into camp as a non-roster invitee and had virtually no hope of landing a rotation spot. The lefty opened the year at Triple-A Pawtucket before being promoted to Boston for good on June 20.
This time, Miller looks forward to the chance to win a job in camp. He is out of Minor League options.
"The difference between this year and last year is last year I wasn't on the roster, whereas this year I am," Miller said. "For me personally, that's certainly something that works in my favor in this situation, and I look forward to going out there and pitching well in Fort Myers and earning a spot. I'm excited, and like I said, the organization is a great fit, and I'm excited to be back and get to work on ."
A one-time phenom with the Tigers and Marlins, Miller's career has been marked by inconsistency, and last year was no exception, as he went 6-3 with a 5.54 ERA in 17 games, 12 of which were starts.
At 26 years old, Miller still has plenty of time to come into his own.
"I think there were points of the year last year where I certainly felt good about what I was doing and what I was helping the team do," Miller said.
Miller's best stretch of the season was on the road trip through Kansas City and Texas in late August, when he won both of his starts, allowing one run over 11 2/3 innings.
But in his final five appearances of the season, Miller lacked command and went 0-2 with an 11.70 ETA.
"For myself, like a lot of the guys on the team, I didn't exactly finish the way I wanted to, but at the same time, I felt like I showed them I come in and win some games when they needed me to," said Miller. "I showed them I was capable of still starting. For me, the organization seemed like a great fit. I'm ecstatic to be back with them."
Even before he re-signed, Miller had a chat with new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
"I spoke with him I guess maybe a day or so before we really kind of finalized stuff," said Miller. "I knew we were at the point where I was pretty certain we were going to work things out with the organization. At the same point, it was a good chance to speak with him and get his perspective. Certainly he's excited about the season, and for me, excited to have me potentially be part of the team. That was all I needed to hear. I told him I couldn't wait to get back to work."
The one thing Miller will wait on now is to learn who the new pitching coach is.
"Yeah absolutely, I know that's coming," Miller said. "The Red Sox, we all know they're going to find the best guy for the job, and whoever it is, they'll be more than qualified and I'm excited to work for them."