The Cleveland Indians won the American League Central Division crown in 2016. The club then mowed through the powerful Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays to reach the World Series.
Though the Tribe fell just short of their first world championship in 68 years, they did capture the franchise’ first AL Pennant since 1997.
One key to the Indians nailing down that division title, and certainly their postseason success, was the trade deadline deal to bring in lefty reliever Andrew Miller.
To that point in the season, manager Terry Francona really didn’t have much in the way of successful southpaw arms to draw upon when needed.
TRIBE FOUND A 2016 LHP DIFFERENCE MAKER
24-year old Kyle Crockett saw the most action in that role through July. He appeared in 17 games after a late April promotion, registering just a 7.04 ERA over 7.2 innings in 17 games.
Miller was fabulous, of course, a true difference maker. After arriving in the trade from the New York Yankees he went 4-0 with three Saves, yielding just 14 hits in 29 innings over 26 games with a 46/2 K:BB ratio.
In the postseason, Miller never let up. He was 2-0 with a Save and five Holds as the Indians pushed to a dramatic Game Seven in the Fall Classic. He allowed just 12 hits over 19.1 playoff innings with a 30/5 K:BB ratio.
INDIANS LOOKING FOR A 2017 LH RP OPTION
As the club prepares to defend their division and league championships in the 2017 season, general manager Mike Chernoff would love to give Francona a second reliable lefty option in that bullpen.
The perfect fit may now be available via free agency in Boone Logan. The 11-year veteran pitched in 66 games with the Colorado Rockies in 2016. He allowed just 27 hits in 46.1 innings over 66 games with a 57/20 K:BB ratio.
Since his age 25 season with the New York Yankees, Logan has allowed 256 hits while striking out 335 batters over his last 282.2 innings in 417 games across seven seasons.
Logan signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Rockies prior to the 2014 season. Having turned 32-years of age in August, he is likely seeking at least another three year contract.
There will certainly be stiff competition, as a number of teams are reportedly looking around at reasonable bullpen options. Both New York teams, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Seattle Mariners are all reportedly considering Logan.
John Perrotto at Fanrag quoted an anonymous NL executive on the free agent relief pitcher market in general: “…teams are realizing the value of a good relief pitcher and are more willing to pay those guys, so it’s not as easy as it used to be.”
If the Indians are willing to go for three years at $15 million, considering their already contending status, that could be enough to tie up the solid lefty option that they are looking for to play second fiddle to Miller next season.