Shelby Miller became a free agent this week when the Arizona Diamondbacks decided not to tender a contract to the veteran starter.
Veteran might not be quite the right word for Miller. He has five years Major League service time, but he has started a grand total of eight games over the last two seasons and just 124 in his career. His arm does not have the mileage of a grizzled veteran.
Miller has recently turned 28. Injuries have blighted him as a Diamondback, and he struggled mightily when he did pitch in 2018. Arizona are embarking on a rebuild which could see them trade franchise cornerstone Paul Goldschmidt, so non-tendering a starter owed a projected $4.9 million was a no brainer.
It’s hard to tell what a player like Miller will command as a free agent. The one thing we can say for sure, though, is that it is unlikely to be very much. The 2015 All-Star has plenty to prove before any front offices will be throwing long-term, guaranteed deals his way.
The flip side is that Miller is a low-risk option. For a team that are, let’s say, not World Series contenders, he is a win-win. A short-term, low-money deal cannot really go wrong if winning is not the be all and end all.
He is a project, and there are a lot of teams in Major League Baseball that can afford to take a swing on a player like Miller. The Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants immediately come to mind as landing spots who can give Miller a chance with little to lose.
If they cannot bring 2015 Miller back, he gets DFA’d in July and the organisation move on. If he is at least a useful starter, he could bring something back in a trade to a contender.
Of course, this all depends on what money Miller would accept. Maybe he is one of those veterans – like many last season – who have to wait for a Spring Training invite. He might not be the most exciting name of the offseason, but it is one worth keeping an eye on.