LHP Wade Miley Expected to Make Brewers’ Opening Day Roster

On March 22nd, the Milwaukee Brewers will have to inform left-handed pitcher Wade Miley whether or not he will make the team’s 25-man Opening Day roster, per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy.

Milwaukee has already likely made their decision on Miley’s fate, and the decision is expected to be Miley making the team. An official decision on Miley’s fate will happen at the latest on March 24, but when the Brewers inform Miley on Thursday, there will be no need to wait until Saturday.

In the unlikely event that Miley doesn’t make the cut when he meets with Brewers brass on Thursday, he can ask for his release by the team, leaving general manager David Stearns 48 hours to meet Miley’s request, or change his mind and keep the southpaw. As alluded to, this conversation will not be taking place, however.

Miley has been impressive so far this spring for the Brewers, but had a nightmare outing in his last appearance on March 16 against the Cincinnati Reds. He surrendered 10 hits and 7 earned runs in 3.0 innings of work that game, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of Brewers fans. It’s undeniable how well Miley was pitching prior to that outing, however, as he had a 1.38 earned run average in his first four spring appearances.

The 31-year-old Miley has also showed more velocity on his pitches with the Brewers this spring, as he reportedly reached 94 miles per hour on the radar gun in his March 1st outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks that featured 5 strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Backup catcher Jett Bandy has been impressed with Miley’s performance this spring, as he told McCalvy that Miley had caught his eye prior to that start.

From the start of the off-season, the Brewers were said to be casting a wide net in their search for starting pitching, which was the team’s strong suit in 2017, largely in-part thanks to pitching coach Derek Johnson. While they had interest in the top four free agent pitchers available in Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, and Lance Lynn, none of them ended up signing on with the Brewers. The team did however ink right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a two-year contract to add to the rotation, with the organization very excited about his pitching profile. He will start one of Milwaukee’s first three games of the season against one of his former teams in the San Diego Padres.

Chase Anderson is the Brewers’ Opening Day starter, and will make the start on March 29. Recently, manager Craig Counsell told the media that Zach Davies will start the Brewers home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 2nd, which likely means Chacin will start on March 30, and then Miley will start on March 31st.

Since Milwaukee is off on Easter Sunday, the team won’t need a fifth starter until April 8th against the Chicago Cubs. That means the Brewers will go into the 2018 season with Anderson, Chacin, Davies, and Miley making up their starting rotation, with Junior Guerra, Brent Suter, or Brandon Woodruff likely to fill the fifth spot when it’s needed. Milwaukee is largely likely to open with four starters so that they are able to keep power-hitting first baseman Jesus Aguilar on their Opening Day roster for the time being, as touched on in a recent story.

The Brewers and Miley agreed to a minor league contract on February 15, and Miley will earn a base salary of $2.5 million once he makes the MLB roster. There is another $3.2 million available for Miley via incentives that could bring his total earnings to $5.7 million, with those incentives being tied to starts made and innings pitched.

Assuming Miley’s performance is deemed acceptable by the Brewers to start the 2018 season, he will likely stay in the rotation for the entire season. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson, who was the team’s top starting pitcher in 2017, is set to return from September should surgery in June, meaning that he will likely take the rotation spot of either Guerra, Suter, or Woodruff. That will mean the Brewers rotation at mid-season will be Anderson, Chacin, Davies, Miley and Nelson in whatever order, with a trade to improve the starting rotation still being in the cards for Milwaukee ahead of the July 31st trading deadline. The team is said to be looking at Michael Fulmer, James Paxton, Marcus Stroman, and Chris Archer as potential trade targets.

As mentioned previously, while it’s hard to erase Miley’s sub-par performance his last time out, he will get a shot at redemption on Wednesday when he is scheduled to start against the Oakland Athletics. While it could potentially make-or-break his fate ahead of the Thursday deadline, the expectation is Miley will finish a strong note.

For his carer, Miley has a 66-74 win-loss record, a 4.38 earned run average, and 925 strikeouts across 1,155.2 innings of work. Even if he doesn’t break camp with the Brewers, Miley likely won’t have a hard time finding another MLB job somewhere else, which makes it all the more likely he’ll be donning Brewers blue and gold in 2018.

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Published by Tony Montalto

Twitter: @montalto_tony

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