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?