On Thursday, the Astros signed veteran left-hander Wade Miley to a one year, $4.5M contract that could reach $5M should Miley reach incentive goals. Miley’s incentives include $100K for reaching five different benchmarks of games started, via Brian McTaggart.
The move bridges the gap between presumed number three starter Collin McHugh and the probable number five starter, Josh James. This move could result in Framber Valdez moving to the pen as the lefty replacement for Tony Sipp. It also means that four-fifths of the rotation will be free agents after this season.
In 2018, Miley started 16 games and posted a 2.57 ERA, a 3.59 FIP, and a GB% of 52.8 over 80.2 innings pitched. Miley also excelled in the playoffs, posting a 1.23 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in 14.2 innings for the Brewers. (All stats from FanGraphs.)
What could Brett Strom do for Miley?
As such, Miley generated some buzz coming into the offseason. That buzz only intensified when Ken Rosenthal Tweeted this glowing report from a scout that had watched a Miley workout:
While generally seen as a good move by the Astros, it most likely means that Dallas Keuchel will be wearing a different uniform in 2019. Considering Miley has the potential to post Keuchel-like numbers, the Astros may have gotten quite a bargain compared to $15-20M AAV that Keuchel has been predicted to get.
Miley’s signing could also provide added flexibility for the Astros’ pitching staff down the stretch and into the playoffs, especially if Forrest Whitley finds success in the bigs and Framber Valdez and Josh James continue to build off of their impressive 2018 debuts.
The signing leaves the Astros approximately $20-25M under the competitive balance tax threshold, leaving Luhnow and Crane some wiggle room should the right deal be available.