With Miller off board, market for other setup men heating up

Andrew Miller's signing could set up a domino effect for setup men.

Joy R. Absalon

Now that Andrew Miller is off the board, a number of other setup men could sign quickly.

In particular, the markets for free-agent right-handers Sergio Romo and Luke Gregerson are warming, according to major-league sources. Righties Francisco Rodriguez, Pat Neshek, Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain also figure to be in some demand.

The Astros made a four-year, $40 million bid for Miller, sources say. They could redirect that offer toward free-agent closer David Robertson — or perhaps sign Romo and Gregerson for what they would have paid Miller. New Astros manager A.J. Hinch was part of the Padres’ front office when Gregerson pitched in San Diego.

The Blue Jays, White Sox and Dodgers are among the other teams actively seeking late-inning help. Those teams and others could view Miller’s four-year, $36 million free-agent contract with the Yankees as an aberration. Or, the Miller deal could elevate the prices of other relievers.

According to sources, the Dodgers balked at bidding four years for Miller, and also were outbid for free-agent lefty Zach Duke, who went to the White Sox on a three-year, $15 million deal.

The new Dodgers front office is not enamored with righty Brian Wilson, sources say. However, it also appears wary of spending heavily on bullpen pieces with Wilson under contract next season for $10 million, Brandon League for $8.5 million and J.P. Howell for $5.5 million. The team’s closer, Kenley Jansen, projects to earn $8.2 million in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.

The Dodgers will try to stay disciplined as they seek upgrades, sources say; the price of taking Romo away from the Giants, for example, might be beyond their comfort level.

Besides the free agents, there is an attractive right-handed option on the trade market — Nationals setup man Tyler Clippard.

The Nats are "likely" to move Clippard, one source said. The team is deep in right-handed relievers, and Clippard projects to earn $8 million to $9 million in his final year of arbitration before free agency.

Clippard closed for the part of the season in 2012. The pitcher most similar to him statistically is Robertson, according to baseball-reference.com.

Royals setup man Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland also are attracting trade interest, and it’s possible one of them could be traded for a hitter.