Brewers reunite with Miley, add Wilson

January 9th, 2023

MILWAUKEE -- Left-hander , best remembered in Milwaukee for starting consecutive National League Championship Series games for the Brewers in 2018, is back for a return engagement.

On Monday, Miley, 36, agreed to a one-year contract that includes a mutual option for a second season. Terms of the deal were not announced, but it's for $4.5 million, a source told

Miley, who was limited to 37 innings with the Cubs in 2022 because of elbow and shoulder injuries, is one of two pitching pickups for Milwaukee. The Brewers also acquired right-hander and former top 100 prospect from the Pirates for cash last Wednesday.

Both pitchers add depth to a staff that represents the Brewers’ strength, particularly a starting rotation anchored by All-Stars , and , with , and rounding out a deep group.

Recent history suggests Miley can turn that six-man group into seven if he’s healthy, as evidenced by a partial season with the Brewers in 2018, when he had a 2.57 ERA in 16 regular-season starts before scattering two runs over 14 2/3 innings over four starts in that year’s postseason.

Those starts included a gambit in the NLCS against the Dodgers in which Miley, who’d pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 2, started Game 5 in L.A. only to depart after one batter, a move that befuddled the broadcasters and was intended to produce a favorable matchup or two for right-hander Woodruff when he emerged from the bullpen. Whether it was successful or not is debatable: the Dodgers won the game. Miley then started Game 6 back in Milwaukee and pitched into the fifth inning of a Brewers victory that pushed the series to a decisive Game 7.

Since then, Miley has pitched for the Astros, Reds and Cubs. He had a 3.98 ERA in 33 starts for Houston in 2019 and a 3.37 ERA in 28 starts for Cincinnati in ’21, including a no-hitter against Cleveland.

But his 2022 season was ruined by injuries. Miley pitched nine times for the Cubs, including eight starts, and finished with a 3.16 ERA in 37 innings. He had two stints on the IL for elbow issues during the first half of the year, then he returned on June 10 and suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him again until September.

Miley's agreement with the Brewers reportedly includes incentives for durability. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the pitcher would get $3.5 million in 2023 and a $10 million mutual option for ’24 with a $1 million buyout, plus an extra $150,000 for 75 innings in the first season of the deal, then $350,000 for 100 innings, $500,000 for 125 innings and another $500,000 for 150 innings.

Over the weekend, the Brewers traded reliever Justin Topa to the Mariners, opening a 40-man spot for Miley. To make room for Wilson, the club designated right-handed reliever Trevor Kelley for assignment on Wednesday.

Wilson, who reached the Majors as a 20-year-old with the Braves in 2018, made a splash as a 22-year-old when he was thrust into Atlanta’s rotation in a pinch and delivered six innings of one-run ball in Game 4 of the ’20 NL Championship Series, outpitching Clayton Kershaw for a win that temporarily put the Braves one victory from the World Series. He was dealt to the Pirates at the following Trade Deadline, but still hasn’t enjoyed sustained success in the big leagues, going 9-17 with a 5.54 ERA in 56 games, including 43 starts.

The Brewers faced Wilson on a handful of occasions last season, when he compiled a 5.52 ERA over a career-high 25 games, 20 starts and 115 2/3 innings with the Pirates. The 25-year-old began to incorporate a split fastball near the end of the year and finished stronger (4.77 ERA after the All-Star break) than he started.

Wilson is out of Minor League options. The easier path is to the Brewers bullpen, since the team is relatively deep in the starting pitching department at the moment.

"He is a former top prospect with good pedigree and has the opportunity to compete for a spot on our Opening Day roster," general manager Matt Arnold said. "He is still young with Major League experience as both a starter and reliever, and we believe he can be a solid depth addition to our pitching unit."