The Cleveland Indians thought they had already made a huge splash as the trade deadline nears, acquiring Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers. Unfortunately, that didn't quite work out. But another blockbuster did.
On Sunday morning, the Indians also acquired one of the best relievers in baseball, getting Yankees' eighth inning man, Andrew Miller, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Miller will fetch lots of prospects for the Yankees, including Indians' No. 1 prospect, outfielder Clint Frazier. Also heading to New York are left-hander Justus Sheffield and right-handers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen.
The Indians have shown that they have wanted to acquire a relief pitcher before the deadline. They were most connected to Miller, but it was unknown whether he would ultimately be traded. Their group of bullpen arms was below average, posting the 17th-best fWAR in the Majors. It was obvious they needed an upgrade.
And Miller is quite the upgrade for the Indians. He's by far one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, if not the best. He's 31, and this season he has a 1.39 ERA and a 77-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 45 1/3 innings pitched. Miller's 1.8 fWAR this season is equivalent to the fWAR the entire Indians bullpen has posted.
Another advantage to acquiring Miller for Cleveland is his contract status. He's signed through the 2018 season on a four-year, $36 million contract that paid him $9 million annually. The Indians not only get Miller through the end of the season, but they also get him at just $18 million for the next two years, too.
Due to all these advantages, it was not known whether the Yankees would deal Miller at the deadline. They reportedly turned down a Lucas Giolito-for-Miller deal from the Nationals, leading many to believe that he would be staying in New York.
But after seeing the team struggle against the last place Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankees decided to sell. They already did move Aroldis Chapman to Chicago last week, but he was also just a rental piece. With this move, the Yankees are truly committed to selling.
And they do get a great return for one of the primer bullpen pieces in the Majors.
Frazier, 21, was just promoted Triple-A this season and is hitting .273/.350/.461 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 94 games. He was the Indians' 1st round pick in 2013 and is now their No. 1 prospect.
No. 5 prospect Justus Sheffield also heads to New York. He's at High Class-A and has a 3.59 ERA and a 93-40 strikeout-to-walk ratio there in 95 1/3 innings pitched.
Heller, 24, is the Indians' No. 30 prospect and has a 1.73 ERA and a 48-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41 2/3 innings pitched this season between Double- and Triple-A. Cover Those Bases ran a profile on the hard-throwing righty in June.
And Feyereisen, 23, was not listed in the Indians' top 30 prospects. He's at Double-A, where he has posted a 2.23 ERA and a 56-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40 1/3 innings pitched this season.