Leading up to baseball’s winter meetings, we will take a daily look at some of the game’s top free agents and how they could potentially impact the Phillies.
Today, we check in on left-handed starter Wade Miley.
It’s not often that a pitcher gets better after the age of 30, but Miley, who has pitched for six teams in nine big-league seasons, has strung together two very nice seasons since crossing that plateau. He is 19-8 with a 3.52 ERA in 49 starts the last two seasons.
He's not a top-tier free agent but can definitely help a team at the back end of a rotation. He certainly did so in 2019 when he went 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA for the American League champion Houston Astros.
Why he fits
The Phillies need starting pitching badly. Adding a top-tier starter — several have been profiled in this series — is imperative given the club’s desire to win now. But this team needs more than one starter and adding a stabilizing innings-eater like Miley to the back end of the rotation would make a lot of sense.
Miley, 33, is an excellent competitor and strike thrower. He is skilled at keeping the ball on the ground and limiting hard contact, two qualities that would play well in Citizens Bank Park. He induced ground balls 49.7 percent of the time last season, tying him with Aaron Nola for 10th among big-league starters. His 36.1 percent hard contact rate ranked 22nd in the majors last season, between two pretty good pitchers named Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke.
Why he doesn’t fit
After going 13-4 with a 3.13 ERA in his first 27 starts for the Astros in 2019, Miley was hit hard (.417 opponents batting average) in his final six starts of the season and that could give the Phillies some pause.
Phillies officials like pitchers who miss bats. Miley is not a big strikeout guy.
The price tag
Miley is a free agent for the third year in a row. After taking a minor-league deal before the 2018 season and lingering on the market until February before signing a one-year, $4.5 million with Houston last year, he should be able to command a two-year deal of $16 million or more.
“He’s got value in that No. 5 spot. He uses his cutter a lot and he likes to crowd right-handed hitters. He has a real good feel for pitching and works at an extremely quick tempo and pace so he’s perfect for getaway days.”
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