The Milwaukee Brewer are in need of starting pitching. Will we see a reunion with Wade Miley, who helped lead the Brewers to the postseason in 2018?
Wade Miley signed with the Brewers as a minor league free agent before the 2018 season. He was not believed to be a major contributor to the team, but he was able to make the team out of spring training. He was absent from the rotation for most of the first three months of the 2018 season due to a groin and oblique injury.
Miley produced back to back seasons in 2016 and 2017 with an ERA above 5.00, but in 2018 his ERA dropped to a career best 2.57 over 16 starts. Miley gave the Brewers a much needed boost as they made the postseason. He was at his best for the Brewers in the postseason, where he pitched 14 2/3 innings while only allowing two earned runs in four postseason starts.
Unfortunately for Miley, teams were not interested in his services and he had to settle for a one year, $4.5 million contract for the Astros. Miley carried his dominance in 2018 to the 2019 season. Miley pitched to a 3.28 ERA in the first half of the 2019 season. His dominance ended in September, where he pitched to the tune of an ERA of 16.68 in September and an ERA of 5.07 in the second half. Even though he had five really good months and just one awful month, he was left off of the Astros’ ALCS and World Series rosters.
Miley has over-performed in both 2018 and 2019. His FIP was over 1.00 run higher in 2018 and over .50 runs higher in 2019. This is the reason why teams were hesitant to take a chance on him after his dominant run with the Brewers and why he settled for a one year deal with the Astros. His September may have been a regression back to his career mean. Miley has never been a big strikeout pitcher. He’s only fanned more than 150 batters in one season. He only has a career strikeout to walk ratio of 2.28. These are all red flags that scared teams away last off season and may scare teams in the upcoming off season.
Miley had an awful September, which will surely hinder his ability to sign a large contract. He is projected to sign a two-year deal worth $16 million deal with the Angels by MLBTradeRumors. Miley has pitched in the postseason in both 2018 and 2019 and will likely want to sign with a team that is in contention in 2020.
The Brewers have made the postseason in both 2018 and 2019, whereas the Angels have not made the postseason since 2014. This should make the Brewers a more attractive destination for Miley. He has also pitched in Milwaukee before, so he may want to return to a familiar setting where he had the best season in his big league career.
Do the Brewers want Miley?
A common theme under GM David Stearns is that he is open to bringing anyone to the Brewers for the right price; Miley is no exception to that rule. Miley exceeded expectations in 2018 and the Brewers could use a pitcher like him to eat innings. However, the Brewers might be hesitant to sign him due to the fact he has posted in a career ERA of 5.40 at Miller Park.
Even with his high career ERA at Miller Park, Miley and the Brewers are a match on paper. He would add a much needed innings eater to the rotation and would also bring postseason experience to the Brewers. Miley has pitched exceptionally well at Busch Stadium, where he has posted a 2.70 ERA in four starts. The Brewers can easily afford the predicted $16 million contract, especially if he performs like he did in 2018 and the first five months of 2019.
The Brewers originally brought Miley in on a minor league contract and he performed exceptionally well as the Brewers fell one game shy of making it to the World Series. Bringing him back may not be the big move the Brewers’ fans want, but it can bring stability to a rotation that struggled in 2019. His performance in 2018 and 2019 shows that under the radar moves have the potential to pay off in a big way and can help propel a team to the postseason.