Monday, January 23, 2006
The Chicago Cubs today agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher WADE MILLER on a one-year deal for the 2006 season. Financial terms of the deal with Miller, who will be added to the Cubs' 40-man roster before Opening Day, were not disclosed.
The 29-year-old looks to return to the mound after spending much of the 2005 season on the disabled list with right shoulder problems. He opened the season on the DL and was reinstated to the active list May 8 - but returned to the DL August 9, where he remained for the rest of the season. Prior to going on the DL, Miller was 4-4 in 16 starts spanning 91.0 innings.
The right-hander has gone 62-43 with 5 complete games and a 3.98 ERA during his major league career. He has won 10 or more games on three different occasions - and has posted a .500 or better winning percentage in all but one of his seasons in the majors. Miller has worked 6.0 or more innings in 96 of his 139 big league starts and allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in 69 of those games. He recorded a career-high (and franchise-best) 12-game winning streak for Houston July 7-September 21, 2002.
Miller signed with Boston as a free agent in December 2004. In addition to Boston, he pitched in the major leagues for Houston (1999-2004). He began his professional career in 1996 after being selected by Houston in the 20th round of the 1996 June draft - and rose quickly through the minors, making his major league debut for the Astros on July 7, 1999.
Miller has struggled with injuries since 2004. He battled shoulder tendinitis in '04 with Houston. In '05 he moved to the Red Sox and had issues with his rotator cuff and ended the season with surgery to repair his labrum.
We are in a day and age where the medical professionals can make these guys better than ever. It may not always work, but a pitcher like Miller is worth a one year flyer. While Miller was with the Astros he had some good seasons. He was 16-8 in 2001 and 15-4 in 2002. At only 29 years of age this seems to be a good gamble for Jim Hendry.
Update 3:57: the deal is for $1 million with incentives that could bring Miller another $1 million based on his starts. Hendry said this in the Cubs Official Release:
"This is a very competitive guy and a winning type pitcher," Hendry said Monday. "The doctors felt he was on a track procedure-wise like Kerry [Wood's] but maybe a month behind him. We're not counting on him Opening Day. We're hoping somewhere in the month of May he'll be ready. We felt it was a good guy to have in the inventory."