Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Yankees receiving equivalent to midseason acquisitions in Ellsbury and Miller

July is the time when trade rumors begin to swirl around Major League Baseball. For the New York Yankees it’s typically a busy period for such speculation because the club is generally in the playoff hunt and like any team they’re looking for upgrades, plus they have cash on hand to take on costly contracts.

Jacoby Ellsbury
Photo credit: Keith Allison via Flickr
This season might not be any different, but before the club gets deep into trading season, they have two All-Star caliber reinforcements coming back into the fold Wednesday in Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller.

Ellsbury has not played since May 19 and the Yankees have gone 22-21 during the span. The club was 20-17 with Ellsbury on the field (he missed three games before the DL stint). Brett Gardner has done a fantastic job in Ellsbury’s place atop the Yankees’ lineup, but it was the one-two punch being delivered almost nightly that sparked the Yankees earlier this season.

Ellsbury was hitting .324/.412/.372 with 29 runs scored and 14 stolen bases (both were tops in the league at the time) before the injury so adding him to a lineup that really didn’t suffer in his absence just makes it more difficult for opposing teams to handle.

I’d anticipate a slow start from Ellsbury simply because his rehab assignment was quite short and at the Yankees’ low-A affiliate in Tampa. He received just 13 plate appearances (two hits) during his rehab, so expecting some rust seems logical.

Andrew Miller
Photo credit: Arturo Pardavilla III via Flickr
With Miller, the Yankees again didn’t exactly suffer without him except for losing bullpen depth as Dellin Betances rolled with the closer role without much issue until his last couple of appearances. Bringing Miller back into the fold will lengthen the bullpen five talented relievers deep (add Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve and Adam Warren) which is crucial when the starting staff gives less than six innings of work on average.

Miller was pitching to a 1.03 ERA and 0.68 WHIP with 17 saves before his injury. He accumulated 43 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Miller will regain the closer role and since the Betances-to-Miller combo was so dominant, there’s no argument here.

Miller threw just one inning in a rehab appearance at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre allowing two hits and striking out one. He, like Ellsbury, might show a bit of rust early in his return.

As the Yankees approach the All-Star break, becoming mostly whole again (Carlos Beltran is on the DL) is a big step in beginning a summer run. Getting Ellsbury and Miller back should provide a boost and further enhances the Yankees’ strengths on offense and in the bullpen.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.