Floundering right-hander Shelby Miller has pitched himself out of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ big league rotation; at least for the time being. The club announced on Thursday that their prized offseason acquisition has been optioned to Triple-A Reno. Left-hander Edwin Escobar is expected to take Miller’s place on the active roster.
Chip Hale says recalling LHP Edwin Escobar is planned to be the corresponding roster move tomorrow.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 15, 2016
The 25-year-old Miller has been appallingly lackluster since coming out west via a much-maligned swap with the Braves that sent outfielder Ender Inciarte, right-hander Aaron Blair, and 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson to Atlanta. Seven months down the road, the deal remains a calamity for Arizona, as while Inciarte and Blair have struggled thus far in 2016, Swanson has progressively declared himself one of the top prospects in the game; a potential franchise player.
Acquired by the Braves in exchange for Jason Heyward prior to last season, Miller had a breakthrough 2015 campaign that made him one of the most sought after arms on the trade market over the offseason. In his first year with Arizona, Miller has posted a 7.14 ERA (61 ERA+), 5.69 FIP, and 1.47 K/BB in 69.1 innings over 14 starts (using some simple arithmetic, that’s slightly less than five innings per start - not good). As Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes, Miller’s ERA is nearly a run and a half higher than any other pitcher with at least 14 starts this year.
Shelby Miller says he understands why he was sent down and was surprised it didn't happen sooner.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) July 14, 2016
Miller’s shockingly poor performance has epitomized the dismal results of the Diamondbacks’ grand plan to contend this season after adding Miller and Zack Greinke over the winter to what appeared to be a brilliant core that included Paul Goldschmidt and the since-injured A.J. Pollock. The D-backs currently sit in the NL West’s cellar with a 38-52 record. Miller is under club control through the 2018 season, and there is certainly hope that he can right the ship. However, that will first involve pitching himself out of Reno.