For me, Andrew Miller was one of the most highly anticipated signings of the off-season. Miller, an outstanding left-handed setup man for the Red Sox and Orioles last year, was sure to set an AAV record for a non-closer.
I said Miller could see a four-year deal for $40 million. It was reported that he got that offer from the Houston Astros, but didn't take it. Instead he signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Yankees. What kind of backwards universe are we living in when the New York Yankees land free agents by offering them less money?
The real issue here is for the Houston Astros. While I'm not ready to jump on board with Sports Illustrated's prediction of them winning the 2017 World Series, the Astros are getting better. Houston is an income-tax-free state and a nice place to live. Losing a free agent to whom they made the best offer is a discouraging red flag.
The Astros had a host of PR blunders last year, including the shenanigans involved with them not signing the No. 1 overall draft pick Brady Aiken, firing their manager who claimed front-office interference, the leaking of 10 month's worth of trade data, and their handling of 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel. The organization has been trying to reverse their poor image. The hiring of Reid Ryan as team president and A.J. Hinch as manager has been a good start.
For a relief pitcher, the opportunity to cash in on a multi-year deal is rare. Andrew Miller might not get a chance like this ever again, yet he took (slightly) less money to be where he wanted to be.
We might see the same thing with Jon Lester. The Cubs are in and even if they offer the best deal they might not be the best fit for Lester, who wants to win.
It's mostly about the money, but not always.