The trade today that brought Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller to Baltimore was in the works for the past few weeks, according to executive vice president Dan Duquette. It gained steam over the last three or four days, though Duquette tried to keep Double-A Bowie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
Duquette said he tried a few combinations, but the Red Sox wanted Rodriguez.
Here's a transcript from Duquette's press conference:
On the impetus for making the trade
"We were looking to add some depth to our pitching and the acquisition of Miller gives us a left-handed pitcher that can dominate left-handed hitters. This year, he's been highly effective against righties, as well. And looking at the market, we had good depth to our starting pitching and we thought if we're going to make a real impact acquisition, that this would be the player we would get. We worked hard to negotiate a deal with Boston. We hated to give up a young left-handed pitcher. We tried a lot of other combinations short of Eduardo Rodriguez, but in this case it was required to make the deal. And I think with the two really talented left-handed relievers at the end of the game, along with Darren O'Day, it gives us a very, very formidable back end of the bullpen. And Miller's emergence this year being able to get out right-handers along with lefties made him very attractive. Not just to us. We ended up getting him, but there were a lot of other clubs that were in the market for left-handed relievers. But his capabilities and his performance this year really distinguished himself from any other players in that position in the market."
On how long the trade was in the works
"It's been in the works for the last couple of weeks. It did start to pick up some steam in the last three or four days. We were involved in several other discussions to help the team in other areas. And we've got a good idea what the value of our young prospects were and what the value they can bring in trade, but this was the most impactful trade I thought we could make, given what we had to trade and what we were wiling to trade. Given the way our team has been playing in terms of the starting pitching coming around, this fills a void and gives Buck (Showalter) a weapon late in the game to lock down the lead. And when you get into close games, a lot of times it's decided by the bullpen late in the game. So, if our club can advance into the playoffs and postseason, a lot of those games are decided on the back end, the seventh inning on."
On whether the trade was made with the postseason in mind
"We need to get to the postseason and we need to stay on pace to win over 90 games, but to get beyond winning the division and advancing in the postseason, we do need to strengthen our team, and this is one area where we could strengthen our club without giving up an asset on the current team."
On the reluctance to give up young pitchers
"Like I said, this was required. This wasn't something that we wanted to... Eduardo Rodriguez wasn't a player... It wasn't our first choice to trade him. The kid has talent and he has youth, but again, our team is in the race. We want to continue what we started, and we needed to add to our club to be competitive with the other clubs. Not just in our division, but the other clubs in the American League in the playoff situation."
On other trades made today in baseball
"There's a lot of activity from the teams in the American League that want to win the pennant. They want to advance to the playoffs, and so when you get to this time of year, you have to take a look at how your team matches up against your competitors and where you can strengthen your club. I'm not sure we had the wherewithal to land a top starter. We have some other really attractive players, but some of them are helping our current club, right? There's a lot of interest in last night's pitcher, Kevin Gausman, as well there should be. He's a terrific young pitcher, so you've just got to weigh what you can do to strengthen your ballclub. Adding Miller really strengthens our club, particularly when we have a lead. It allows some of those other relievers to come into the game and pitch earlier. It shortens up the game a little bit when you have relievers that can get out both righties and lefties, and this kid has been dominant against both."
On whether the Orioles could re-sign Miller
"Let's see him pitch for the Orioles. He's having a terrific year and our hope is that he'll continue pitching this year for the Orioles the way he's been pitching for Boston."
On what's made Miller so good
"He's put it together. He had terrific talent. He was drafted, I think, sixth in the country out of North Carolina so that gives you an idea of the caliber of his talent and that he was drafted so well. He really has found his niche in the bullpen and getting to pitch in Boston and getting to throw regularly. He's just more consistent throwing strikes, throwing his pitches for strikes, but he's really put it all together this year. He's having a terrific year."
On whether he came close to acquiring a hitter
"We had some other deals that almost came to fruition, but not quite. We can look at some other ways to augment our production. The pitching and the defense is very strong. The club we put out there (Wednesday) night was a terrific defensive ballclub, and you combine that with good pitching and the power we have in our lineup. We still have a good chance to win each game because of the power we have in the lineup. There are a couple areas in the ballclub where we could use some additional offensive production and there will be some opportunities I think to address that between now and the end of the season."
On whether he felt earlier today that he lost Miller to the Tigers or another club
"No, I knew that Eduardo Rodriguez had significant value in this trade or other trades. Just on the basis he is a young quality left-handed pitcher."
On the possibility of August trades
"Hopefully. We've got some hitters at Triple-A that are swinging the bats pretty good. We picked up (Jimmy) Paredes, Dariel Alvarez is doing a good job at Triple-A and there will be some other opportunities for some bats through the waiver process. There won't be much going on now because everybody needs waivers to get traded, so that won't happen right away. But some time in the next couple of weeks there will be some opportunities for us to address those needs."