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  • Brewers Sign LHP Wade Miley to One-Year, Incentive-Laden Contract


    Brock Beauchamp

    Former Brewer Wade Miley has agreed to a one-year deal to return to Milwaukee and pitch for the Brewers, adding to an already-crowded Brewers rotation in 2023.

    Image courtesy of © Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

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    The Milwaukee Brewers made their first major league free agent signing of the offseason by agreeing to an incentive-laden deal with veteran pitcher Wade Miley. The deal is a one-year contract for $4.5 million with incentives that can max out the Brewers’ commitment to $6 million.

    The deal includes a $10 million mutual option for the 2024 season with a $1 million buyout. Mutual options are very rarely picked up so consider it a $1 million deal for Miley to not play for the Brewers in 2024.

    The incentives include $150,000 for reaching 75 innings pitched, $350,000 for 100 innings pitched, and $500,000 if Miley reaches 125 and 150 innings pitched.

    Miley looks to fill the back of the Brewers’ rotation and could portend pitching trades in the next month to alleviate the crowded nature of the Brewer rotation.

    The 36-year-old Miley was last effective in 2021 while pitching for the Cincinnati Reds, where he posted a 139 ERA+ over 163 innings pitched. Last year with the Cubs, Miley suffered a shoulder injury and multiple setbacks that restricted him to only 37 innings pitched during the season.

    Since a disastrous season with Baltimore in 2017, Miley has been an effective starting pitcher, pitching 462 innings with a 3.50 ERA across four ball clubs, including a very nice 2018 partial season in Milwaukee.

    Miley, a veteran of 12 major league seasons, was never a fireballer as a big leaguer, maxing out with a fastball velocity of just over 91mph. But as age and injury have worn him down through his 30s, his fastball average now begins with an “8,” and in limited 2022 time, his fastball was in the first percentile on Baseball Savant. That wasn’t due to a recent injury, though, as his fastball velocity was in the second percentile the previous season.

    As previously mentioned, Miley won't blow anyone away, but as long as he's healthy, his movement and stuff allow him to get major-league hitters out at a nice clip. He's the poster boy for the term "crafty lefty veteran".

    Year
    Pitch Type
    #
    # RHB
    # LHB
    %
    MPH
    PA
    AB
    H
    1B
    2B
    3B
    HR
    SO
    BBE
    BA
    XBA
    SLG
    XSLG
    WOBA
    XWOBA
    EV
    LA
    Spin
    Ext.
    Whiff%
    PutAway%
    2022 Cutter 238 185 53 42.4 85.1 65 56 14 10 1 1 2 7 50 .250 .289 .411 .469 .329 .370 88.7 11 2284 6.1 14.6 18.9
    2022 Changeup 177 172 5 31.6 81.4 53 51 13 9 3 0 1 11 40 .255 .245 .373 .347 .287 .275 83.3 -2 1835 6.1 37.4 20.4
    2022 4-Seam Fastball 79 60 19 14.1 89.1 20 16 2 1 1 0 0 3 13 .125 .212 .188 .308 .245 .318 88.7 32 2263 6.1 19.4 10.0
    2022 Slider 37 2 35 6.6 78.7 14 14 1 1 0 0 0 7 7 .071 .108 .071 .190 .063 .127 88.7 30 2344 6.1 45.0 41.2
    2022 Sinker 15 2 13 2.7 88.3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .070 .000 .071 .240 .282 66.9 10 2080 6.2 0.0 0.0
    2022 Curveball 15 14 1 2.7 73.5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .110 .000 .153 .000 .100 57.8 -5 2438 6.1 0.0 0.0
    2021 Cutter 1,207 948 259 46.6 85.4 293 266 75 43 20 1 11 38 236 .282 .269 .489 .437 .348 .328 83.5 6 2276 6.1 18.5 19.1
    2021 Changeup 707 677 30 27.3 81.9 203 185 47 35 10 0 2 36 151 .254 .245 .341 .341 .288 .290 83.0 -1 1807 6.1 33.8 20.9
    2021 4-Seam Fastball 422 359 63 16.3 89.9 150 138 34 27 4 1 2 39 99 .246 .235 .333 .391 .284 .300 88.0 18 2239 6.1 17.6 17.1
    2021 Slider 134 17 117 5.2 79.2 26 24 5 3 0 0 2 7 17 .208 .216 .458 .428 .309 .302 83.1 17 2310 6.1 35.9 13.7
    2021 Curveball 90 74 16 3.5 74.7 9 7 3 3 0 0 0 3 4 .429 .278 .429 .320 .447 .358 87.0 -4 2391 6.0 28.6 14.3
    2021 Sinker 31 10 21 1.2 88.7 8 7 2 1 1 0 0 2 5 .286 .281 .429 .583 .355 .407 95.2 4 2025 6.2 23.1 22.2

    Miley’s acquisition is somewhat curious given the current Brewer rotation, which already features Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer, Aaron Ashby, and Adrian Houser as options. Miley is an excellent insurance policy at the back of a stacked rotation. Still, it’s hard to envision the veteran agreeing to terms with Milwaukee if some amount of playing time wasn’t guaranteed, particularly given the incentives baked into the contract.

    Does this imply the Brewers are working to trade one of their current starting pitchers? Given their lack of activity on the free agent market and the lack of remaining decent options available, trading from a position of excess makes sense to help shore up other parts of the roster that could use some help. Obviously, either Burnes or Woodruff would bring back an excellent return but would also cripple the Brewers' chance to compete in 2023. Peralta and Ashby have long extensions in place, making them unlikely trade candidates. That leaves Lauer as the logical remaining candidate, which wouldn't be surprising given his outspoken nature in the clubhouse, which may have ruffled feathers within the organization.

    What is your take on this, Brewer Fanatics? Is Miley rotation insurance, or is this the first of a series of moves with the Brewers' pitching staff?

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    5 minutes ago, clancyphile said:

    Still a pretty solid pitcher.

    Lauer on the move is possible... or perhaps they shift Ashby to the pen for 2023, to solidify that.

    There are several routes the Brewers could take here but I'd be pretty disappointed if they punt Ashby to the bullpen so quickly. Personally, I'd be shopping Lauer pretty hard right now and see if there are any decent offers on the table.

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    1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    There are several routes the Brewers could take here but I'd be pretty disappointed if they punt Ashby to the bullpen so quickly. Personally, I'd be shopping Lauer pretty hard right now and see if there are any decent offers on the table.

    If Arnold is blown away by an offer for Lauer, sure, make the deal.

    But at this point, to have someone who'd be a #2 as the #4/#5 starter for the Crew (depending on how you see Houser/Ashby/Miley) is not a bad thing, assuming Alexander/Small are in AAA, with Junk either there or in Milwaukee's pen. Ashby also has options and only is getting $1 million this year. A move to the pen for this year is not a bad thing. 

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    Houser, Ashby and Peralta could all do some swing work in order to limit innings. When guys inevitably get hurt they can soak up more innings. That multi inning bullpen weapon is something the team has missed since...Drew Pomeranz?

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    4 hours ago, DoubleSwitch said:

     That multi inning bullpen weapon is something the team has missed since...Drew Pomeranz?

    Suter had a little multi-inning work, but maybe wasn't a "weapon" in the sense that Pomeranz was.

    My guess is this has to portend a trade, and I imagine it would involve Lauer.

     

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    7 hours ago, ougiqbxy said:

    Opens the season in Brent Suter's role then in rotation if an injury occurs?

    Since 2013, every appearance he's made in the bigs has been as a starter, save for two mop-ups in 2020 & one appearance last season. At age 36 I don't think you sign him for a role he & his arm aren't familiar with.

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    10 hours ago, clancyphile said:

    If Arnold is blown away by an offer for Lauer, sure, make the deal.

    But at this point, to have someone who'd be a #2 as the #4/#5 starter for the Crew (depending on how you see Houser/Ashby/Miley) is not a bad thing, assuming Alexander/Small are in AAA, with Junk either there or in Milwaukee's pen. Ashby also has options and only is getting $1 million this year. A move to the pen for this year is not a bad thing. 

    Oh, I wouldn't give Lauer away, merely shop him and see if the team can improve overall with a trade. Planning on a six man rotation isn't the worst thing in the world if no one is interested in him.

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    The biggest problem we had last season was too few quality starters. It makes some amount of sense to start with seven capable starters and let the chips fall where they may. If everyone is healthy to start the season then Hauser and/or Ashby goes to the pen where they've had success before and the relief corps depth improves.

    An outside the box thought is they move Peralta to the pen to shore up the back end. It reduces the workload after an injury plagued season and addresses a need.

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