Quick Take Wade Miley, LHP
Like Z, our new GM has nothing against Funky-Lookin


Enough of the dirge.  Here's a Missile Command-style Wiki stub on Wade Miley.  Before the 2015 season -- during which Miley pitched as he always has pitched -- BaseballHQ summed up his 2014 season:


From 2012 to 2014, his ERA eroded while his xERA improved. What do you believe? Skills, of course.

FpK (first pitch strike % - Dr. D) gives hope that Ctl (walk rate - Dr. D) will rebound (from 3.4 back to 2.9, which it did, exactly - Dr. D).

1st half woes were caused by poor S% and hr/f, which corrected in the 2nd half and should stabilize.

In the end, this is a league-average pitcher. No more, no less. 


Miley has 4 average pitches.  He mixes them up, changes speeds, pitches ahead in the count.  Dr. D appreciates the John Smiley template in a left hand pitcher; as Bill James said, "It's been workin' for a hundred years, and in a hundred years, it'll still be workin'."

His homer rate is good, 0.88 lifetime when 1.12 is more like league average.  He held his HR rate down to 0.79 even as a lefty in Fenway; there are a few lefties around who didn't.  You get it?  You've got a pitcher here who doesn't make many mistakes.  He doesn't beat himself with walks or HR's; the opponents have got to beat him.  Which they often do; Miley has 49 wins and 46 losses in his career.

Don't worry about last year's ERA.  Boston.  It's a Happ/Safeco type marriage we're looking at.

Dr. D believes that BaseballHQ was a shade the curmudgeonly on Wade Miley's assessment; rather than "league average no more no less" I would call him "solid-average at least, with maybe a 16-win season in him somewhere down the line."  Here is an MLB.com video that will give you a feel for it.  Odd to see a stocky pitcher with short arms, pitching in a loose style.  But Miley can certainly get enemy hitters onto the back foot.


Here we go again:  Miley is a sideways move to Roenis Elias, but is more "usable."  Elias has three pitches which can be vicious, but he's going to go through some growing pains.  Wade Miley is a finished, polished "solid-average" and he'll do well in Safeco.  DiPoto once again converted "erratic and exciting" to "reliable", given the same approximate xFIPs on both starters.  Would Dr. D pay Carson Smith as vigorish for the privilege of swapping sideways but getting your "style" of ballplayer?   UGH.

But, objectively speaking, a Japanese franchise probably would do that.  There's a case to be made for "precise and reliable" as opposed to "powerful and laden with potential."

Riddle me this:  How much did Darren O'Day get, again?  How many years of club control did Carson Smith have yet?  

RHP Salary 2015 WAR
O'Day 4 / $31M 1.8
Smith $0.5M 2.1

Oh well whatever never mind.  When you hold your parade you definitely do not want people crediting the players to the previous GM.


Miley is an obvious Seattle comparison to J.A. Happ, but you can relax a bit.  Miley is comfortably better than Happ.  I hope the writing isn't on the wall, though, for the Paxton-Lind deal.  James Paxton is also powerful and unreliable.  As was Randy Johnson in 1991.  Dr. D prefers the Wilhelmsen-Kivelhan/platoon CF deal to this one, but if we don't give up Paxton and Furbush for Adam Lind he'll call it even on the winter.

Miley makes $6M this year and $9M next year, so that's a good portion of Iwakuma's / Chen's salary.  First take, it feels like Hisashi Iwakuma and Darren O'Day for --- > the privilege of swapping sideways on Miley and Elias.  This new GM of ours REALLY likes predictability in his players.


Dr D




On the day, Kuma + O'Day (Smith) + Elias for Miley.  We been fleeced.

And if Dip's rationale for not going one more year for Kuma is 'sustainability', it will be interesting to see how he rationalizes what he gives up for one year of Lind.


If it wasn't clear before, I do think that Miley is worth 1.2x Roenis Elias if you don't consider salary.  And it's fair to argue that Miley would get 4/$65M on the FA market or something.  Miley is apparently DiPoto's variation on a Chen purchase.

Also, Dr. D has a lot of respect for $/WAR analysis.  He objects only when Fangraphs authors push it forward as the ONLY perspective on a trade.

That said, a commenter did the analysis for us, in the thread to Jeff Sullivan's article about the trade.  If you analyze this trade AT ALL from a cost-effectiveness standpoint, there is no possible conclusion other than that the trade is a howler.  One of the worst in recent history.


Carson Smith is controlled for 5 more seasons. He currently costs $500k per year and will be inexpensive for 3 more years, and reasonably priced for 2 more years after that. He was an elite-level reliever last year providing 2.1 WAR. He was penciled in as the #1 or #2 reliever in the bullpen. He is 26 years old. He has no injury history.

Roenis Elias is controlled for 5 more seasons. He currently costs $500k per year and will be inexpensive for 3 more years, and reasonably priced for 2 more years after that. He was a fringe #5 started for the last 2 years in a part time role, and provided approximately 1.2 WAR per 200 IP. He was penciled in as the #5 or #6 starter. He is 27 years old. He has no injury history.

Wade Miley is controlled for 2 more seasons. He currently costs $6M, and $9M next year. He has averaged 2.5 WAR per season as a starter in a #3 to #5 starter role. He is 29 years old. He has no injury history.

Jonathan Aro is controlled for 5 more seasons. He currently costs $500k per year and will be inexpensive for 3 more years, and reasonably priced for 2 more years after that. He is doesn’t make anyone’s top 10 prospect list in the Red Sox organization. He’s considered a lottery ticket. He is 25 years old. I don’t believe he has injury history.

Elite relievers are currently receiving approximately $9M per year on the open market. That would make Smith worth an estimated $35M surplus value over the 5 remaining years of control.

Starting pitching is going for about $8M per WAR on the open market. That would make Miley worth an estimated $25M surplus value over the 2 remaining years of control. That would make Elias worth an estimated $33M surplus value over the 5 remaining years of control.

Even if you value Aro as $10M surplus value (which I think is way, way higher than reality), the total net of this trade is $33M value in Boston’s favor.

Lastly, this also moves out another key piece from the bullpen, which began the offseason as a major weakness.

None of this is fact, it is opinion backed by available market cost data and projections. That is acknowledged. Hopefully this provides a satisfactory level of detail.


As you know, Sully is my fave offsite author.  One thing I don't get is that he persistently refers to Elias as a bit part in trade scenarios.

In 2014, Elias won 10 games, went 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA and a 3.95 FIP.  He fanned 7.9 men per game, had a sub-1.0 homer rate, and had the #23 xFIP in the league.

Last year, he fell out of favor but still threw 115 competitive innings, with an xFIP of 4.39.

Where is this coming from, that Elias is merely an interesting prospect?  He has started 50 games in the majors with quality results, a 7+ strikeout rate, and tons of upside.  Why is this kid not regarded a big net-$ asset?


You could figure Elias for 170 innings, if you stuck him in the Seattle rotation and left him there. Probably more, actually...but let's make it 170.  Miley gives you 200.  Miley has a career .97 GB's to FB's.  Elias has a .84.  Miley walks 2,8 per 9, Elias 3.5.  Over the last three years, Miley has allowed a OPS of .727, .746, 740.  Elias has allowed .713 and .730 for us.  He had no Home/Away split in '15 and a very small one in '14.

So in a typical start, Miley might walk half a batter less (also K'ing half a batter less) and get half a GB more.

Right now, that's it.  I will admit, I like guys who throw 200 innings each and every.  I will also admit that I struggling to see how Miley's 30 more innings are SO much better than Elias that you're willing to give up $27M (3 yrs) and Carson Smith to get them.

Aro?  His AA/AAA numbers in '15 were right about what Smith racked up in the bigs.  Does his game (FB/SL/Change....throwing the FB 70% of the time in Boston) translate as well as Smith's?  Who knows.

I imagine the whole trade came down to Dipoto offering Elias for Miley and Boston, smelling the blood in the water and a GM needing a "reliable" starter, said the deal could be done if Smith was included.  And we bit.

BTW, looks like Texas is peddling Moreland:  Do they see our man Kivlehan at 1B on Opening Day?

OK...pointing out the obvious:  For the Miley salary, we could have had Elias, 'Kuma and Smith.

There will be teams that roll out a lot worse rotations than we will.  Felix, Walker, Karns, Miley, Paxton is potentially pretty dang good.

Go team.  But I'm scratching my head on the value of those 30 extra innings and a GB here and there.

In Miley's 32 starts last season, he went 7 or more innings 11 times and less than 6 innings 9 times.  By my count, he went 6+ innings with 3 or less ER's 17 times.  He'll give you a quality start.

As Doc is pointing out, we're paying for reliablity. 


As so many have been today.  I like your suspicion that --- > once Boston showed interest in Elias, DiPoto got over-eager about the deal and couldn't resist even when Carson Smith became the vigorish on the swap.

For me, the difference in salaries Elias/Miley is bigger than the difference in their performance.  I would NOT have traded you Roenis Elias for Wade Miley.  I'd have let Elias pitch.


BTW Moe, I think I read that Aro was Boston's #26 prospect.  Perfectly decent Grade C+ minor league prospect.  Which means very little in this trade.


I wouldn't have made the Elias for Miley trade, straight up.  The difference (from the numbers) is slight and Elias has some upside that is hard to find in "reliable" Miley.  And then you have Smith + $27M to chuck around.


If this GM is obsessed with predictability...how can you call that a stars and scrubs mindset?  That's a serious question...because, to me, stars and scrubs accepts the risk of failure in exchange for the freedom to make changes.  This GM is ossifying the rotation, taking out all of the wobbliness in the defense, paying a premium in talent to get stoploss...that is BAVASI-thinking.


If you want me to respond amigo, gonna have to take it down a notch, especially in the Shout Box.

SSI denizens (like me and you) are weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth :- ) but the difference is:  they're gnashing their teeth at DiPoto, at the loss of players they value.  You're gnashing your teeth at positions that differ from yours.  You're practically daring people to show they're as much "idiots" as DiPoto is.  That ain't the tone SSI is looking for.

As a favorite poster put it to me back channel after he left SSI, I'm not going to offer my opinions and then debate them all ad nauseum with a math major.  You're a sharp guy Matty, not easy to argue with, and when you get angry it can discourage people from joining the discussion, *especially* people *inside* baseball who drop by.


In the articles it's a little different:  you can afford to be emphatic when writing a post that kicks off discussion.  But then in the *interactive* threads, people need to know that if they speak up and disagree, they'll be treated pleasantly and with respect.

Thing to do here is *be aware of* leaving room for others to disagree and yet enjoy the dialogue.

How's about we get that squared away, and then we'll talk.


The whole point of following sports is to get enjoyment, to be happier. However, when there are posters who are consistently angry, insulting or vitriolic, it really poisons the atmosphere. It really is frustrating to follow a team when doing so means having to listen to constant negativity which sucks the fun out of it. Yes, I understand part of being a sports fan means getting upset occasionally, but getting angry doesn't actually achieve anything. Watching the team lose games and make mistakes is painful enough, having fellow fans spew toxic emotions only makes things worse.

So I'd like to ask Matt to be less emotional when he posts, providing more sober analysis and less shooting-from-the-hip. And if he is especially heated, to think about stepping away until he has cooled off enough to post with out being angry. I'm not saying this out of some holier-than-thou attitude, but as someone who used to be really bad about how I acted online and has had to dramatically change my ways so I'm not so negative and hostile towards others.


i don't mind the instant reactions, it's fair enough, I'd only say to keep it within one shout rather than shout after shout. 


If enjoyment is that way, I'd have been be a Patriots fan or a Yankees fan.

The magic dust for sports is that we get passionate about it.

I can't discredit Matt's passion for his angle and the Mariners.

It's not like we're sucking on martinis in a jacket-required bar and he's yelling and screaming in cargo shorts and flipflops because of one too many long islands; that's hard to ignore.
When it's text, just throw on your troll glasses and move on.

Not that I'm calling Matt a troll.
I just have a really thick skin when it comes to things in text... And frankly can't give a rat's bum.


Now that the dust is settling, it appears the trade was Miley for Carson Smith, with Elias and Aro balancing the value of starter v. shutdown reliever. That being the case, I wonder why Elias was included. Montgomery is the LH #6 who lacks options; Elias still has one year to bounce up and down as necessary. If I fault Dipoto on this one, it's that he gave up the wrong LH starter. I can only conclude that Montgomery is going to the pen and will be the 2nd LH there. I hope Furbush is ready to go out of ST then. I'm not vehement on this one, but I agree Elias was undervalued.


Dipoto's got 'em.  I still don't quite get it but I think I'm zeroing in on it and I'm trying to read a variety of opinions.  I'm trying to see the Dark Side of the deal.  I"m trying to learn.  I've tried to look a bit deeper.

As I said above, a reliable 200 innings is a pretty nice thing to have, especially when it is pumping out sub-4 FIPs like a German clock.  Miley does that.  I will remind you that Boston gives up 1.2 runs at Fenway for every 1 run it gave up on the road.  Seattle's .88 to 1.  Considering that, it is not too hard to see Miley's ERA returning to near the 3.5-ish rate he ran in Arizona, or lower.  200 innings of 3.5 ERA would be pretty neat.  Well actually, you could call that Felix '15.  OK, Miley was actually better at home than on the road last year, but much of that had to do with the fact that he walked 10% of the batters he saw on the road, only 5% at home.  Home cooking, perhap.  

OK, I like Elias's upside, a lot.  I think McClendon jacked him around last year.  He was The Skip's red-headed step-child, his whooping boy.  I think he has a higher upside than Miley....but I don't think he has the "reliability" that Miley has.  So, again, we get back to the price or reliability.

Have you guys ever tried to price out a used Subaru (I did this past summer, looking for a SUV with 100K for my daughter to take to college)?  My goodness, the dang things are pricey.  Even non-baseball folks are willing to pay for reliability, or the illusion of it, anyway.

Dipoto just bought his Subaru Outback with 70KL on it.  The price was a bit steep, but he's hoping he gets another 70K at this level of performance.  

I can see that.  Not that I wanted to.

So let me amend my earlier statement:  Once Kuma is gone, then the reliability* (*barring injury, the impossible to predict bugaboo) of Miley becomes more important.  The M's needed the safe bet of a ton of average to better innings.  If Paxton breaks down, then those 200 innings may well save the day. Catch my drift?

Of course, that exists only if Kuma is gone.  I'm not commenting on the botched los of Kuma, mind you.  But he's said "Sayonara" and it's a done deal.  

We need the innings. 

In that light, I'm seeing this in a different way.  OK, I admit it, the Carson Smith vigorish was an overpay.  But I'm not sure that Dipoto didn't find himself in a place where he just had to overpay.  $27M and Elias/Smith for three years...or several bagillion for The Shark, or some such.

Crud.  I hate it when I think about things!!

You've got your Hyundai (Elias) and it is pretty dang sporty.  Do you swap it for the Suburu (Miley) and throw in a few K (Smith).

I'm not saying I like it. But I'm saying I'm beginning to see it.  

If this had been Montgomery and Smith, would I be so concerned?  Hmmmmm...I don't think so. Montgomery does not equal Elias, but he was pretty dang electric for a bit last season.  

I would rather the trade had not happened.  But I wish we had bid on Son, too.  I will miss that Korean slugger this year.

I will continue to chew on this one.  But it is better than I originally thought it was.  Is it a good deal?  It could be decent if Miley find his A+ control, is Arizona Miley and Aro makes our pen. 

There is a premiium on reliability and we just paid it.  Miley had better not blow a gasket!

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