Wade Miller Rumors
4:02pm: The Canadian Press adds that the Jays have an option on Miller's deal for 2010.
11:03am: According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, the Blue Jays have reached agreement on a minor league contract with pitcher Wade Miller.
The deal is pending a physical exam. Miller, 32, hasn't pitched in the majors since 2007 and hasn't been effective on the mound since 2004, when he was with the Astros. He's a longshot to make Toronto's final roster.
Miller looked like an ace in the making after winning 16 games for the 2001 Astros as a 24 year-old. However, he hasn't topped 200 innings since. He finally had labrum surgery in October of 2005 after tossing 91 innings for the Red Sox.
In 2006, Miller earned a million bucks to pitch 21 innings for the Cubs. After he signed, Miller said it was the best he'd felt in years and was targeting a May or June Cubs debut. He was slowed down by fatigue along the way in rehab, though, and his fastball was coming in around 85-88. He finally pitched the Cubs in September. His velocity was around 88-90.
Back in the day (2001) Miller threw around 92-94, touching 97 at times. He was worked very hard by Larry Dierker, though, and a cascade of injuries followed. Miller ranked 12th in Pitcher Abuse Points in '01.
If he is to succeed as the Cubs' fifth starter, he's going to have to do so as a different type of pitcher due in no small part to Dierker. I'm not even sure Dierker tracked pitch counts back then.
Jim Hendry took a nice low-risk gamble today, inking Wade Miller to a one-year pact for $1MM. He can reach $2MM with incentives.
Miller gutted his way through 91 innings in 2005 for the Red Sox, posting a 4.95 ERA. Miller had the dreaded labrum surgery on his shoulder in late September 2005.
UPDATE: First, a few notes on labrum tear survivors. Chris Carpenter and Jose Valverde are the best examples, and Carpenter sat out almost two years. Valverde still hasn't matched his per-surgery velocity. Six months is a general guideline for a pitcher to resume activity. (Tip of the cap to Will Carroll for the info).
Also, Wade Miller and his agent Bob Garber were on WGN's Sports Central with Dave Kaplan tonight. Miller had many teams inquire, but all of them required an option for a second year or just a non-roster invite. Hendry pushed for the option at first as well. Garber indicated that Miller never considered accepting anything but a one-year deal with no option. The interested parties came down to the Cubs and Mariners, and the Cubs were Miller's preference all along (or so he says).
Miller has already begun throwing at 60 feet, and he plans to join the Cubs' rotation by mid-May. I'm paraphrasing here, but Garber and Miller seemed entirely confident that Miller is considered a lock for a rotation spot upon his Cubs debut. Obviously the Cubs will have too many starters on their hands, but it sure beats throwing John Koronka and Sergio Mitre to the wolves.