When the lockout eventually ends, the Washington Nationals have some work to do. With that in mind, we revisit our series where we will examine some potential free agent targets for the Nationals once baseball finally returns. Today, we take a look at a veteran, left-handed reliever who could be of interest to the Nats.
Player: Andrew Miller
2021 Stats: 40 G, 36.0 IP, 41 H, 19 ER, 16 BB, 40 SO, 1.583 WHIP, 10.0 SO9
2021 Review: Andrew Miller is not the dominant, left-handed reliever he once was, but he did have a pretty solid season in 2021. In his third year in St. Louis, Miller regained his dominance against left-handed batters. The veteran held lefties to just a .182 batting average and .257 OBP, giving up just 12 hits and 2 ERs to the 75 left-handed batters he faced. As good as Miller was against lefties, he was equally as bad against right-handed hitters. Righties had a .392 average and a .662 SLG percentage against the 36-year-old.
Free Agency Outlook: While Miller isn’t going to demand the kind of interest he did back in his heyday, he still will pique some interest around the league. Teams are always looking for quality, left-handed relief pitching, and Miller has shown a consistent ability to get left-handed hitters out over his 16-year career. While teams will be interested, he won’t be getting anything close to the two-year, $25M deal he signed with the Cardinals back in 2018.
Nationals Fit: At first glance, you may think to yourself, why would the Nationals want to sign a 36-year-old reliever? While the Nationals aren’t going to be competing in 2022, signing Miller still could benefit them in a couple of ways. First, Washington desperately needs a left-handed arm in their bullpen. Sam Clay and Francisco Perez simply aren’t going to cut it. In the NL East, you need a left-handed reliever that can match up with guys like Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman and have success. For the Nationals, Miller could be that guy. He also would not require a long-term commitment, and most importantly could be dealt at the trade deadline if he has success. Miller is no stranger to trade deadline moves, and the left-hander would draw plenty of interest if he’s able to have success in the first half of the season.
Final Verdict: While his age is certainly not ideal, Andrew Miller is the type of player the Nationals need to be targeting after the lockout. Washington needs to look at affordable players that can be signed on short-term deals and then potentially moved at mid-season. Miller would be a perfect example of this, and he’d give Washington a quality, left-handed arm in their bullpen they’ve been missing for quite some time.