Late last night, news broke that Japanese superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto was signing with the Dodgers. Although multiple teams were still in on him until the final buzzer, he eventually followed in Shohei Ohtani's footsteps and went to LA, becoming their third superstar addition of the offseason after Tyler Glasnow signed a five-year extension.
The Detroit Tigers, who have had a respectable offseason themselves and were at one point connected to Yamamoto, responded to the signing this morning by making one of their own. Per Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, the Tigers will sign reliever Shelby Miller, formerly of the Dodgers, to a one-year deal with a second-year option pending a physical.
Tigers respond to Yamamoto deal by signing former All-Star starter Shelby Miller
Miller, 33, pitched his 11th major league season with the Dodgers this year for a stellar 1.71 ERA over 42 innings. It seemed a return to form after eight seasons of struggle; from 2016-2022, he pitched 202 2/3 innings for five different teams for a 7.02 ERA, 101 as a starter for the Diamondbacks before he was relegated to a bullpen role. However, from 2013-2015, as a starter for the Cardinals then Braves, Miller placed third in Rookie of the Year voting and was even an All-Star. During those years, he pitched 561 2/3 innings for a 3.27 ERA.
It seemed that Miller's best years were well behind him until he signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers for 2023. They used him out of the bullpen in multiple roles: as a spot reliever, an opener in one game, and most often as a one-two inning middle reliever. His success with the Dodgers could have been a fluke, but the Tigers clearly have reason to believe otherwise in offering him a contract.
Miller will join a Tigers bullpen that is hurting for arms. Andrew Chafin rejoined the team earlier this offseason and Tyler Holton and Jason Foley had great years in 2023, but there simply aren't enough pitchers on standby for the Tigers at the moment. Adding Miller is a step in the right direction.
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