Tigers Get Miller Deal Done

Deal expected to exceed value of Royals' pact with Hochevar




Andrew Miller has had quite a year.

The North Carolina lefthander was the College Player of the Year, led the Tar Heels to the College World Series championship series and was the No. 6 overall pick in the draft.

Now, having signed with the Tigers, he'll end his year in the major leagues.

The Tigers announced they had agreed to terms with Miller on a major league contract that is believed to include a $3.55 million bonus and a guaranteed September callup. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, the contract guarantees Miller more than $5.4 million, and with escalator clauses tied to his presence on the 25-man roster, Miller could earn nearly $7.5 million. His contract also allows him to opt out early for arbitration.

The September callup will allow the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Miller, the Roger Clemens Award winner as college baseball's best pitcher, to join the Tigers' big league club during one of the best seasons in franchise history. The surprising Tigers, 72-36, have the majors' best record and team ERA (3.70). Miller likely will be assigned to high Class A Lakeland, close to his home in Gainesville, Fla., where he has been working out since the end of the CWS.

Miller, an unsigned third-round pick out of high school in 2003 by the Devil Rays, went 13-2, 2.48 for the Tar Heels in 2006, striking out 133 in 123 innings. North Carolina's all-time strikeouts leader (325) was 27-9, 2.85 in his three-year career.

Miller's contract would be the second-largest of the 2006 draft, surpassed only by Cubs righthander (and Notre Dame wide receiver) Jeff Samardzija. That contract would pay Samardzija a record $7.25 million over five years if Samardzija commits fulltime to baseball. Both are clients of agents Darek Braunecker, Jim Lindell and Mark Rodgers, whose firm, Frontline Athlete Management, also negotiated the record $1.3 million deal of Cubs 11th-round pick Chris Huseby.

The signings of Miller and No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochevar leave just two unsigned first-round picks in Missouri righthander Max Scherzer (No. 11, Diamondbacks) and Miller's former teammate, righthander Daniel Bard (No. 28, Red Sox).

Both situations are less straightforward than those of Miller and Hochevar. Scherzer, like Hochevar represented by Scott Boras, had an injury-plagued season, and the Diamondbacks do not currently have a scouting director, as Mike Rizzo left the organization for the Nationals. General manager Josh Byrnes was handling the negotiations for the Diamondbacks, as if often the case with Boras clients and potentially large deals.

Bard and the Red Sox are believed to be farther apart, as Bard was seeking more than the $1.2 million slot bonus the Red Sox had offered.

The Yankees have reached an agreement with righthander Ian Kennedy, their first-round pick (21st overall), for $2.25 million, but the deal has not been formally announced.