Who Would You Rather Have In Red Sox Bullpen? Andrew Miller or Mike Gonzalez


Entering the spring the Red Sox were hoping that pitcher Andrew Miller would show signs of maturity and that he could challenge for the final starting rotation spot.  While he did show some promise in his brief three outings this March, accumulating only three innings of work, Miller has found himself removed from the rotation equation thanks to a hamstring strain.  His focus is now on securing a spot in the bullpen, or face being placed on waivers which would surely lead to being picked up by another team.

There is always the option for the Red Sox to place Miller on the disabled list to start the year, but with reports about the Sox monitoring the Mike Gonzalez market, Miller could occupy that all important roster spot.

So now the question is, with Andrew Miller fighting to make the Sox bullpen, who would you rather have available to summon from the pen; Andrew Miller or Mike Gonzalez?  Let’s take a look at the two.

Miller grabs an early advantage based solely on his age of 26 compared to Gonzalez’s 33.  But that is quickly compensated when you start analyzing the numbers and valuable experience which is heavily tilted towards Gonzalez.

Despite Gonzalez being around longer than Miller in the Majors (3 years), their career innings are almost identical, thanks to Miller’s ability to spot start throughout the year. Of course when Miller was in Florida he was a starter for two years, racking up a total of 34 starts and over 187 innings.  For argument sake we’ll call this area a draw.

But the experience that really counts is the postseason and it is often considered invaluable.  Gonzalez of course was a part of the Texas Rangers run to the World Series in 2011 while Miller has never pitched in October.  Point for Gonzalez.

Now the meat and potatoes for any baseball fan when comparing two pitchers; the statistics (all career numbers).


Gonzalez – 2.94

Miller – 5.79.

Point Gonzalez.


Gonzalez – 1.243

Miller – 1.750

Point Gonzalez.


Gonzalez – 10.3

Miller – 7.2


Gonzalez – 4.1

Miller – 5.4

Point Gonzalez.

WAR rating:

Gonzalez: + 7.3

Miller: – 4.0

Point Gonzalez.

Those are the main categories to compare and without getting into too much detail, Gonzalez is the clear winner in this comparison.  You could argue that Miller has had to endure the AL East which brings explosive offenses in small, hitter’s ball parks, the fact is that Miller just wasn’t good enough last year.

Going forward, if Miller can’t prove he’s able to get the big out when coming into the game at crucial times, he may not have a fit in the Red Sox bullpen.  Which brings us back to the point about taking up a roster spot.  Because Miller is out of options he could become waiver wire bound if in fact the Red Sox pursue Gonzalez.  The 40-man roster is full as of right now meaning a move would have to be made in order to create room for Gonzalez to sign.  Miller appears to be that move.

The nice thing about either pitcher is that both are lefties, something the Sox don’t have a lot of depth of in the bullpen.  With Felix Doubront poised to crack the rotation that leaves Miller, Rich Hill and Franklin Morales as lefty specialists.  Don’t everyone start jumping for joy all at once at these options.  Plain and simple, these options are not reliable options.  Hence the need for Gonzalez.

Granted he has struggled over the past few seasons, but even his struggles are better than Miller’s good years.

One point that is worth noting and that is in Miller’s favor is the salaries.  Miller is set to make just over $1.0M this year.  Last season Gonzalez made an even $6.0M with Baltimore/Texas.  Being a free-agent and still not having a home at this point, his price tag has come down but would cost more than Miller.  With all the press the Sox have gotten surrounding their desire to stay below the tax threshold, signing Gonzalez may not be viable.

If they can get him for $3-4 million, it may be worth paying the luxury tax if it means having a lefty shutdown specialist available. Something that will be pivotal if the Red Sox have any hope to contend in 2012.

Take part in our poll and let us know who you would rather have.

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