Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Veteran Free Agents That Could Bolster the First Base, Pitching

The Pirates should consider these three veteran free agents this off-season.

Sep 5, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Donovan Solano (39) rounds the
Sep 5, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Minnesota Twins first baseman Donovan Solano (39) rounds the / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley only pitched 37 innings in 2022. With 2023 marking his age-36 campaign, it was reasonable to be worried about how he'd perform moving forward. But Miley rebounded in a strong way. He posted the best single-season ERA of his entire career, which started in 2012, and he'll look to continue to be a quality rotation member for whichever team that signs him for 2024.

Miley pitched to a 3.14 ERA and 1.14 WHIP but a poor 4.69 FIP. Miley has never been a strikeout pitcher, but his 16.1% strikeout rate is low, even for him. But he's consistently been good at both keeping the ball on the ground, inducing weak contact, and limiting walks. His 7.8% walk rate is slightly below his career average. The veteran lefty was in the 83rd percentile of exit velocity at 87.3 MPH while also being in the 93rd percentile of hard hit rate at 31.3%. His 47.4% ground ball rate was also well above average, in the 75th percentile.

Now, you wouldn't be unreasonable if you saw the numbers under the hood and were worried about Miley moving forward. He had a 4.85 xFIP, 5.04 SIERA, and 4.36 xERA this past season. But Miley has always been one to overperform expectations. Since 2018, Miley owns a quality 3.43 ERA but a 4.24 FIP, 4.43 xFIP, and 4.75 SIERA. If he were to post an ERA around 3.30 next year, but estimators pinning him at 4.30 or greater, it would be far from being the first time he's ever done that.

2024 will be his age-37 campaign, but aside from 2020, which was the shortened year and Miley was hurt for part of the season and only threw 14.1 innings, he has pitched to an ERA+ of 116 or greater in each of his five previous seasons, meaning at his worst, he was still 16% better than average in terms of ERA. Four of said seasons saw Miley own an ERA+ of 130 or greater. Even if he only signs another low-cost one-year deal, he could easily be worth the money.