Milwaukee Brewers: Shelby Miller A Worthy Reclamation Project

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 28: Shelby Miller #19 of the Texas Rangers is greeted by Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 after securing the win against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Texas Rangers won 11-4 against the Seattle Mariners. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - MAY 28: Shelby Miller #19 of the Texas Rangers is greeted by Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 after securing the win against the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on May 28, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. The Texas Rangers won 11-4 against the Seattle Mariners. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have decided to embark on a worthy reclamation project to begin the second half of the season.

The news was broken Thursday evening that the Milwaukee Brewers signed veteran righty Shelby Miller to a minor league contract. No one in the world saw this coming six years ago.

It’s been a remarkable fall from stardom for Shelby Miller. Now having bounced around a little bit, most recently being released by the Texas Rangers, Miller is now a Brewers farmhand.

Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the news.

Shelby Miller’s Career

Miller came up with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 for a few games and pitched well, then broke out in 2013, making 31 starts with a 3.06 ERA. He followed that up with a 3.74 ERA in 2014 and was then traded to Atlanta in the Jason Heyward deal.

He spent one season in Atlanta, making 33 starts, posting a 3.02 ERA, and losing 17 decisions. The Braves were bad back in 2015.

Then, Atlanta made the surprising decision to trade Miller in the 2015 offseason to Arizona, for a package including 2015 first overall pick, Dansby Swanson. Arizona thought they were getting an ace, and they went all in, trading their best young prospect they just selected in the draft.

Things did not go well in Arizona. He made 20 starts in 2016, posting a 6.15 ERA, dealing with a myriad of injuries. He then required Tommy John surgery in 2017 and only threw 38 innings for Arizona in 2017-18 combined before he was released, finishing with a 6.35 ERA in Arizona. It was a crushing blow to the Diamondbacks.

He caught on with the Rangers in 2019 and pitched to a miserable 8.59 ERA, first as a starter, then getting moved to the bullpen. Finally, Texas had enough and cut him loose not too long ago.

A Worthwhile Reclamation Project

Shelby Miller had the stuff to be dominant in the big leagues for three years in the big leagues. That kind of talent doesn’t just vanish into thin air. Miller also dominated the Brewers in his time against them, holding the Crew to a .228 batting average and striking out 46 in nine career starts.

Miller has been cut down by injuries a lot over the past few years. But if the Milwaukee Brewers can get him healthy, they can see what they truly have in Miller. Back to full strength, he could pitch like he did with St. Louis and Atlanta, which is a dominant starting pitcher. He’s still just 28 years old. There’s plenty of life left in that arm that’s still averaging 95 MPH on his fastball.

This is a great move by David Stearns. It’s pretty much no cost, and if it works out, and the Brewers can find a way to unlock his potential once again, they’ll have a cheap, but dominant arm at their disposal. His career ERA is only at 4.11, which isn’t that bad considering how far he seems to have fallen in the eyes of organizations. If he makes the big league club, he’s only due league minimum.

Sure, there’s injury risk with Miller, and he may never get back to what he once was, but it’s worth a shot to see if he can get there. If he doesn’t, Stearns can move on quickly. If he does, then Stearns will have pulled off another incredible move to improve this team.

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I’m glad Miller is getting a chance to work his way back with the Milwaukee Brewers. Plus, seeing the last name ‘Miller’ at Miller Park would be a fun time. Hopefully it’ll go better than the Brad Miller experience.

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