Andrew Miller talked to the NY media for the first time yesterday, giving insight into why he decided to sign with the Yankees over his other pursuers and what role he saw himself playing in the new 'pen. The talk over who was going to do what was already intriguing before D-Rob signed with the ChiSox and it will only get louder now that he's gone, either until the Yankees name Miller or Betances the closer or sign another reliever to handle that role. To his credit, Miller said he didn't really care where and when he pitched and that a promised closer role was never part of the discussion between he and the Yanks. His take on how he should be used was actually one of the smartest things I've heard a professional baseball player say in a while (quote courtesy of Chad Jennings):
“I’m pretty confident in myself. I think I can get three outs at any point in the game, wherever that may be. Whatever it is, it’s fine with me. I want to win. I want to shake hands and high five at the end of the game more than anything. If I have to get two outs in the sixth, there’s value in that. I think that we’re starting to find there’s outs in the game that may be more important than the last three outs of the game in the ninth inning. I’m happy to get them whenever. My job is to go and pitch up to the level of my contract, and that doesn't necessarily have to be the three outs in the ninth inning.”
So it's not always the 3 outs in the 9th that are the most critical outs in a game? And the best relievers in a bullpen shouldn't always be used for that, or any, particular role but rather when the situation calls for them? And Miller recognizes that and wants to pitch in whatever situations he's most needed to help his team win? What a concept!
As far as first impressions go, that was about the best one Miller could have made to me. Hopefully the Yankees were already on that same plain of thinking and bring in another arm to hold down the traditional 9th inning role. The idea of Miller and Betances tearing up the 6th-8th innings together is an exciting one.
P.S.- Hey Andrew, if you've got some free time, we'd love to have you on the IIATMS Podcast or do some guest posts for us. You'd be doing great work helping to educate the unwashed masses about how little importance pre-determined bullpen roles have in today's game.