Free-agent left-hander Wade Miley in agreement with #Reds on two-year, $15M contract, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic. Deal will reunite him with his former pitching coach in Milwaukee, Derek Johnson.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2019
Wade Miley is 33 years old. Miley made 33 starts for the Houston Astros last year and threw 167.1 innings. Miley pitched 2.2 innings of relief for Houston in the ALDS and was not included on the Astros ALCS or World Series roster.
This signing isn’t a lot of money, although it’s probably the final starting pitcher the Reds will sign barring another trade, so there’s that opportunity cost. According to MLB.com reporter Mark Feinsand, Miley will earn $6 million in 2020 and $8 million in 2021, with a team option and $1 million buyout in 2022.
Miley checks the “mid-range starter” box in my What’s Next? post this morning. Miley was one of the three pitchers I had scribbled in my own notes, along with Marco Estrada and Tyson Ross for this category. It’s a little more money than I thought they’d have to spend on a starter, but not much.
Quick reaction: Miley had one of the worst strikeout rates for a major league starter. His walk rate is just average. His ERA (3.98) is misleading based on, among other things, a BABIP lower than his career average. A less team-dependent stat is Miley’s xFIP (4.52), which was right around league average. Tyler Mahle is better than Wade Miley. Mahle’s strikeout rate (23.2%) is higher, his walk rate (6.1%) is lower and their ground ball rates are similar. A pitcher coming from the Houston Astros is not a candidate for magical improvement from our high-tech coaching staff. The Astros are the gold standard for that. Ask Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole.
Here are three scenarios for how the Miley signing could play out:
- If the Reds have an injury to a starting pitcher, they could do worse than adding Miley to the mix.
- If the Reds end up bumping Tyler Mahle from the rotation in favor of Miley, it weakens the rotation.
- If the Reds use the Miley acquisition to green-light a trade of one of the current starting pitchers, it would weaken the rotation but improve the offense.
Wade Miley isn’t a bad pitcher. He’s just utterly average with virtually no upside. The Reds had five better-than-average starters last year.
More detailed analysis here on Wade Miley tomorrow.
[Featured image: https://twitter.com/Starting9/status/1156666942171820034/photo/4]