Analyzing the Detroit Tigers' move to sign Shelby Miller

Detroit Tigers adding Shelby Miller has more value than meets the eye.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Shelby Miller during spring training 2023.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Shelby Miller during spring training 2023. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Detroit Tigers signing Shelby Miller has some underlying value.

The Detroit Tigers announced on Friday morning that they had gone out and added a new face for the bullpen. It was not a big name, but it was someone who should be able to carve out a role in Detroit and find ways to bring value to the team's bullpen. Shelby Miller agreed to a one-year deal with the Tigers.

The Detroit Tigers will pay Shelby Miller $3 million on his one-year deal, with a club option for the 2025 season worth $4.25 million. It may not break the bank or be the big move of the off-season, but there could very well be some underlying value for the Tigers here, especially if things go well for Miller in Detroit.

This signing may not pique the interest of most, but the 33-year-old right-handed pitcher may be able to find some value working out of the team's bullpen. The question for Detroit will be how he will be used by the team as a part of their pitching staff. Miller has a big-league pedigree and is no stranger to a big-league pitching staff.

Miller has had some injury issues along the way, but after spending 2023 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Tigers are hoping they can milk some value from him. After all, the Dodgers went out and spent over a billion on three players this off-season. Players like Miller were not exactly in the budget.

Jokes aside, the Tigers see something in Miller, and there might be something there. In 2023, Miller pitched in 36 games, starting one and finishing 12, accumulating 42.0 innings pitched. He managed a 1.71 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP along the way, where he issued 19 walks and struck out 42 opposing hitters.

Miller had a great year in 2023, even in limited use. He found ways to get it done working out of the Dodgers bullpen, and the Tigers are hoping that he can do the same in his new home. He has incentives worked into his deal that will allow him to earn more if he were to earn a spot as a closer, finishing out games. Detroit has to at least hope for the best regarding Miller and his role with the Tigers in 2024.

A revamped version of Miller allows him to get the job done. He's got a three-pitch mix with a simple arsenal. He has the four-seamer, a slider, and a splitter. The four-seamer is quite traditional. His splitter has good dive to it, killing spin well on the pitch. The heater spins up into the 2,300s, and the splitter works the 1,500s. The slider is his other offspeed pitch. He spins it up into the 2,400s, working the low-80s with sweep to it.

Overall, Detroit has a chance to let Chris Fetter work his magic. If the Tigers can get another big year out of Miller after he was solid for the Dodgers in 2023, this deal will be more than worth it. Time will tell, but if he can serve as another useful right-hander in the bullpen, Detroit did a good job with this contract.

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