PHOENIX — GM Ben Cherington said that the Red Sox have some interest in the idea of a reunion with left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. In some ways, the 29-year-old seems like an unlikely fit to come back given that some teams might want him to close, and give him money typically conferred upon closers.
The Sox do not have an opening for that role in their bullpen with Koji Uehara having signed a two-year deal earlier this month. Still, Cherington didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing back the pitcher who netted them left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez at the trade deadline. Miller had a 2.02 ERA with 14.9 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine innings in 72 appearances (62 1/3 innings) in 2014.
“We can add to the bullpen. We’ve got resources to add to the bullpen,” said Cherington. “He’s a free agent, obviously. He’s been one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball for the last couple of years. We would have interest, but like anyone else who goes to free agency, he’s going to go through his process and see what’s out there. We’ve got a lot of respect for him, and he performed really well for us.”
Cherington said that the team would prefer to have at least two left-handers in its bullpen, and that the club believes it has internal candidates (presumably including Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Drake Britton) for one of those spots, but may look to add to the candidates for the left-handed bullpen group. That doesn’t necessarily mean adding a high-end option like Miller, however, as Cherington noted that teams have used roster competition as an effective mechanism for building a bullpen corps in the past.
“Relievers can come out of nowhere,” said Cherington. “You have to be open to that kind of thing.”
Cherington also said that the team remained open to conversations with right-hander Burke Badenhop, but that such talks likely wouldn’t occur until later in the offseason. The 31-year-old sinkerballer had a 2.29 ERA in 70 appearances.
“We talked at the end of the year, but not recently,” Cherington said of Badenhop. “Burke did a great job, he’s a great guy, a great teammate, did everything you could have hoped he would do. One of the things that went well this year was Burke Badenhop. We just have to look at how the whole team is coming together, how the bullpen is coming together, what it’s going to require to fill the other needs we have and how that affects the bullpen. That’s probably something that is a little deeper into the offseason.”