Cubs Bolster Simulated Rotation with Wade Miller
Jim Hendry washed down a krispy kreme with 3 shots of Jack Daniels, shouted "what the hell," and signed RHP Wade Miller to a 1 year 1 million dollar contract with incentives yesterday. Miller also demanded that the Cubs provide him with his own personal simulated catcher.
Way to go Jim. Seriously, nice move...I guess. It's a gamble that the cubs can certainly afford to make considering their budget and pitching depth, but I would be much more excited if it wasn't for the words frayed labrum.
This move could give the Cubs excellent depth in the rotation. The Cubs now have 7-8 starters to choose from: Zambrano, Prior, Wood, Maddux, Rusch, Williams, Miller, and Hill/Guzman, and they may very well need every last one of them, since about half of these guys are huge injury risks. If the staff somehow manages to stay healthy, then Hendry has the flexibility to deal some pitching during the season, hopefully for a bat.
Wade Miller has a long history of injuries, (back neck, elbow, shoulder, shoulder...) and has spent nearly half his career on the DL, which is perhaps why he felt most comfortable joining the Cubs. He'll fit right in, though the Cubs may need to get a bigger hot tub.
"We are going to be great friends" said Kerry Wood, who looks forward to having a new hot tub buddy, "it's always good to have a little friendly competition for the job as the ace of the simulated rotation."
But serioisly, I like this move. This is a low risk/high reward deal, or as my friend Matt more accurately described it, low cost, high injury risk, high reward deal. Many experts attribute Miller's injury problems to his poor mechanics, which he's unlikely to change at age 29. But if healthy, poor mechanics or not, Miller is an excellent pitcher. He may not be quite be an ace, but he's a quality pitcher with a very good fastball and nasty slider who would make a fantastic #4 starter for the Cubs. But realistically, we should expect zero from him given his injury issues. He's just comming off labrum surgery, which is never a good sign. The likelyhood of a full recovery is not very good, unless your name is Matt Morris or Chris Carpenter. Miller opted to avoid surgery prior to last season, but was shut down by the Red Sox because of shoulder problems mid-season. He then went through with the surgery to repair his rotator cuff and frayed labrum. The Cubs hope he will be ready to pitch in Mid-May, but that's optimisic. Don't get your hopes up, but he's not a bad guy to have stashed on the 40 man roster.