In a very positive development for Chicago Cubs fans, the franchise already made its first big move toward being competitive in 2022.
The Cubs, who have been rumored to be willing to spend some money this winter to field a competitive team, added left-handed starter Wade Miley via waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
The Reds had a $10 million club option on Miley for next year, with a $1 million buyout.
Apparently, they decided to waive him in what is a confusing move.
A Puzzling Decision
It was a puzzling decision, to say the least, by a franchise that held a Wild Card spot late in the second half of the season.
The soon-to-be 35-year-old pitcher will surely appear on some Cy Young ballots in a few weeks, when season awards are handed out.
He had a fantastic year in Cincinnati, with a 12-7 record, a 3.37 ERA, and a 1.33 WHIP.
He wasn’t the most dominant pitcher out there, as his strikeout ability (18.1 strikeout rate) was below-average, but he relied on contact management to be one of the most dependable left-handers in baseball.
His average exit velocity was 85.7 mph, and his hard-hit rate (percentage of balls hit at 95 mph or more) was 34 percent, both above-average.
That kind of production certainly deserved $10 million or more, but the Reds appear to be entering a cost-saving period.
No matter which source you use, Miley was highly valued by the numbers: he was worth 2.9 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, according to FanGraphs’ calculations, while Baseball Reference had him rated even better at 5.7 WAR.
The Reds recently traded catcher Tucker Barnhart, too, in addition to shedding Miley’s salary.
One would think that picking up Miley’s option and then trying to trade him would have made a lot more sense for Cincinnati.
Miley has $10M club option for 2022. Reds could have picked it up, traded him and still accomplished their obvious goal of saving money. https://t.co/TJb5lRyHQU
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 5, 2021
C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic reported that Reds general manager Nick Krall said the organization attempted to trade Miley, but couldn’t find a taker.
The Cubs Net A Solid Starter At A Fair Cost
For the Cubs, Miley’s addition is a breath of fresh air.
Chicago reportedly wants to spend some money to field a competitive club that may fight for a Wild Card berth or, in a best-case scenario, the National League Central division.
Miley is the perfect addition for them at this point.
The Reds could have picked up a $10 million option and then traded Miley.
Instead he heads to a division rival in an effort to ensure the clearing of payroll.
Good pickup by the Cubs here. Confusing move by Cincinnati. https://t.co/8GOIauJ6xO
— Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams) November 5, 2021
They will now exercise the club option and enjoy him for at least one year.
Even if Chicago falls from the race at some point in June or July, like what happened this year, they may try to flip Miley at the trade deadline.
Perhaps Cincinnati did try to trade him in 2021, but didn’t like the packages they were getting.
That doesn’t justify just giving him away and risking him going to a division rival, like it happened in the end.
It’s actually not that hard to translate: Cincinnati may enter a rebuild, or at least, won’t spend so many resources trying to be competitive.