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The Mike Miller Conundrum

The Sox called up Mike Miller yesterday and you have to feel happy for the kid.  He appropriately calls it "a dream come true."  He's a 26 year old, 5'8", 170 lbs, 9th round pick middle infielder with no power, limited on-base skills but presumably can handle the glove respectably.  He sounds like the kind of kid we'll all root for, but might not see the majors much - if at all - beyond this sip of coffee.

To add Miller to the major league roster, they had to first move him onto the 40-man roster.  The call up of Miller was prompted by the fact that they had just optioned their top minor league utility option, Deven Merrero, back to Pawtucket two days before so they couldn't recall him, and Brock Holt wasn't ready yet.  That is, Boston needed a body who could play middle infield and options #1 and #2 were not available, so they brought up Miller.  (Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Marco Hernandez's glove which has looked to be less solid than his bat)

With this move, the Sox 40-man roster is now full.  Fireballing reliever Pat Light was called up today but he's already on the 40-man so that's not impacted.  The question will come when Aaron Wilkerson is presumably called up this weekend to try out for the rotation with E-Rod tumbling back to Rhode Island after his disaster last night.  Then, behind Wilkerson, you have reliever Kevin Martin and even resurgent prospect, outfielder Henry Ramos, making their own cases to jump onto the 40-man roster and get a shot in Boston.  Or a trade for a major league play with Boston trading a non-40 man prospect.

There are a few people that could be dropped to make room next time someone needs to be added to the 40-man.  Until recently, you might have counted outfielder Bryce Brentz as a candidate, but he has played his way off of that roster bubble and onto the field at Fenway, so he seems to no longer be a candidate for getting dropped - which, in a way, is too bad for him as he'd seem very likely to get picked up and maybe get a real chance elsewhere in the majors.  It seems just a matter of time until Sean Coyle is dropped from the 40 man as he's regressing and isn't even hitting in Portland now.  It's possible that Williams Jerez or William Cuevas are dropped but I doubt it as Cuevas has been useful in Boston and Jerez seems like a solid lefty relief prospect who might take off in the next year or so.  The other option might be moving Blake Swihart to the 60 man DL.  He's been hurt since June 5 and might be out for another month so that's close to 60 days.

The real question is Miller.  After Coyle is dropped, Miller is likely the next candidate to get dropped from the 40-man roster.  He'd probably clear waivers and get back to Pawtucket, but it's possible he's picked up by another team, the maybe dropped by then... and so on.  Thus starting a bizarre series of events that collide a marginal player's greatest career moment (making the bigs) with the beginning of the end of their career.  It's an odd situation that his career might well be thrown into turmoil by the fact that he was given this great honor.  We've seen it before, but if it happens here, maybe "The Mike Miller Conundrum" branding will stick and be this kid's legacy in baseball.


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