Texas takes a chance on adding injury-riddled veteran to its rotation for 2019.
#Rangers in agreement with free-agent RHP Shelby Miller on a one-year contract, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 9, 2019
Shelby Miller’s performance bonuses can earn him an extra $3 million from Texas on top of the $2 million base salary, per sources.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) January 9, 2019
According to Feinsand’s sources, Miller may be able to make up to $5 million this year if he can trigger his $3 million worth in performance bonuses.
For the 28-year-old Miller, this is an opportunity for a fresh start in his native home of Texas after being basically out of baseball for the last two years while recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he had in April 2017. After that surgery and returning to the majors in June 2018, he ended up missing 10 more weeks after suffering elbow inflammation following five appearances and posting an astronomical 10.65 ERA in 16 innings pitched. After the season, Miller was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks.
Miller’s career has been a roller coaster, as he arrived in the majors as a highly-touted prospect and put together three decent seasons with the Cardinals, going 26-18 with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 69 appearances (63 starts) across 370 innings. Then in November 2014, he was traded to the Braves in a four-player deal in which the Cardinals got Jayson Heward as the big piece in return. Miller ended up earning his only All-Star selection in 2015 with the Braves and posting career highs in ERA (3.02), starts (33), innings pitched (205 1⁄3) and strikeouts (171) despite leading the majors in losses after going 6-17. However, the Braves used his quality season to their advantage and traded him in December 2015 to the Diamondbacks for a young package of players that included Dansby Swanson.
Miller wound up having a brutal campaign for Arizona in 2016, posting a 6.15 ERA and 1.67 WHIP over 20 starts and getting demoted to Triple-A for roughly a month before all the injury issues started happening.
Miller will try to add to the Rangers’ veteran experience in their rotation, which includes Lance Lynn, Edison Volquez, Drew Smyly and Mike Minor. However, all of these pitches have had injuries that forced them to miss significant time in the past, so the Rangers may still try to add depth to it just in case this issues happen again.