Five non-tendered free agents for Phillies to consider
By John Town
Shelby Miller’s career trajectory has been an unusual one. He started off his career finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2013 with the Cardinals. In the 2014-15 offseason, he was traded to the Braves as a part of the Jason Heyward deal. A year later, he was sent to the Diamondbacks in a trade that later became infamous.
Why did that deal become so infamous? Atlanta received Ender Inciarte and the 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson. Those two are now part of Atlanta’s young core who just helped the team win the first of what could be several division titles.
Meanwhile, Miller started off his Arizona career well despite leading the league in losses, posting a 3.02 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, and 7.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio as he was named an All-Star. Things quickly deteriorated from there as his ERA ballooned to 6.15 in 2016, which led to a midseason demotion.
Miller lasted just four starts in 2017 season as he suffered an elbow tear, leading to Tommy John surgery. He returned for only a few starts this year before hitting the disabled list again with elbow inflammation. With a $4.9 million projected salary for 2019, Arizona decided to spare themselves a headache.
With all the background information given, why should the Phillies have any interest in Miller? In fairness, this would make more sense if we were heading into the 2016 or 2017 season with the rotation far less defined. Those years, signing a reclamation project like Miller might be worth the gamble.
Despite this, even with the rotation clogged up, Miller may be worth taking a flier on for spring training. Given his injury history, it’s hard to see a team offering him a guaranteed contract. On the other hand, he is worth taking a shot on for a minor-league deal if he accepts one.