Cubs make first roster move of offseason, add veteran starting pitcher Wade Miley
The Cubs made their first roster move of the 2021-22 offseason Friday afternoon, claiming veteran left-handed pitcher Wade Miley off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
Miley has a $10 million team option for 2022 and the Reds placed him on waivers this week in hopes of avoiding a $1 million buyout.
Miley will turn 35 next week and has 11 years of MLB experience under his belt. He was 12-7 with a 3.37 ERA last season for the Reds, pitching half his games at a hitter-friendly park in Cincinnati. He also threw his first career no-hitter on May 7 in Cleveland and notched 5.7 WAR by Baseball Reference’s metric.
Over his career, Miley has almost exclusively worked as a starter, posting a 97-92 record with a 4.15 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in nearly 1,600 innings.
He will be a free agent after 2022, so this is a solid low-risk move for the Cubs to address their biggest need this winter.
“We really need to dramatically improve our pitching,” Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said at the end-of-season press conference. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. Our starting rotation simply wasn’t good enough this year to compete.
“…There’s no question that we have to acquire more pitching, better pitching this year. I think that’ll be the No. 1 priority because that, said simply, was the downfall of this season was that our rotation was short and we weren’t effective enough in terms of run prevention.”
The Cubs will fold Miley into the rotation along with Kyle Hendricks and likely some combination of Alec Mills, Adbert Alzolay, Keegan Thompson, Justin Steele and Adrian Sampson plus any other offseason addition.
This is an early move to address the pitching staff even before free agency officially opens. The Cubs will certainly add more arms to the mix via the open market or trade this winter.
Miley provides a veteran presence in the rotation and also presents a different look to the opposition as a lefty — the Cubs started a right-hander in 153 of their 162 games in 2021.
He also provides length to a Cubs team that spent most of 2021 searching for innings out of its rotation — Miley finished at least 5 frames in 21 of his 28 starts last season.
He has made at least 28 starts in eight of the last 10 seasons and has a 3.53 ERA since the start of the 2018 campaign.
Miley has extensive experience with the NL Central, having pitched for the Reds in 2020-21 and the Brewers in 2018. He began his career with the Diamondbacks and also pitched in Boston (2015), Seattle (2016), Baltimore (2016-17) and Houston (2019).
In 16 starts against the Cubs over his career, Miley is 9-4 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. That includes a 3-0 mark in 2021 when he posted a 2.40 ERA in 5 starts against the North Siders.