So you’re wondering why I’d be advocating the acquisition of a pitcher who was one of the worst starters in the major leagues in 2016 -- that is, when he wasn’t spending two months in Triple-A because he was so bad.
There’s no sugarcoating it. Shelby Miller was bad this past season, as well as suffering one of the oddest injuries in recent years when he scraped his fingers on the mound on a follow-through in an early-April start in San Diego.
20 starts, 101 innings, 1.673 WHIP, 6.15 ERA, 4.87 FIP, -0.7 bWAR = bad.
But! Just one year earlier, Miller was a very good rotation piece for the Braves, so much so that the D-backs gave up one of the best prospects in the game for him (Dansby Swanson). Forget the 6-17 W/L record for an awful team, which was largely a function of him finishing dead last among 124 qualified starters in 2015 in run support (2.6 per start). His other numbers in 2015: 3.02 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 3.45 FIP, 3.6 bWAR, an All-Star nod, all say that if healthy, Miller could be one of the better starters in the league.
Miller was the Cardinals’ first-round pick (19th overall, chosen ahead of Randal Grichuk and Mike Trout) in 2009. He’s about a year younger than Kyle Hendricks; he just turned 26 in October.
I’m not sure what the Cubs would have to give the D-backs to get Miller, but he’d seem like a perfect candidate for Bosmosis. He’s first-year arb eligible for 2017 and made $4.35 million in 2016, so perhaps Arizona, wanting to save some payroll money, would be willing to part with him.
What would you be willing to send Arizona’s way for Shelby Miller?