The Red Sox and newly-acquired starting pitcher Wade Miley have gotten negotiations off on the right foot, agreeing to a 3 year/$19.25M contract that will buy out the young left-hander’s arbitration years, along with a team option at $12M for the 2018 season.
It’s hard to look at this deal and not see it as a gamble on the part of the Red Sox. Miley, 28 years old, is coming off the worst season of his career, in which he posted a career-high 4.34 ERA and saw his walk rate balloon to 3.4 BB/9, his highest mark of any full season in the major leagues. In acquiring Miley, however, the Red Sox are betting on him turning his career around and returning to the form of his 2012 and 2013 seasons. And, all things considered, it’s not a bad bet by the Red Sox.
Miley’s ERA was higher than his peripherals would have suggested last season as he posted the exact same FIP (3.98) that he had posted the previous season, when he had a significantly better 3.55 ERA. Also, while Miley’s walk rate did rise for the second consecutive season, his strikeout rate also jumped to 8.2 K/9, by far the best mark of his career. However, most important to Miley’s potential recovery this season will be the results when hitters do put the ball in play.
Fitting the mold of Boston’s pitching acquisitions this offseason, Miley has generated a great number of ground balls throughout his career. He has induced grounders at a 48.6% rate in his career, and his 2014 rate of 51.1% was even better than that. Unfortunately for Miley, the Diamondbacks fielded one of the worst infield defenses in the league last season so it’s likely that moving to the Red Sox, who should have a very solid infield defense next season, will be a boon for Miley’s numbers.
If Miley does turn into a solid #2 or #3 starter for the Red Sox, then this contractÃ‚Â could wind up being a steal for Boston. Miley might never make astronomically high arbitration numbers, but if he reverts to his 2012-13 form, then the Red Sox will likely be getting a bargain with this contract. In addition, the club option for a fourth year could be a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox if he sticks as a mid-rotation starter in Boston. This isn’t a flashy move for the Red Sox, but it’s a solid deal– though a somewhat risky one– that could wellÃ‚Â be a bargain in the long run.