Pittsburgh Pirates: Attempting to Construct a Realistic Off-Season

What would a realistic looking off-season for the Pirates look like?

Sep 27, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Wade Miley (20) delivers
Sep 27, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Wade Miley (20) delivers / Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley seems destined to be a Pirates pitcher in 2024. The lefty veteran is coming off yet another quality season. An older left-handed starting pitcher fits Ben Cherington’s MO to a T. On a one-year deal, he could potentially be a quality arm for the Pirates to rely on in 2024. I think he is exactly the kind of pitcher Cherington would pursue.

Miley is coming off his age-36 campaign, where he pitched to a 3.14 ERA, 4.69 FIP, and 1.14 WHIP. Of the nine seasons where Miley has started at least 20 games, this is his lowest single-season ERA and WHIP. Miley had an above-average 7.8% walk rate and 1.20 HR/9, but his 16.1% strikeout rate was the lowest of his career (unless you count the 40 innings he pitched in 2011).

Miley greatly over-performed his underlying numbers. He had a 5.04 SIERA and 4.85 xFIP, but it’s not as if he has never outperformed his numbers. From 2018-2022, Miley had a 3.50 ERA but a 4.67 FIP and 4.33 xFIP.

One thing that has remained strong is his ability to prevent hard contact. Miley had an 87.3 MPH exit velocity, which ranked in the 83rd percentile, as well as a hard hit rate of 31.3%, which was in the 93rd percentile. That’s not too far off from the 86.5 MPH exit velocity and 31.7% hard-hit rate he had in 2018-2022.

I’d say that Miley will sign something similar to what the Pirates signed Rich Hill to last off-season: a one-year/$8 million deal. Miley is slightly younger and coming off a better season but also receiving a $1 million buyout. If I had to estimate, he’d sign a one-year, $9 million deal, which, combined with the buyout, would match his mutual option for 2024 for $10 million.

Total Spent: $32 million