Well, the Cincinnati Reds are clearly focused on one thing this offseason – shedding payroll. At least, unlike last season, the Chicago Cubs aren’t in the same boat. Rather, they’re benefitting from Cincinnati’s situation, picking up veteran left-hander Wade Miley via the waiver wire.
It’s a bit of a surprising move, but essentially it now gives Chicago the ability to pick up his $10 million option for 2022. In theory, they could look to trade him but given the Cubs’ dire need for starting pitching, we should probably look at this for what it likely amounts to: a one-year, $10 million deal for a guy who’s really reinvented himself in recent years.
The soon-to-be 35-year-old made 28 starts for Cincinnati this season, working to a 3.37 ERA and 3.97 FIP across 163 innings of work. That came on the heels of a pretty disastrous showing in the shortened, fan-less 2020 campaign but is far more in line with what we’ve seen from Miley since 2018.
Even with his struggles during the COVID-shortened season factored in, the left-hander has quietly been a solid mid-rotation presence for the last few years:
- 31-18, 3.53 ERA, 130 ERA+, 425 1/3 IP
Now, given this is the Cubs’ first move of the offseason, it’s far too soon to figure out where Miley slots in next year. There are a lot of ways this can go, but for now it seems safe to assume he’ll have a spot in the rotation.
If Chicago gets off to a slow start in the first half and Jed Hoyer looks to flip valuable veterans in July, Miley – who has some postseason experience in his career – could be a perfect trade candidate. On the other hand, if the Cubs are in the thick of things, the southpaw brings a calming veteran presence to the staff which is something that was sorely missed down the stretch this year.
Chicago Cubs: Wade Miley might be the first starter added – but won’t be the last
From June to August this season, Miley recorded three straight months with a sub-3.00 ERA for the Reds. Against the Cubs, in particular, he made five starts, going 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 2021. Needless to say, having him in the home dugout at Wrigley Field will be nice after that.
Like I said. It’s early. Very early. A lot of the offseason moves will come after a new CBA is finalized and nobody really knows when that might be, so we might end up having to be patient when it comes to the offseason market materializing this winter. Assuming a work stoppage, once that’s ended – it’ll be fast and furious wheeling and dealing, both on the trade market and in free agency.
So good on Hoyer and the Cubs on jumping on Miley here. There are multiple ways he could end up bringing valuable to the team next year and gives us a good idea what types of guys Chicago could end up targeting.