With lefty, Betances and new acquisition Chapman, NY could have dominant 'pen trio
By Bryan Hoch
NEW YORK -- Andrew Miller seemed to pass every closing test with flying colors this past season, converting 36 of 38 save opportunities in his first crack at the job, but the left-hander could be heading back to a setup role following the Yankees' acquisition of Aroldis Chapman.
General manager Brian Cashman said that he called Miller to offer a heads-up prior to completing Monday's swap with the Reds, which shipped four Minor Leaguers to Cincinnati, telling him that the Yankees intend to keep Miller, Chapman and Dellin Betances in hopes of building a super-bullpen.
"I was making him aware that it will feed a lot of speculation that's been around," Cashman said. "I told him our intent is to retain all three players. How it shakes out in the closer role, going forward, that's all for another day."
The Yankees have been entertaining offers for Miller (as well as for outfielder Brett Gardner) all winter as they seek an upgrade to their starting rotation; the Astros were reported to be close to acquiring Miller at the Winter Meetings earlier this month.
"Again, our intent is to try to keep all parties," Cashman said. "It doesn't preclude us obviously from receiving phone calls or exploring any opportunities that occur as we move forward, because we do have a lot of attractive and movable pieces."
Cashman said that Miller seemed to take the news of Chapman's acquisition in stride.
"When we signed Andrew, he certainly had the intent of doing anything and everything necessary to help us win, and he reiterated that conversation with me," Cashman said. "'Whatever it takes to help the Yankees win' -- that's basically what he repeated back to me."
Last spring, the Yankees went down to the end of camp without making a solid decision on whether they would have Miller or Betances serve as the closer.
Manager Joe Girardi may have a similar luxury in camp next year, with the added wrinkle of needing to wait to see how Major League Baseball's investigation into Chapman's alleged October incident in Davie, Fla., plays out. Chapman still faces a possible suspension under the league's domestic violence policy.
"There's a lot of ground to cover between now and Opening Day, with a lot of this subject matter that's still unresolved," Cashman said. "That's all for another day. I think we are definitely an improved team with this addition to go along with the other pieces in our 'pen."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.