Pittsburgh Pirates Free Agent Target: Wade Miley
By Marty Leap
Could a veteran left-handed pitcher who spent 2018 in the National League Central be a fit for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2019?
In 24 days, pitchers and catchers will report to Bradenton. With this, Spring Training will be underway for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
As Spring Training and the 2019 season approaches the team remains in need of a few pieces. The Bucs still need to address shortstop and they could use another lefty in the bullpen, too. Additionally, the final spot in their starting rotation remains in flex.
The top four in the rotation is set with Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, Trevor Williams, and Joe Musgrove. While this is shaping up to be one of the strongest rotation quartets in the National League, what the team will do with the final rotation spot remains to be seen.
Free agent addition Jordan Lyles could get this spot, but he is better suited to pitch in relief. The team could look to use an opener, however, having five starting pitchers would be a better option. Steven Brault and Nick Kingham could be in the mix as well.
A pitcher still on the free agent market that could be a target for the Pirates between now and Spring Training is veteran lefty Wade Miley. The 32-year-old Miley has put together an eight year MLB career, and spent 2018 in the NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Last spring, Miley inked a minor league deal with the Brewers. After starting the year in the minors, he made two starts for the Crew before going on the disabled list with an oblique injury. He returned from this injury in July and was one of Milwaukee’s best pitchers down the stretch and played a key role in their run to the NLCS.
In 16 starts with Milwaukee Miley posted a 2.57 ERA and a 3.59 FIP in 80 2/3 innings pitched. Miley struck out 14.8% of batters faced, he walked 8.0%, and he surrendered just three home runs. He also generated groundballs at a healthy 52.8% rate during the 2018 season.
During his MLB career, Miley owns a 4.26 ERA and a 4.06 FIP in 216 games (212 starts) and 1,236 1/3 innings pitched. Even if he pitched to his career averages and not his 2018 results, Miley would still be an upgrade over a league average number five starting pitcher.
Also, a move to PNC Park is one that could benefit Miley. PNC Park is a friendly park for left-handed pitchers. This would allow Miley to pitch more aggressively, even though this has never been much of an issue for him.
Miley should come at a relatively cheap price. At this point in his career he may also be willing to accept a one-year contract offer. Both of these would seem to be factors that could entice the Pirates and grab their interest.
When looking to add a fifth starting pitcher, it would be beneficial for the Pirates to look for a lefty. As currently constructed, the Pirate rotation is strong but lacks a left-handed pitcher. Veteran Wade Miley could fill that void.