Left-handed specialist Andrew Miller has officially announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. It ends a career that could be considered unimpressive. At first glance, Andrew Miller doesn’t seem remarkable, with an ERA over 4.00, less than 1,000 strikeouts and just 63 saves. However, anyone who looks beyond Andrew Miller’s tally stats will find moments so brilliant that he is considered one of the greatest relievers to ever throw a baseball.
“He helped change the way relievers are used in the playoffs. This offseason, he helped the union change the way young players are paid. After 16 years in the majors (and the last three months at the negotiating table), Andrew Miller tells Post-Dispatch he is retiring.” – @Derrick S. Goold
Andrew Miller changed baseball for all relief pitchers
Miller began his career as the Detroit Tigers’ sixth overall pick in the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft. After setting career and single-season strikeout records at the University of North Carolina, Miller was a tantalizing prospect as a big left-handed fireball. His tenure with the Detroit Tigers will be short-lived. Miller was packaged with outfielder Cameron Maybin in a trade with the Florida Marlins for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. It appeared for a very long time that the only player to benefit from the exchange would be Miguel Cabrera. Willis fell apart quickly in Detroit, Maybin was considered a bust and Miller was plagued with injuries en route to a 4.84 ERA. Maybin became “Miguel Cabrera’s trade guy”, while Miller went to reinvent himself in Boston.
While with the Boston Red Sox, Miller was moved to the bullpen and started putting everything together. He blocked more than 92% of the baserunners he inherited as a reliever. He finished the 2014 season in Boston with a 2.34 ERA, 1.5 strikeouts per inning, and the title of one of baseball’s most reliable relief pitchers.
From there, Miller dominated the bullpen. For the Orioles, he struck out 22 of the 24 batters he faced in the postseason, striking out nearly half of them. He then went to the New York Yankees to form one of the best bullpen ever with Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. Although Miller wasn’t the closest, he was still respected as one of the best relievers in the game.
He was then traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2016 at the trade deadline and reunited with former Red Sox coach Terry Francona. Francona and Miller then changed the perception of relief pitchers, as Miller was the team’s top reliever but didn’t always pitch in the ninth inning. Francona decided the best way to use Miller was in the highest leverage situations, and Miller continued to have a legendary performance in the playoffs even though Cleveland lost the series.
I’ve been to many playoffs and haven’t seen anyone dominate like Andrew Miller. Not even the great Mariano Rivera who I’ve seen be as successful as Andrew Miller, power hitters.- Pedro Martinez
Miller ended his career with the St. Louis Cardinals as his body eventually succumbed to injuries. His final act as a Major League Baseball player was as a member of the MLBPA Executive Committee, where he helped current and future players secure contracts and fair benefits. Andrew Miller changed the game and made baseball a much better sport because of it.
“Andrew Miller has spent the offseason working long hours on a CBA he won’t be playing with. What a final act in an already exemplary career.” – @Lindsey Adler