The Indians had one of the worst bullpens in baseball last season, and now sports commentator Terry Pluto says it's time to rebuild. Two key relievers who were free agents have officially signed with other teams: Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
The two best relievers and their collapse
Andrew Miller signed a two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals last month. Reports say it's worth $25 million with a no-trade clause. The 33-year-old was injury-plagued the last two seasons with the Indians, making three trips to the disabled list for three different injures: hamstring, knee and shoulder. Last season he threw just 34 innings, posting a 4.24 ERA.
Miller was key to the Indians' 2016 Word Series run. He had a 1.45 ERA with a 10-1 record. He struck out 30 in the postseason.
"They shot for the World Series and no Andrew Miller, no World Series," Pluto said. "But unfortunately if you add up all those innings that he pitched to get them there, it took a toll on his body."
Reliever Cody Allen is the latest to sign a deal with a new team. He agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels worth about $8.5 million, including $2.5 million in incentives. The 30-year-old Allen had 149 saves for the Indians, the ninth-most among acttive players and the most in Indians history. But he had a disappointing 2018 with a 4.70 ERA.
"You could look at Andrew Miller with the shoulder and knee problems. But Cody was healthy. The Indians all-time saves leader suddenly was lost. He couldn't get anybody out. The Indians were going to sit back and see if anybody wanted him or they were going to bring him back."
In 2016/17, the Miller/Allen combination was one of the best in baseball. But, Pluto said part of the downfall of that great bullpen was the collapse of those two same players.
Pluto says the Indians will be using reliever Brad Hand, who they acquired last season in a trade. Hand will likely be the closer. Expected to make a return from Tommy John surgery is Cody Anderson. And, the team will be trying to figure out what to do with Danny Salazar, who has spent the last couple seasons on the injured list. The Indians have already annouced he will not be ready for Opening Day. "You always hear he's throwing 50 feet in Goodyear. This man has been in Goodyear long enough to run for mayor," Pluto jokes. "But once in a while a guy like that comes back."
"They'll be shopping the rummage sale for relievers. The tough thing is we got spoiled by those good bullpens for so many years."