What to Make of Brewers’ Pickup of LHP Wade Miley

It’s been somewhat of a quiet offseason for the Brewers, a group that was among the favorites to win the NL pennant in 2022, but failed to live up to expectations. Heading into 2023, Milwaukee does boast an impressive pitching staff yet again. Milwaukee’s pitching staff got a little bit deeper this week, as former Brewer Wade Miley will head back to Wisconsin on a one-year deal.

Related: How many teams has Lewin Diaz been on this offseason?

A Look at Miley

Back with Milwaukee, Wade Miley will look to get back on the mound after he spent most of 2022 on the IL. When the former Cub did pitch, the crafty lefty was effective. The 36-year-old posted a respectable 3.16 ERA over 37 innings in Chicago, with an impressive 52.2% GB% rate.

Miley has never been a flamethrower, but rather gets the job done thanks to his effective use of his arsenal. The left-hander can work down low and induce weak contact with a cut fastball that sits in the high-80s, and a plus change that differs in speed from his fastball by about 8-9 MPH. Miley’s change is his best weapon; an above-average pitch that has netted the left-hander a Whiff% rate above 30% in each of the last four seasons.

As mentioned earlier, Miley returns to the Brewers for the first time since 2018. Miley came to Milwaukee after a horrendous stint with Baltimore. The lefty, though, proved to be a useful arm in his brief stint with the Brewers. Across 80.2 IP in the regular season, Miley pitched to the tune of a 2.57 ERA. Miley proved to be a useful arm in the 2018 postseason, as he allowed just two earned runs over 14.2 IP.

Since that stint, Miley has been effective when healthy. The lefty has posted a 3.70 ERA and 125 ERA+ over 381.2 IP between 2018-2022. Now, the 36-year-old heads back to the Brewers.

What it Means

The acquisition of Miley is a curious one for the Brewers, a squad that does possess a fair amount of depth in the rotation. Aside from the trio of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee does also have a number of interesting arms that makes this group one of the better rotations in all of baseball.

LHP Eric Lauer (3.69 ERA, 8.9 K/9 in 158.2 IP) proved to be a solid innings eater for the Brewers, while Aaron Ashby put up reasonably solid numbers in first season despite a wonky 2-10 record. Adrian Houser and Jason Alexander each saw time in the rotation last season, as well. In the farm, prospects Ethan Small, Janson Junk, and Robert Gasser all could factor into the equation at some point in 2023.

It’s not to say the depth is a bad thing for Milwaukee. Adding a pitcher like Miley does help in that department. On the other hand, an argument could be made as to whether the Brewers would have been better off spending that $4.5 million on an extra bat. On the other hand, it’s also hard to argue that a team can have too much pitching. Miley has proven to be a reliable arm over the past two seasons, when healthy. If Miley can stay off the IL this season, it could be a benefit should other arms on the Brewers find themselves injured.

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