The Brewers have signed left-handed starter Wade Miley to a minor-league deal with an invitation to major-league spring training, per USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale.
While Miley’s contract isn’t fully guaranteed, it will pay him a $2.5 million salary if he makes the Brewers’ major-league roster. The 31-year-old could earn as much as $3.2 million in incentives if he throws 190 innings, makes 28 starts, or makes 55 relief appearances, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Miley’s 5.61 ERA and 1.73 WHIP over 32 starts for the Orioles in 2017 were objectively poor, though it’s worth noting that he had a 50.3% ground-ball rate that tied for 14th among big-league starters with at least 150 innings pitched. With that said, his 1.43 homers allowed per nine innings were the 13th-most given up among starters in that same group, so his high ground-ball rate may very well just be a sign that he allows a ton of contact rather than that he’s keeping hitters from elevating the ball. Miley hasn’t been consistently effective for several years now — he has a 5.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP since the Diamondbacks traded him following the 2014 season — but he’s a former All-Star who has thrown at least 150 innings per season for six straight years, so the fact that Milwaukee was able to bring him in as a non-roster player is decently impressive.
Miley obviously doesn’t help in solving Milwaukee’s greatest need — a talented front-of-the-rotation starter or two — but he’ll join a group that already includes Brent Suter, Yovani Gallardo, and Brandon Woodruff in battling for a couple of spots at the back of the rotation. Though Miley hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen since 2012, he could also be a candidate to fill a long-relief role. If he ultimately wins a spot in the Brewers’ Opening Day rotation, they’ll have little need to stick with him if he struggles, as Jimmy Nelson is expected to return after completing his recovery from shoulder surgery in June.