The Diamondbacks have won their arbitration hearing against right-hander Shelby Miller, tweets Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. As can be seen in MLBTR’s 2017 Arbitration Tracker, Miller had filed for a $5.1MM salary, with the D-backs countering at $4.7MM. He’ll now earn the lesser of those two amounts in 2017 after earning $4.35MM last season. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had projected a $4.9MM salary for Miller this season.
The 26-year-old Miller struggled through a nightmarish season in his debut campaign with the Diamondbacks, pitching to a 6.15 earned run average in 101 innings of work. The former Cardinals/Braves righty saw his K/9, BB/9 and ground-ball rates all trend in the wrong direction as he also became increasingly susceptible to home runs in his new hitter-friendly environs. Beyond that, Miller suffered a finger injury that landed him on the disabled list for about a month, and he was also demoted to Triple-A for roughly six weeks due to his struggles.
That demotion not only cost Miller in arbitration, but it delayed his free agency by a year. Miller finished the 2016 campaign six days shy of a full season of service, meaning he’ll still be controllable for another three years (through 2019). He’ll be eligible for arbitration in each of the upcoming offseasons until that juncture, though he’ll need to rebound in 2017 to avoid becoming a non-tender candidate next December.
Despite Miller’s 2016 struggles, he’ll presumably have every opportunity to do just that in 2017, though. The right-hander is only one season removed from a 3.02 ERA over the life of 205 innings with the Braves, after all, and has been a largely effective pitcher at the big league level throughout his career since debuting with St. Louis back in 2012.
Miller figures to be slotted into the rotation alongside Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray and newcomer Taijuan Walker in 2017, and while he’ll be working with the same pitching coach (Mike Butcher), a new D-backs front office will be charged with finding the root of his downturn in performance.
With Miller’s case now taken care of, Walker remains the only unresolved arbitration case on the D-backs’ plate.