Posted on December 17, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Cincinnati Reds appear willing and ready to field a competitive team in 2020. The plan seems to be turning things around with strong pitching. The Reds added to their pitching staff late Monday by agreeing to terms with lefty Wade Miley. The two sides agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal that also includes a $10 million club option for the 2022 season.
The 33-year-old Miley should be grateful to have a multi-year deal. He’s been with six different teams over the last six years. Two years, his stock had fallen so much that he had to accept a minor league contract from the Brewers. However, after starting the season in the minors and missing time with an oblique injury, Miley became an invaluable part of Milwaukee’s rotation during the second half of the season, going 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA over 15 starts.
Last year, Miley landed in Houston, making 33 starts for the Astros and going 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA. However, after being one of the most underrated starters in baseball for most of the season, things fell apart for Miley in September. He posted a 16.68 ERA over his five September starts, pitching a total of 11.1 innings in those five starts. Miley was then left off Houston’s postseason roster, with the Astros showing no intention of trying to re-sign him for 2020.
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Alas, the Reds saw enough out of Miley the last two seasons to believe that last September was just a blip on the radar. In Cincinnati, Miley will be reunited with pitching coach Derek Johnson, who helped the lefty turn things around in Milwaukee in 2018. Having that connection should make the Reds feel confident that Miley will be at his best. If nothing else, the Reds should at least be able to trust Miley to be a dependable back-end starter who can take the ball every five days. Other than 2018 when he was sidelined by the oblique issue, Miley has made at least 29 starts in seven of the last eight years.
Of course, Miley will be joining a rotation in which he doesn’t have to be anything more than a back-end starter. The Cincinnati rotation will be highlighted by blossoming ace Luis Castillo, a 15-game winner in 2019, and Sonny Gray, who posted a 2.87 ERA last year in a bounce-back campaign. The Reds also traded for Trevor Bauer last summer and are hopeful he’ll be able to bounce back after struggling in the 10 starts he made after being traded. The Reds also have Anthony DeSclafani, who has been a steady mid-rotation starter over the last several years when he’s been able to stay healthy.
With Miley joining that group, the Reds have the makings of what could be one of the better rotations in the National League. Cincinnati’s rotation was top-5 in the NL in ERA last season. If Miley can put a poor September behind him and Bauer can return to the form he had in Cleveland the past few years, the Reds will have a rock-slid rotation from top to bottom.
On the surface, signing Miley might not appear to move the needle too much. But he’s been a solid mid-rotation starter for much of the past two seasons. For the price the Reds paid to sign him, they got a great deal for a pitcher who doesn’t need to be an ace. Cincinnati can head into 2020 knowing that they have the kind of rotation that should give them a chance to win just about every day, putting them in a position to compete for a playoff spot next season.