The Cardinals had two main focuses going into this offseason, getting a big bat and finding a quality lefty for the bullpen. They went out and traded for Paul Goldschmidt to address the former. As for the latter, they agreed to terms with two time All-Star Andrew Miller today. The deal with Miller is for two-years and $25 million contract.
Last season wasn’t Miller’s greatest, however, it wasn’t as bad as you might have been led to believe. He still struck out 45 batters and had a respectable FIP of 3.51. His numbers against left-handed hitters were still very solid, too. In 49 plate appearances against him, lefties hit just .227 with a .556 OPS and a tOPS+ of 55. He also struck out 12 of those hitters while walking just four.
His biggest issue was giving up free bases. These problems were likely linked to his injury, though, as he never really got into a groove on the mound. Nonetheless, in nearly two times the number of innings pitched in 2017 Miller walked only 21 batters as opposed to the 16 that he walked in ’18.
The walks were the biggest thing holding his overall numbers down last season. Assuming he stays healthy for the majority of 2019, there’s no reason to think he can’t be what he was in 2016 and 2017. Even if he’s only a fraction of what he was in those years he’ll still be a major improvement over the Cardinals current in-house options from the left side of the bullpen.
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