Wait, what? The Astros signed Wade Miley?


Wade Miley?

Uh, OK. Welcome to Houston Wade “I Type Your Last Name and A Crazy Pop Singer’s Name Autofills” Miley.

How do I feel about this? Well, a co-worker who is a Brewers fan was telling me the beer chuggers were in the mix for Dallas Keuchel, so it seems – if that’s true – we could be swapping left-handed starters via free agency.

That said, Houston gets Miley Cyrus, um, Wade Miley for $4.5 million and just one year while we allow B.J. Bukauskas, Forrest Whitley and Corbin Martin (and, probably either Framber Valdez or Cionel Perez) more time to marinate in the minors.

But this isn’t 2013, and the Astros must be built to win now, not win next year.

Here’s what signing Miley does for Houston.

The Rotation. Jeff Luhnow just filled out the rotation. Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Collin McHugh, Miley and Josh James. Anyone completely upset over this? Miley’s a former All-Star and a ROY runner up. Last year, after missing half the season due to injury, he recorded a 1.5 WAR (Baseball Reference), a 2.57 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and a 5-2 record in 16 starts (16 games) and 80.2 IP.

By comparison, Dallas Keuchel, in 204.2 IP (34 games, 34 starts) went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and a 2.6 WAR.

Yes, I trust Dallas Keuchel more than Wade Miley despite these numbers, but …

The Cutter. According to a Sept. 8 article by Nick Pollack for Fangraphs, Miley turned away from his fastballs and started to embrace a new and improved cutter that has changed who he is as a pitcher. Is this something Brent Strom can work with? I’m guessing yes.

The Postseason. Over four starts (four games) during Milwaukee’s playoff run last year, Miley pitched 14.2 innings and gave up just two earned runs. Yeah, I’ll take that.

The Bullpen. So, with Miley in the rotation, that means we’ll keep Brad Peacock and either Valdez or Perez in the bullpen until an injury throws the plan into disarray. What’s the bullpen look like with Miley in the rotation? How about this: Robert Osuna, Hector Rondon, Ryan Pressley and Will Harris at the back of the bullpen mixing and matching the seventh eighth and ninth innings. Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock as the innings eaters. Then, either Perez or Valdez as the lefty in the bullpen. Yes, I know everyone wants Valdez stretched out as a starter, but, really, if we’re going to commit Collin McHugh to the bullpen in 2018, I think we can sidetrack Valdez as a reliever for 2019.

The Future. I think Miley took a one-year deal to gamble that a good season will mean a big payday next winter. OK, whatever. He’s cheap and if he can stay mostly healthy, I’ll be happy.

Essentially, he bridges the rotation for a year until 2020, when Verlander, McHugh and Cole are all free agents. Houston needs to re-sign at least one of those guys, preferably Cole or Verlander, on a multi-year deal.

Say it’s Cole. Then the Astros have Cole, McCullers, James, Whitley (with a little 2019 experience) and an empty spot in the rotation for 2020.

So, did the Astros sign the right guy?

  • Does the cheap price tag mean Luhnow needs to keep shopping (Realmuto, a different DH than Tyler White)?
  • Is Miley a potential dud, or do you trust Strom enough to make him successful?
  • Is Miley the bridge to 2020 or just the bridge to Whitley in July?
  • Did anyone – ANYONE – see this coming?

49 comments on “Wait, what? The Astros signed Wade Miley?

  1. Brian T – thanks for whipping this post out!
    Answers:
    – I think Luhnow will keep shopping but he does not have to make a move and he may well decide to wait until he sees who gets hurt or who does not perform during the year to make that move
    – If Miley returns to his 2016 and 2017 performances (+5 ERAs) he definitely could be a dud – but Strom has made lemonade out of Lemon Pledge before
    – Miley could be a bridge to Whitley and then head out on a deal or head to the bullpen
    – I swear – that this morning I was looking at a top 50 list of Free agents and looking at those available and Miley hit me as a Luhnow type move

    Part of me thinks that Framber’s control problems and James’ huge arm might work better if Valdez is in the rotation and James in the bullpen – but I will love to see who steps up and grabs that bad boy 5th spot in the rotation.

    Well Keuchel is not coming here now and we are not chunking out $20 million for a season for him either.

    Like

    • 1. You said “Whipping … Post.” As an old Allman Brothers Band fan, I appreciate it.

      2. J.B. Bukauskas, not B.J. Ugh, I do that every time.

      3. No $20 million a year for Keuchel is OK by me. But we need to make Cole a priority long term. I’d give him six years, $100 million or a four-year deal where we get a team year in year five and player year in year six. Front load it so we can afford to start paying guys more in three or four years.

      But we need one of next year’s three free agents to return: Verlander, Cole or McHugh. I think McHugh is the cheap, non-ace option. I think Verlander wants to go back to Detroit. A young Tigers team will see its youth movement coming up in 2019 and 2020, so he might want to be the elder statesman there. That leaves Cole.

      That said, I’m a huge Collin McHugh fan, so maybe we find a way to sign both …?

      4. I think the Astros’ system is loaded with good pitching that we don’t hear about because all that oxygen is sucked up by Whitley.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nope I did NOT see this coming. I wanted Robbie Ray but the Diamondbacks wanted our entire farm for him. I think he’s probably doing a happy dance in his kitchen just thinking how cool it’s gonna be in the same rotation as Verlander and Cole! Plus…..he’s from Hammond La. He and Will Harris will have something in common. He will flourish having Brent “the pitching whisperer” Strom to help him, as well as Verlander and Garrett Cole around! I can’t wait until things get going in Florida! I’m really pulling for Josh James this season, I love a guy who can hit 100 mph on a regular basis. Since he’s already signed…Welcome Wade Miley⚾!!

    Like

  3. Some thoughts:
    *The Astros look for quality players that fit their needs and at a fair price. They got one here in Miley.
    *Forrest Whitley is a great prospect. He isn’t over-hyped, but he is under-worked at this time. He’ll get seasoning this year. He needs to work on holding runners, covering bases and backing up bases, deciding on a windup, making sure that all of his pitches come out of the same slot, defending his position and learning complicated multiple signs. He knows how to pitch. He needs to learn to be a pitcher.
    *It’s nice to see the Astros make a move. It’s been a while.

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  4. The best part to me is one-year. He looks like a 5 innings pitcher which gets close to the bullpen rotation each start. He didn’t eat the innings that DK did, but he saves a lot of money to extend someone??? So I like the deal.

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    • To answer the questions: 1. I say no shopping, except at catcher perhaps, and extend somebody. 2. Yes and Yes. 3. Let’s hope 2020, but even if not, he is a bridge to July. 4. I never see most of JL’s moves coming. Yet, not surprised either. 5. Not asked: I am totally surprised that Maldonado is unsigned. He must be asking the Moon.

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  5. Miley forgets how to throw strikes sometimes, but if we get anything close to the 2018 version of him, the signing is a coup. Plenty of ground balls. At 4.5 million, low risk, high reward. Wonder why the Brewers didn’t take him back for what is peanuts these days.

    The guy we really need to get extended is Cole, but if he repeats 2018 in 2019, someone will give him 30 x 5. Next years rotation might look much different.

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  6. Dan’s old man story about cold.
    Coldest I’ve ever been – winter of 1963 living in Chicago walking to school in -19 F (not wind chill)
    Yikes

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  7. Hmm Lefty that had solid second half of the year, solid Ground ball rate, if i read it right gave up only 3 Hrs last year in 16 starts. Me think a better version of DK, for a measly 4.5 million and 1 year. Whats is not to like? Also takes some pressure of the young arms for the year. Great Job Uncle Jeff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. We’re not asking him to come compete for the number one slot in the rotation. If he comes in and just does the things he’s good at he’ll be a fantastic back of the rotation piece. I’m excited by it.

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      • This is my exact sentiment. The Astros didn’t need a frontline starter as they already have 2. They just needed another starter to fill out the back of the rotation and Miley fits the bill perfectly.

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  8. You asked who saw it coming, Brian? This was several years ago.. where he was fighting control issues.

    https://www.crawfishboxes.com/2017/12/2/16722066/in-search-of-the-elusive-quality-lefthanded-reliever-fabio-stats-of

    And this more recent.

    From a scout who recently saw free-agent LHP Wade Miley throw a bullpen: “He hasn’t changed since the post season. Every pitch was down with plus command of FB, CH, CB and cutter. He’s in great shape and clearly on a mission.”

    Ken Rosenthal
    January 10, 2019

    Liked by 2 people

  9. If you watched Miley pitch in the playoffs, you could definitely see this move coming. MLBTR had projected 2/12 for Miley and a likely return to the Brewers.
    Miley might not have liked the “opener” role he saw in Milwaukee and saw a chance to be a regular rotation guy in Houston.
    I really like Miley as a #5 guy matched up against other team’s #5.
    What impressed me most about him in the playoffs was his ability to hit the high outside corner with his fastball to RH hitters and then put them away with that cutter lower on the outside corner.
    There are a lot of people, Fangraphs included, who don’t see him repeating his 2018 numbers. These are probably the same guys who didn’t see Morton being a different pitcher than he was in his younger days, either. I’m not sold on Miley being able to hold up for the entire season without some sort of injury, but I also believe that is the reason he is valuable, because he adds depth to the team to combat those sort of injuries, even as top prospects loom for use at the end of the season and beyond

    Liked by 3 people

  10. i like this signing. i like the young guys we have waiting in the wings, but a veteran to help solidify the rotation at the beginning of the year seems like a good thing. a lefty and a ground ball pitcher. fits right into our need for both. and at a reasonable salary. it could go bad, but right now looks pretty good to me. commented this on the previous post just before this post showed up. thought i would pull it over so its on the miley post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. this from MLB pipeline on the astros prospect that just missed the top 100 list.
    Astros: Freudis Nova, SS
    Signed for $1.2 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, Nova has a higher offensive ceiling than most shortstops and has drawn comparisons to Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria. He has the quickness to become a 20-20 player and remain at shortstop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a pretty old comp, rj. And still Nova is probably three years away.

      The guy who has shot up the list that I mentioned last year here is Alex De Goti. Doesn’t wow you with 20/20 comparisons, but has excelled through a weaker middle infield system that put a lot of eggs in Correa’s basket.

      2009 Astros Ed Wade selects with the Number 21 pick: Jiovanni Mier
      Angels select at Number 25: Mike Trout.

      Oh, the pain!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Since the Astros have 6 players in the Top 100 of the MLB pipeline, that tells us the order they will appear in our own Top 30, which will be coming out later this month. Nova’s inclusion as the one who missed out means that he will be #7. All of this means at least 3 Astros prospects probably have inched up past Cionel Perez in the Astros Top 30 from where they were last season.
      It doesn’t mean that Perez has not done well, just that other guys have shown up better, and that he is pretty close to not being a prospect, but a major league player.

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      • Op, I see Cionel is giving up a high number of line drives, and has just below average control as his two deficiencies. The scouts rave that his stuff will play up. The way I see it, you said many years ago Framber has what it takes …

        Framber deserved a chance at SP4, but the Miley signing allows him time to add a pitch, stay stretched out past 150 innings, and work on his control as a Starter at AAA, where he was jettisoned last season out of necessity.

        Reymin Guduan has one option year, and has shown elite propensity against lefties. When he came up on July ’17, “Twins have switch-hitters and a lot of left-handed hitters on the Mariners… His velocity has been very good. His slider’s gotten a lot better,” Hinch said. “We want to continue to mature him at the Major League level. With Harris going on the DL, Guduan was the best option both strategically and also for what we’d like moving forward.”

        My question is: don’t you think Guduan will have the experience edge against Perez to win the OD loogy? Or, would you slot Valdez into the bullpen mix right away? What would you do if Framber has checked off all the boxes in the Spring, and is clearly sharper than Miley?

        Also, question for all.
        What player(s) with options would you select to allow Kemp, and White to remain on the 25-man roster. My vote today is Devo (3), and if Correa 100%, Diaz (1). How would you configure the roster if Kemp and White play well in the Spring?

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      • Grayson, I think Miley has the edge going into ST for a starter slot, but can be beat out by somebody if they are terrific.
        Reymin Guduan is strictly a reliever, so he has to be really good as a reliever. He doesn’t have an alternative slot. Framber could be either a starter or a reliever, so the Astros have choices with him, as they do with James.
        The addition of Miley does one more thing. It gives them an extra pitcher to add to their list, in case they want to make a trade and need to include a young pitching prospect to make that trade.

        Like

  12. Tick, tock; tick, tock . . .

    Take. . . us out … to the BALL GAME!
    Is it time yet to stretch and do drills?
    Pull out that leather and unwrap those bats;
    cover those mops with brand new Astro hats,
    and we’ll lift up a cheer for the good guys –
    Altuve! Verlander! and Cole!
    Here’s to Alex, Michael, Yuli and George!
    Let the good times roll!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Here is a current list of pitchers who are scheduled(by their current contractual status) to be free agents next offseason. The Astros could have some very good choices to add to their rotation at that time.
    https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/free-agents/2020/starting-pitcher/
    The object of our affections as a group is the Astros. Having lots of choices to go after next offseason, combined with our own team’s players and prospects should make us excited moving forward.
    We would like to have Verlander or Cole extended, but our front office might look at the situation from a more informed perspective. They might look at the Astros with a couple of other pitchers in mind and offering a QO to Cole and Verlander and ending up with two very high draft picks and a free agent or two from this list.
    There are exciting times ahead for us and our team. Let’s see if our GM and his staff are going to add to our roster this year and then we get to spend the year trying to root our team to another championship.
    I noticed Luhnow giving Taubman credit for getting the Wade Miley deal done. that was interesting to me.

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  14. Not watching the game tonight…..I have to watch some paint dry. Devo beat the Astros, that’s good news! Lots of incentives in his contract. In 10 days the pitchers and catchers will introduce themselves to each other! I can ALMOST smell the grass and leather gloves! Becky⚾

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Astros settle with Devo for approx $1.5 million and a club option for between $2.6 and 2.9 million in 2020 depending on how many games he throws in 2019

    Like

  16. I spotted Jeff Bezos in Goodell’s luxury suite and nobody else in the room knew who he was.
    Adam Levine made Janet Jackson seem tame. But my middle age daughter was drooling, so there is that.
    I think I have watched my last Superbowl. I didn’t think the commercials were as good as they used to be, either.
    I remember when four yards and a cloud of dust was a running play. Now its considered a pass play.
    When did Wes Welker change his name to Julian Edelman?
    I don’t think Chilly Chilly is going to catch on like Dilly Dilly did.
    Tony Romo kept trying to predict the big plays, but there weren’t any. Bless his heart. And I thought Nance was going to fall asleep.
    Ricky Fowler winning in Phoenix was the true highlight of the day.
    The Daytona 500 is in two weeks and I will be happy with anyone winning who is not named Busch.

    Like

  17. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Trout, Realmuto, Marwin, Brewers, Robinson, Prospects | The baseball bats fanatic

  18. Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Trout, Realmuto, Marwin, Brewers, Robinson, Prospects – SportsHeadlines.News

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