The Milwaukee Brewers have signed free agent righty Shelby Miller to a minor league contract for 2020.
The free agent market is now at the point where there are few impact big league signings left to make across the league and there are a large number of remaining players who have big league experience that will have to settle for minor league contracts with invites to spring training.
Shelby Miller is one of those players and he inked his second contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. Miller was first signed by the Crew last summer after he was released by the Texas Rangers. He did not make a big league appearance in 2019 for the Brewers, however.
The Brewers announced the signing on Twitter.
RHP Shelby Miller has been signed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Major League camp. pic.twitter.com/smHSi0uMDJ
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) January 27, 2020
The 29-year old Miller will get a chance in spring training to earn a spot on the Brewers and get back in the big leagues.
Getting Back On Track
It’s been an interesting career arc for Shelby Miller. He came up with the St. Louis Cardinals, dominated, and then was traded to the Atlanta Braves, dominated there for one year, and then was traded the next offseason to Arizona for a package including that year’s No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson.
And Arizona was where everything fell apart for Miller. All of a sudden, he stunk, and he’s been trying to resurrect his career ever since.
Last year in the Brewers farm system, Miller made eight starts across rookie ball and Triple-A, finishing with a 4.13 ERA in 32.2 IP. Five of those starts were in Triple-A San Antonio and his 4.79 ERA was hardly inspiring, but it’s also a very small sample size.
With more time and a larger sample size, the Brewers must feel they have a way to fix Shelby Miller and turn him back into the dominant starter he once was. There is no risk in this minor league contract. If he doesn’t earn a roster spot out of spring training, which he likely won’t, he can go to the minor leagues and work on the changes the Brewers will suggest to him.
Also, at the Brewers spring training complex in Arizona, they have a state-of-the-art “pitching lab” that we don’t have many public details about, but I’m sure it’s full of the latest technology to analyze pitchers and make them better. Miller is likely ticketed for a lot of time at that lab.
If they can get Miller back to his old self, this will be a huge get for the organization as Miller has ace-level stuff at his best. It’s a longshot but there’s very little cost. This is a great opportunity for both player and team.
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If he doesn’t work out, there’s no long term harm to the organization. They already have familiarity with him, so they won’t be starting at square one.