Veteran Brewers starter falls victim to elbow surgery epidemic

Wade Miley will need a UCL repair in his left throwing arm
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Brewers received the worst possible news on one of their trusted veteran starters, Wade Miley, who was recently placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation.

Further testing revealed that Miley's UCL is torn which will require Tommy John surgery to repair, ending Miley's 2024 season.

The 37 year old Miley signed back with Milwaukee on a one year deal with a mutual option for 2025 this offseason and made a total of two starts covering just seven innings with a 6.43 ERA.

Where does the Brewers rotation go from here?

The Brewers starting rotation has been a bit of a mess through the first month of the year with injuries. Jakob Junis made just one start before going on the IL, DL Hall had four sub-par starts before he went on the IL, and now Miley made just two starts and is done for the year.

Of the group of starters that began the season just a month ago, three healthy ones remain: Freddy Peralta, Colin Rea, and Joe Ross. Currently, the rotation is being backfilled by Bryse Wilson and Tobias Myers, but the Brewers will need more reinforcements.

Some reinforcements may be on the way in the form of Robert Gasser. He just made his first start in Triple-A coming back from bone spurs in his elbow. Junis and Hall may take a little while to come back.

An external addition should not be ruled out at this point. The options are slim in the early part of the season. Veterans looking to stave off retirement like Zack Greinke and Rich Ill are out there, but they're both over 40 years old and may not present an improvement. Signing a player off a minor league deal with another team like Julio Teheran last year may be another route to take.

The Brewers have plenty of opportunities in this rotation for young arms to step forward and earn a spot, especially in the wake of Miley's season ending injury. Aaron Ashby, Janson Junk, Robert Gasser, Evan McKendry, and Chad Patrick are all options down in the minors who could earn opportunities as well.

There have been a rash of elbow injuries across MLB early this season, with victims including Spencer Strider, Gerrit Cole, Tejay Antone, Shohei Ohtani, Robert Stephenson, Shane Bieber, and now Wade Miley, among others.

It's a brutal blow for Miley, who was already nearing the end of his career, and now he's out until at least mid-to-late-2025. We may have seen Wade Miley's last pitch in a Major League game. Hopefully for his sake he can make his return eventually, but it's a long road ahead.