Andrew Miller said he would be lying if the low points in his career haven’t made him enjoy his current spot among the game’s best.
Those valleys have made these peaks make Miller feel pretty good about things.
"In a perfect world, everything goes your way," the Cleveland Indians’ relief specialist said. "In the real world, things don’t always work out that way."
Miller, one may recall, was the centerpiece of the Marlins’ prospect haul in the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis trade to Detroit.
Perhaps under the heavy scrutiny and pressure of being remembered for such an unpopular trade, Miller didn’t do much with the Marlins. In three seasons, he was 10-20 with a 5.89 ERA. In his final season with Florida in 2010, he had a 8.54 ERA all while bouncing through the Marlins’ minor league organization.
Miller also struggled with the Red Sox until he failed to earn a spot in Boston’s rotation out of spring training in 2012 and was relegated to the bullpen.
It was the best thing to happen to him.
One of the key components on Cleveland’s run to the World Series last year, Miller is back in Miami as a member of his second All-Star team.
After signing a four-year, $36 million contract with the Yankees, Miller was again part of a prospect-laden trade – only this time, he was the prized veteran moving into the Indians bullpen. Miller was traded to the Indians following his first All-Star appearance last year as a member of the Yankees.
"For me, I never even dreamed I would be able to take part in something like this no matter how great things were going," Miller said before Tuesday’s 88th playing of the All-Star Game – the first in Miami.
"I’ve always been pretty realistic about expectations even when I was a first-round pick, I never assumed something like this was going to happen. It has been a fun ride. I wouldn’t trade the ups-and-downs for anything. The tough times made me better as a person, as a player. Sometimes that is what it takes."
Miller was a sub-par starter and bounced around with the Tigers, Marlins and Red Sox.
Out of the pen, however, Miller is able to use his devastating slider more effectively and he has become viewed as one of the most dominant set-up men – although he has served as manager Terry Francona’s closer this year for a time – in the game.
Coming back to Miami is nice, Miller said, but his home stadium here was in Miami Gardens.
But, there are a few people around the organization he got to see and say hello to.
"It’s always cool to come back," Miller said. "It’s always nice to see some familiar faces."
-Miller said he and other members of the Cleveland All-Star contingent reached out to Francona on Tuesday. Francona missed Tuesday’s game after having a heart procedure done in Cleveland.
The Indians’ manager – who turned things over to his bench coach Brad Mills – is expected to rejoin the team after the break.
Former Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. was part of the AL coaching crew. He was the MVP of the 1997 All-Star Game at Jacobs Field and was part of the Indians team which lost to the Marlins in that year’s World Series.
-Speaking of the 1997 Marlins, manager Jim Leyland didn’t want to disparage the Marlins’ old home field in his praise of how Marlins Park looks for this All-Star celebration.
"We won a lot of games in that football stadium but this is nice," Leyland said as he walked through battling practice. "They have done a great job here, everything is running smooth and it looks great. I’m very impressed. This is good for baseball and good for Miami."
Mike Lowell, a part of Florida’s 2003 World Series championship team, said he was impressed with Monday night’s festivities.
"This has been great and the Derby lived up to all the hype," said Lowell, a Coral Gables and FIU grad currently working for MLB Network. "I think the hometown crowd would have liked to see Giancarlo Stanton win, but Justin Bour gave them a show as well.
"The fans were entertained and Miami showed up. It was outstanding."