Cincinnati Reds: Expect a much better Wade Miley in 2021

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 27: Wade Miley #22 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 27: Wade Miley #22 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the first inning. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Wade Miley has all the incentive in the world for a bounce-back season with the Reds in 2021.

It’s safe to assume Wade Miley‘s 2020 season did not go how he or the Cincinnati Reds had envisioned. After signing as a free agent before the 2020 campaign, Miley made just one start, and a dreadful one at that, before landing on the injured list with a strained left groin. Unfortunately, that wasn’t Miley’s only trip to the IL during the abbreviated 60-game season.

Once he returned to the active roster, Miley was limited to three starts before going on the shelf again; this time with a left shoulder strain. The timing was terrible for both the Reds and Miley as the southpaw was coming off his best start of the season.

Tossing four shutout innings, Miley allowed just one hit while fanning three Kansas City Royals in the nightcap of an August 27th twin bill in which the Cincinnati Reds captured a 6-0 victory. It would be the fourth and final start of the season for the 33-year-old Cajun.

Finally, returning to the mound for the final week of the season after missing nearly a month’s worth of action, Miley worked two scoreless frames in as many outings from the bullpen. Despite the various ailments that derailed him last season, there’s reason to believe Miley will look much closer to the pitcher the Reds hoped they were receiving for the 2020 season.

For starters, there’s Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson. Under Johnson’s tutelage during the 2018 season in Milwaukee, Miley was simply lights out over 16 starts. Tossing 80.2 innings, the left-hander allowed just 71 hits and surrendered only three home runs. Add a sparkling 2.57 ERA and a 159 ERA+; it goes without saying that Johnson was able to pull the very best out of Miley.

Next, for all intents and purposes, Wade Miley is pitching for perhaps his final contract. At 34-years old and, the Reds holding a $10M team option for the 2022 season, barring a miracle, this will be Miley’s final season in the Queen City. He’ll be auditioning not only to secure his place in the Redlegs rotation but for other clubs as well beyond the 2021 campaign.

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Put it all together, and the stars align for Miley to be an integral and effective member of the Cincinnati Reds 2021 pitching staff. Following the departure of Anthony DeSclafani and the impending loss of Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley offers the Reds a solid veteran starter to anchor the backend of the rotation.