Would a reunion with Wade Miley make sense for the Arizona Diamondbacks?

The Arizona Diamondbacks need some starting pitching, but would a reunion with veteran lefty Wade Miley make sense?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies / Doug Pensinger/GettyImages

Wade Miley was an Arizona Diamondbacks' starting pitcher from 2011 through 2014. He pitched 638.2 innings, including back-to-back 200+ frame campaigns in '13-'14, with a solid 3.79 ERA, 3.79 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP. In the 2014-2015 off-season, the Diamondbacks traded Miley to the Boston Red Sox for three players.

It's been about a decade since Miley last threw a pitch in a Diamondbacks' uniform. He has pitched for seven different teams, including the Red Sox, since the trade. But with the Diamondbacks needing some starting pitching, a reunion with the lefty may make sense for the Snakes.

Last year, Miley pitched 120.1 innings for the Milwaukee Brewers, pitching to a 3.14 ERA, 4.69 FIP, and 1.14 WHIP. Miley's 16.1% strikeout rate is the lowest single-season rate he's put up outside of his 40-inning sample size in '11. Miley's HR/9 was slightly better than average at 1.20, and his walk rate clocked in a shade below 8% at 7.8%.

Miley has always been above average at limiting hard contact, and 2023 was no different. Miley was in the 83rd percentile of average exit velocity at 87.3 MPH and was even better in hard-hit rate. Clocking in with a 31.3% rate, the veteran lefty was in the 93rd percentile. While his barrel rate of 7.6% wasn't nearly as highly regarded as his exit velo or hard-hit rate, he was still in the above-average 54th percentile.

The only knock on Miley is that he's getting older, and he had some ugly numbers under the hood. Next year will be Miley's age-37 season, and he had a 5.04 SIERA, 4.85 xFIP, and a DRA- of 118. Both his xFIP and DRA- were the two worst remarks of his career. In Miley's defense, he's consistently had a good ERA with less than impressive underlying metrics. From 2018 through 2022, he had a 3.50 ERA but a 4.33 xFIP 4.67 SIERA, and his lowest DRA- was 103, when his ERA- through this five-season span was 80.

So, what kind of contract are we potentially looking at here? Miley only signed for $3.5 million with a $10 million mutual option and a $1 million buyout. However, both sides declined their end of the mutual option, so Miley received the buyout and re-entered the market. I think he will, at the very least, meet his mutual option value, which would be a one-year deal at $9 million. That seems about right for a mid-to-back-of-the-rotation pitcher of Miley's caliber and age.

That's a reasonable price for any team. But overall, does Miley make sense for the Diamondbacks? I don't think Miley should be the Diamondbacks' number-one free-agent starting pitching target. I would like to hope they'd aim a little higher to secure the rotation. But I think Miley makes total sense for the Diamondbacks as their number four or five starter next year behind Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, Brandon Pfaadt, and another addition via free agency or trade.