As we discussed yesterday, Shelby Miller is one of the hottest names on the trade market at the moment and the Atlanta Braves are wisely responding to their current leverage by putting a steep price on the 25-year-old right-hander.
There have been some big names that the Atlanta front office is rumored to have asked about in trades centered around Miller in the past few weeks. Obviously. Twenty-or-so teams have been interested in him; there is clearly going to be a steep asking price.
The Braves reportedly asked about Luis Severino from the Yankees, Marcell Ozuna — among other players — from the Marlins and A.J. Pollock from the Diamondbacks. Last week we heard that the Giants were interested in Miller and that the Braves were looking to get either Matt Duffy or Joe Panik. Over the past few days we've seemingly had nonstop Joc Pederson/Dodgers rumors as well. A report from MLB.com's Mark Bowman yesterday shows that the Braves wanted top LA prospect Corey Seager included in a Miller deal.
The one consistent theme through all of these different scenarios is that they have all been rejected by other teams. Which makes sense. Because they would all be huge wins for Atlanta.
Ozuna is currently 25-years-old and despite having a down 2015 season, had the 10th-best average exit velocity in the league last season, and has the potential to hit 30 homers per year while playing center field. Pollock is two years older, but is coming off of a 6.6-WAR season in which he hit .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs and 39 stolen bases. Duffy and Panik are both capable defenders at third and second respectively, and are both coming off of four-win seasons. Pederson is 23 years old, doesn't become a free agent until 2021 and managed a 115 wRC+ despite two horrendous months to end the season and a .210 batting average.
It makes sense that the Braves are asking for these sorts of talents right now. They have a player that the majority of the league is interested in, playing one of the most valued positions in baseball. A player coming off of his best Major League season at age 25. With three years still on his contract. That's an extremely valuable commodity.
But so are all of the other players that the Braves are asking for. Arizona, apparently, quickly dismissed the idea of trading Pollock for Miller. The Giants clearly weren't willing to deal Duffy or Panik for Miller alone. The Dodgers aren't dangling Pederson for Miller. And that makes sense.
Again, just think back to the deal brought Miller to Atlanta in the first place. The Cardinals gave up four years of Miller and six years of Tyrell Jenkins — who was Atlanta's Minor League Pitcher of the Year — for just one year of Jason Heyward, and Jordan Walden.* And call me crazy, but I have to imagine that multiple years of control of players like Pollock, Duffy, Panik and Pederson are worth at least one year of Heyward. When taking that into consideration, most of these rumored deals for Miller one year later just don't make that much sense for the non-Braves team in the equation.
Maybe every single person reading this gets that, and agrees with that. I certainly hope so. And if you don't, I'd love to hear your reasoning below in the comments. We all win with civilized discussions, even if we're extremely stubborn with our own opinions.
Maybe I'm overreacting by even writing this post in the first place, but it seems like people are now expecting this type of return for Shelby Miller. I would caution against that expectation, as it seems pretty clear that other teams aren't biting at the current price.
Now, it's certainly possible that when teams miss out on the Zack Greinke's and David Price's of the world they will get a bit more desperate and meet the current demands, but I would be extremely surprised if that were the case.
And that's fine. You should always come to the negotiating table asking for more than what you would actually agree to. Based on Bowman's article (linked above) that's exactly what the team is doing. So let's be aware of that, and understand that if Miller is dealt for something less than any of these names, that doesn't automatically make the deal a bad one for Atlanta.
*Shoutout to kimbersdad for reminding me that Jordan Walden was, in fact, part of the Heyward-Miller trade.