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Matt Miller, not forgotten

Sheldon Ocker has a nice piece today on Matt Miller.  He calls him a "forgotten man," but I've never forgotten him.  That guy has done nothing but get guys out for us, other than spending a lot time on the DL.

Miller arrived mid-year after the Great Bullpen Implosion of '04.  Any news of a new reliever was greeted eagerly at that point, but like most fans, I'm sure I was less excited after reading Miller's unimpressive resume at age 32.  But Shapiro is developing a bit of a knack for pulling pitcher-rabbits out of Colorado-hats:

The Indians noticed something about Miller. As General Manager Mark Shapiro pointed out, Miller pitched 63 1/3 innings in 2003 in Colorado Springs without giving up a home run. Considering the 6,000-foot altitude of the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate, that is the equivalent of ESPN going an entire year without mentioning Barry Bonds.
The conventional storyline for 2004 became that Wickman (and to some extent Howry) came off the DL to stabilize the bullpen and (kind of) salvage the season.  But it was really Miller who came out of nowhere, and Miller who proved to be immune from the gas-can-itis that afflicted every other player who stepped in the Tribe bullpen for the first two months of the season.  He pitched 55 innings that season and clearly was our best reliever overall.

I'll be glad to have him back this year, and I hope he can stay healthy.  A strange detail about Miller is that since he spent almost no time in the majors before age 32, his contract status is actually the same as Peralta and Sizemore's, meaning he has two more years before arbitration and five more before free agency.

And anyway, sidearmers are just fun to watch.