At the conclusion of the winter meetings a week ago, it looked as if the Phillies were poised to strike a deal with left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.
Now, Miller has reportedly signed a two-year, $25 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Entering the offseason, the Phillies had hoped to add a high-end lefty to their bullpen. With Miller off the board, where do they go from here?
According to sources, they remain interested in Zach Britton. Should the Phils miss out on Britton, they could opt to take their chances with lefty relievers James Pazos and Jose Alvarez, both added in trades this offseason, and look to upgrade during the season. The Phils also have lefty relievers Austin Davis and Adam Morgan on the roster.
There is also the chance the Phils could add a versatile lefty who could start or relieve. A source confirmed a Philadelphia Inquirer report that said the team had interest in trading for Texas Rangers lefty Mike Minor, who can start or relieve. The Phillies also considered Minor at the trade deadline last summer.
At the moment, the Phillies’ main focus appears to be at the top end of the free-agent market and infielder Manny Machado, who met and dined with team officials in Philadelphia on Thursday (see story). Machado is also being pursued by the Yankees and White Sox. If the Phillies don’t sign Machado, they could shift their focus to slugging outfielder Bryce Harper.
The Phillies liked the idea of adding the versatile Miller because he can close or pitch in other high-leverage situations in the late innings. St. Louis apparently liked the idea more. In addition to two years and $25 million, the Cardinals gave him a vesting third-year option based on games pitched that is worth $12 million and a full no-trade clause.
It is not clear where the Phillies' talks with Miller broke down. He will turn 34 in May and was on the disabled list three times last season with shoulder, knee and hamstring issues.
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