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Red Sox swap Richardson for Miller

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  November 12, 2010 06:40 PM

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The Red Sox traded their tall lefty with issues for another one earlier today as Dustin Richardson was sent to Florida for former first-round pick Andrew Miller.

Miller, 25, was 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA in 32.2 innings for the Marlins last season. He was 2-9, 5.35 in 21 starts for Class AA Jacksonville and Class A Jupiter. Miller is 15-26, 5.84 in 79 appearances (54 starts) for the Tigers and Marlins.

A first-round pick (6th overall) in 2006 out of North Carolina (where he was a teammate of Daniel Bard), Miller was traded to Florida with five other prospects before the 2008 season for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. The 6-foot-7 Miller has never performed particularly well on the professional level, but does have 212 strikeouts in 232 innings in the minors, a sign that there is something to work with,

The 6-foot-6 Richardson, a fifth-round pick in 2006, had a 4.15 ERA in 26 relief appearances last season. He walked 14 in 13 innings and lefties were 9 of 25 against him with two home runs and eight walks.

Richardson showed promise in 2009 when he pitched well for Portland and Pawtucket. But he regressed last season, particularly in terms of his control.

UPDATE, 7:30 p.m.: Miller made $1.79 million last year. But is not arbitration eligible. That makes him eligible for a split contract and a pay cut.

A scout I spoke to said there is a general sense that Miller was rushed to the majors and has yet to fully develop as a pitcher. But he's a tall lefty who throws in the mid 90s and is only 25.

The Sox must have some degree of faith that their coaches can turn Miller's career around. Much like the Jeremy Hermida move last season, the Sox have obtained a former first-round pick from Florida with upside who was likely to be non-tendered. The Sox have the resources to take these sorts of gambles.

It didn't work out with Hermida, but perhaps it will with Miller.

UPDATE, 10:01 p.m.: In talking to a few more people about Miller, the thought is he could become an effective reliever by making his delivery more simple and his mind a little less cloudy.

The Marlins tinkered with his mechanics to the point where he didn't look much like the pitcher everybody wanted coming out of college. Keep in mind, he was picked ahead of Tim Lincecum in the 2006 draft.

So for the cost of Dustin Richardson, the Sox get a young lefty with a lot of upside. As baseball lottery tickets go, you could do a lot worse.

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