BOSTON -- You might be surprised which player Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington received the most calls about in the days and hours leading up to Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"We had more calls on Andrew Miller than any other player on our team," said Cherington. "Every contender in baseball pretty much called us on Andrew Miller, because he fits for everyone: he's a really good left-handed reliever, he's not making a lot of money. So there were a lot of teams involved."
Cherington liked the proposal from the Orioles the most, so he went with it, sending Miller to an American League East rival in exchange for highly-touted pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez.
Prospect acquired by Red Sox
Eduardo Rodriguez, lhp: Rodriguez, a Venezuelan native, signed with the Orioles in 2010 and made steady progress through their system before breaking out in 2013. As a 20-year old, he advanced to Double-A Bowie and finished the season with a solid showing in the Arizona Fall League, where he was the starting pitcher in the championship game. He returned to Bowie this season, but hasn't been as sharp, especially with his command. He went 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA and a 69-to-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 82 2/3 innings. As he has matured, Rodriguez's fastball velocity has increased and now sits in the low-90s. His slider is his best secondary offering and his changeup gives him a third pitch with average potential.
"We felt like the single best player that we could get was Rodriguez in terms of potential upside and impact," said Cherington. "There were a lot of good prospects we could've gotten for Miller -- we liked Rodriguez the best. As with the other guys, I don't think this rules anything out going forward, but he's a Baltimore Oriole now and he's going to help them try to get in the playoffs."
In trying to win the AL East, the Orioles made an aggressive move to get Miller, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.
"The kid has talent and he has youth, but again, our team is in the race," said Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. "We want to continue what we started, and we needed to add to our club to be competitive with the other clubs, not just in our division, but the other clubs in the American League in the playoff situation."
Rodriguez, 21, was recently ranked as the third-best prospect in Baltimore's farm system by MLB.com. The lefty missed more than a month this season with a knee sprain, suffered while lifting weights.
Rodriguez has struggled at times this season, positing a 4.79 ERA in 16 starts for Double-A Bowie.
The Red Sox continue to stockpile young pitching, as Rodriguez joins a group that includes Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo. And just last week, Boston acquired Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree for Jake Peavy.
When the Red Sox originally acquired Miller from the Marlins prior to the 2011 season, he was a starting pitcher who had not lived up to considerable expectations. But he wound up finding a niche as a reliever with the Red Sox, and he turned into one of the best lefty setup men in the game over the last two seasons.
In 2014, Miller is 3-5 with a 2.34 ERA in 50 games. He has 69 strikeouts and 13 walks over 42 1/3 innings.
"He probably pitched his way off the team because he pitched so well, and when we are where we are, we have him for two more months … especially that type of pitcher is even more valuable for a winning team than one that isn't winning as much," said Cherington. "So you have to listen to what you can turn that into."