Try to forget the September Wade Miley had last season and remember how well he pitched the rest of the year. Should the Astros give him another shot?
From March through August of 2019, Astros starter Wade Miley was one of the most consistent and reliable starting pitchers in the league. He was arguably the best #3 starter in all of baseball. But something happened in September and all of that was forgotten. Are we shortchanging Miley by judging his season on one month of play? Does he not deserve another look?
In the first 28 appearances of the season, Miley went 13-4 with an ERA of 3.06 and Houston won 20 of those games. He gave up more than three runs in only two of those games, and even then he allowed no more than four. It even goes back farther, in 2018, Miley never surrendered over three runs the entire year and had a 2.57 ERA. So the success he enjoyed throughout most of the season wasn’t just a fluke.
Yes, the bottom fell out in September and his ERA exploded to 16.68 for those final five games of the season. There didn’t seem to be an answer. Maybe he was tipping his pitches or possibly he was just plain worn out. But I know one thing, if anybody can figure it out and “fix” him, it’s pitching coach and miracle worker Brent Strom.
The deeper we get into the offseason, teams increase the urgency in addressing their needs for the 2020 season. Teams are starting to engage in more serious talks with top free agents that are in hot demand. This seems to be especially true when it comes to starting pitchers this year.
Organizations that have the means to afford top free-agent pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg are already clamoring for their services. The price for these highly sought after pitchers is going to skyrocket. I don’t see the Astros as one of those teams that will have the salary space to reign in an ace like them.
The Astros already have Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke as their #1 and #2 starters in the rotation. Then they have Lance McCullers Jr. returning to the rotation, along with the promising prospect of Jose Urquidy. So maybe a middle of the rotation kind of pitcher (or two) is all Houston needs to seek out.
Maybe, Wade Miley is just that pitcher. I don’t know what kind of salary he’ll be able to demand of teams as a free agent this offseason, but I can assure you it will be a fraction of a Cole or a Strasburg. It could be a low-risk/high-reward type of transaction. Could it hurt to give him the benefit of doubt and give him another chance?