Cincinnati Reds: Dallas Keuchel signing reveals bargain for Wade Miley

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 04: Wade Miley #20 of the Houston Astros reacts while exiting the game after getting into a jam in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners during their game at T-Mobile Park on June 04, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - JUNE 04: Wade Miley #20 of the Houston Astros reacts while exiting the game after getting into a jam in the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners during their game at T-Mobile Park on June 04, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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There were a few prominent left-handers available this winter. After seeing Dallas Keuchel’s deal, the Cincinnati Reds have a bargain in Wade Miley.

While fans in Cincinnati wait in anticipation for a trade between the Indians and Reds, the Chicago White Sox picked up left-hander Dallas Keuchel on three-year deal. Keuchel’s contract with the White Sox reveals the potential bargain the Cincinnati Reds have in the recent signing of starting pitcher Wade Miley.

The Reds inked Miley to a two-year deal worth $15M. To be exact, Miley is owed $6M for the upcoming season, $8M in 2021, and the team has a $10M option for 2022 with a $1M buyout. Keuchel’s reported deal with Chicago is three-years/$55M. The exact terms of the deal are not yet known, but the annual average value of Keuchel’s contract is $18.3M.

Miley’s $7.5M AAV is considerably less, and fellow left-hander Madison Bumgarner just signed a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks with an AAV of $17M. While both Keuchel and Bumgarner have a few more achievements behind their names, the production of late is very similar to that of Wade Miley.

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Last season, though he only pitched in 16 games, Dallas Keuchel went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA while playing for the AL East Champion Atlanta Braves. Madison Bumgarner put together a season with a 9-9 record while owning an ERA of 3.90. Miley, who signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros last offseason, went 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts.

Miley’s ERA+ of 116 was higher than that of Bumgarner (107), and just shy of Keuchel’s 121 ERA+. Go a little deeper into the advanced analytical statistics, and you’ll see that Bumgarner leads the way in FIP with 3.90. Miley’s 4.51 FIP is higher than Keuchel’s, who saw a drastic jump from 3.69 in 2018 to 4.72 in 2019.

According to FanGraphs, Miley’s strikeout rate, K/9 and HR/9 are all better than Keuchel’s. Bumgarner bests Miley in terms of strikeout-rate and K/9, while his HR/9 (1.30) is just slightly higher than Miley’s (1.24). None of this information is meant to downgrade the signings of Keuchel and Bumgarner, but rather to show the value Cincinnati received in signing Miley.

While the Reds are oftentimes criticized for not spending enough money in free agency, or making poor financial decisions, the contract with Wade Miley would appear, on the surface, to be a bargain based on the numbers all three players have put up in recent seasons.

Even a quick look at wins above replacement (WAR), will show how cost-effective the Reds signing of Wade Miley was. Bumgarner had a 4.9 WAR over the past two seasons with Keuchel’s 4.7 WAR coming in just behind. Miley’s 3.5 WAR is not as impressive, yet, with an AAV of $10M less than both Keuchel and Bumgarner, it’s hard to argue that Cincinnati didn’t make a shrewd signing.

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Will Wade Miley have the same impact on the Reds rotation that Keuchel and Bumgarner are likely to have on their respective clubs? Eh, probably not, but he doesn’t’ need to. Right now, Miley is being viewed as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter. All things considered, it appears that Cincinnati made an astute signing that still allows the front office to make more moves this winter.