Pending physicals, the abolition of a trade-clause and other legal nonsense, the Cleveland Indians will acquire an all-star catcher and shutdown reliever, (as reported by FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal) all in the span of 12 hours. Andrew Miller and Jonathon Lucroy are (unofficially) headed to the Indians.
Analysis: The Indians must now be considered the favorite in the American League to reach the World Series. The Indians have top-tier pitching (best team ERA in the AL) and a potent offense (7th in runs scored throughout MLB).
The addition of Jonathon Lucroy addresses one of the weakest areas on the team at the catching position. Indians catchers have scuffled all year and now they get one of the best in the game. Lucroy is hitting an even .300 this season with 13 homers and earned his 2nd all-star nomination in July. Lucroy is regularly credited as one of the best catchers to work with by his pitchers. A gritty, versatile player (who played in 153 games between catcher and first base in 2014) is the perfect addition for the Indians. Lucroy is under team control through the 2017 season.
AND Andrew Miller? The Indians bullpen ranks 10th in the MLB in ERA and has been led by closer Cody Allen. Although Allen has been solid (20 saves and only 2 blown saves) the rest of the bullpen is rather pedestrian. Miller, the 6’7″ lefty, brings with him a 15.3 k’s per nine strikeout rate and a 0.77 WHIP. Miller will be under team control though the 2018 season.
The acquisition of Miller will give Manager Terry Francona a steady, go to guy late in games as the Indians seek to nail down the AL Central and ultimately the pennant.