Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Wade-ing In
2006-01-23 14:23
by Derek Smart

Somebody was going to take a flyer on Wade Miller, and it turns out that somebody is the Cubs. According to the club's official site, he's signed for one year at $1M, with an opportunity to make another million in incentives.

Would I have preferred that this deal looked a little more like what Ryan Dempster got in 2004 (a little less expenditure on the front end with a team option for the following season)? Sure. But methinks that's nitpicking.

This is a good signing, and classic Jim Hendry - taking on the relatively inexpensive risk of an injured pitcher in exchange for the upside that his healthy self would represent. Miller likely won't be available until May, but if he's throwing well at all it gives the team a lot of flexibility and some insurance mid-season, should they have a need for such a thing. There hasn't been a lot to be positive about of late, but Hendry gets kudos on this move.

2006-01-23 15:05:34
1.   ccd
Derek, I agree. This is a good move by Hendry. It has been a pretty bleak offseason. Maybe a few more moves like this will have us looking upwards.
2006-01-23 15:51:37
2.   The Boar
Derek, I agree. Very solid move by Hendry.

I've been reading around, and other bloggers/posters seem to think that Miller may not necessarily be a FA next year. Apparently the word is he had 4.1 years of MLB service time before 2005, then got injured, and thus last year accounted for .5 to .7 years. Thus, even if he pitches a whole season (which he won't apparently as he'll start in May), he'd have 5.6 to 5.8 years after 2006, which would make him very narrowly arbitration eligible and under club control.

Any idea if this is true?

2006-01-23 16:31:41
3.   Sandus
Finally, an offseason move I can feel good about.
2006-01-23 17:22:47
4.   shawndgoldman
The Boar,

I believe time spent on the 60-day DL counts torwards a players service time. Unfortunately, that means Miller will be a full-fledged FA at the end of 2006.

I got this info here:

2006-01-23 19:53:04
5.   rynox
Scouting information from (STATS, INC.)

"Miller has a complicated delivery that has to be just right for him to be effective. When he's right, Miller has as much stuff as practically anyone on the staff, throwing his fastball in the mid-90s and his slider around 90 MPH.The slightest deviation, however, and he not only has troubles pitching, but can be prone to injury. In mid-May, he was having problems and came out of a game with a strained neck, which was similar to a problem he had in the past. He seemed to be back on track in June before the shoulder began to bother him too much. An ironman who had pitched an average of 188 innings per year since 2000, Miller never was his former self last year."

2006-01-24 08:55:26
6.   chicagoburke
With as much success the Cubs have displayed in tweaking poor mechanics for promising pitchers, I don't have a ton of confidence in the Wade Miller of 02-04.
2006-01-24 12:35:31
7.   Ivy Walls
1. Posted by Ivy Walls
The move is a minor stable master move allowing flexibility to engineer possible two trades, one before Feb. 16th and the other in June or July. Miller in all likelihood will not start much in '06 unless things change drastically. He needs to take this year and build his arm strength and contribute like Dempster did in '04. So don't expect him to start much in '06 where he probably will start out on an extended Spring Training in AZ with Wood. Then expect that he will be there until May 15th or so if everything goes right.

Now after a three week rehab stint going up from Daytona to Iowa where he could be recalled around June 1-10th as the swing/long reliever.

What he allows is use one of the following; Williams, Hill, Guzman, (Brownlie-Valdez) and Wellemeyer to be traded prior to spring training as probably part of a package to acquire a position player (or two) that finishes the expectant 25-man roster.

You see now the rotation is set at four; Zambrano-Prior-Rusch-Maddux-(who also will probably retire next year), with Wood expectant to join the five by April 27th when it a 5th will be needed. Meaning that either the Cubs will come north with one of the following Hill-Guzman-Brownlie-Valdez-Brownlie for 2 starts in April or with a position player. When Wood is recalled May 1st the rookie will either move into the bullpen as the swing or down to AAA or Rusch will be moved to the bullpen as the swing. If Wood remains healthy then things are set and the question is whether Rusch holds his own or the rookie until Miller is ready to join the club in 40 or so days.

Again this would allow Hendry the opportunity to trade a stable pitcher or eithr Rusch or Wood in the mid season and then bring Miller in as the swing/long reliever.

What he does is secure a possible starting spot for '07 in that if he is healthy and regains his arms strength Maddux will probably retire and in all likelihood Wood will either be cast as a FA or traded by then leaving two open spots. I think this year the Cubs are looking for one of the three (Williams, Hill or Guzman) to emerge as a starter replacing Rusch or Wood in the rotation and being part of the Prior-Zambrano duo. Miller becomes the 4th starter and either the Cubs again could start out with Rusch as the 5th man or hopefully they will have another rookie ready to ascend.

In that mix they probably will have one of the remaining three I mentioned (Williams, Guzman, Hill) competing with Marshall, Gallagher, Ryu or Grant.

On paper that means in '08 the Cubs can stil have another spot open for one more rookie and by then we will be worrying about the FA prospects of Zambrano and Prior.

2006-01-24 22:53:57
8.   gracefan314
I read somewhere that Wade Miller and his agent refused to sign a 2-year deal anywhere (something like 4 other teams had offered him that) because they felt he could do a lot better monetarily by pitching well this year and going to free agency afterwards.

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