The Houston Astros have been one the the game of baseball’s greater success stories over the last couple of years with a World Series win followed by a deep playoff run in back to back years. With a roster that sports Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and a host of other top flight talent, it isn’t much of a surprise that Houston has been one of the better teams in the league over the last couple of years.
However, the foundation of the club’s success has cracked at least a bit this offseason. Catcher Brian McCann returned to Atlanta for his swan song, Charlie Morton left in free agency for a two-year deal with the Rays, and Dallas Keuchel looks unlikely to return as he searches for his own deal in free agency. Combine those departures with the loss of Lance McCullers Jr. due to Tommy John surgery and the Astros all of a sudden had a vulnerable pitching staff...at least at the back end of the rotation.
Well, the Astros did not stand pat and take their chances as they signed themselves a veteran stopgap.
Wade Miley has a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Houston Astros that includes $500,000 in incentives, league sources confirmed to ESPN. The Astros needed pitching, and they bring in one of the biggest surprises of last season in Miley. @Ken_Rosenthal and @BNightengale on it.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 31, 2019
The Astros’ top prospect Forrest Whitley will very likely factor into the team’s plans in 2019, but with so much uncertainty in the rotation outside of Verlander and Cole, signing Wade Miley to a cheap one year deal is a no brainer. Miley was excellent for the Brewers in 2018 in 16 starts with a 2.57 ERA and 3.58 FIP. At 32 years of age and with a spotty at best track record in recent seasons (both in terms of health and performance), Miley was going to have a tough time truly cashing in. However, he now finds himself in an organization that has a history of successful reclamation projects (see: Morton, Charlie) and should be among the top contenders in the American League next season.
The biggest question for the Astros, even though the risk is mitigated greatly by the fact that his is a cheap one year deal, is whether or not Miley can stay productive. An All-Star back in 2012, Miley had a back injury that seemingly derailed his time with the Orioles and he had a stint on the 60 day DL with an oblique injury in 2018. While his time on the field in 2018 was quite good, the 2.57 ERA he posted last season was the best of his career by far and he had come off five straight seasons with an ERA north of 4.