Five facts about new utility man Miller

March 18th, 2022

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers added to their positional depth signing Brad Miller to a two-year deal this week. He fills a much-needed role in the outfield and has shown he can rake against left-handed pitching, posting an .842 OPS in 2021.

Miller will earn $10 million over two years in Texas, adding to a lineup that already includes Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Mitch Garver.

Here are five things to know about Texas’ new utility man:

1) He has prior experience with GM Chris Young and manager Chris Woodward
Miller was selected by Seattle in the second round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Clemson and spent the first five years of his professional career with the Mariners. From 2012-15, Woodward served multiple roles in the Mariners' organization, including as minor league infield coordinator, big league infield coach and first-base coach.

He was also teammates with Young on the Mariners in 2014, which was Young’s lone season in Seattle.

Miller said those relationships, while not the sole reasons, were definitely part of his decision to come to Texas

“I told Chris even last year that I was kind of like, ‘Man, the Rangers didn't call,’” Miller said. “I've been kind of watching from afar and these are obviously exciting times. I think they have a plan. They have a mission. I know Chris very well. He was and is a mentor to me. So for him to be all in on this project, my ears perked up for sure. How can you not be excited?”

2) He was originally drafted by the Rangers, and his first career road game was in Texas
Coming out of Olympia High School in Orlando, Fla., in 2008, the Rangers selected Miller in the 39th round of the MLB Draft. He ultimately decided to attend Clemson and raise his draft stock even more, which worked out three years later.

But it didn’t take long for Miller to make his way to Arlington, though it was as a member of the division-rival Seattle Mariners.

“It was the Fourth of July, and it was insane,” Miller recalled. “And hot. I’m excited about the roof [in the new Globe Life Field] for sure.”

That day, in his fourth career start at shortstop, Miller went 1-for-4 at the plate in the Mariners’ 9-2 win over Texas.

3) He’s excited to build something in Texas
Miller said in his meetings with Young, Woodward and the front office, the vision for the organization was clear. Miller wanted somewhere he could dive all in without any half measures.

He quickly came to the conclusion that this would be the place for that, especially for multiple years.

“The way Chris [Young] and the Rangers were acting was clear that they wanted me to be a part of this and I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to get to sign a multi-year deal, and not just be a quote, unquote rental,” Miller explained. “I want to be able to hopefully be here for a long time and build something. That was really exciting.”

4) He’s been known as Bryce Harper’s hype man
“Miller’s fired me up every single day,” Harper said during his NL MVP acceptance speech. “He got me going each day. He was kind of my hype man. It was a lot of fun being able to have [him] in my corner.”

Miller said it had become a weird transition for him going from a young guy to being a veteran on a roster. In Philadelphia, he began to embrace that role and become a vocal leader in that clubhouse.

With the Rangers, he hopes to bring that same energy.

“I definitely think I'm always trying to just put my best foot forward and be a good example,” Miller said. “This is definitely something here where we have a bunch of young guys that are really hungry, that do things the right way and they're receptive. Hopefully, I can come in and just be a positive influence.”

5) While he’ll mainly play in the outfield, he’s ready to slot in anywhere
Throughout his nine-year big league career, Miller has played every position except pitcher and catcher. Though he was drafted as a shortstop, he’s as versatile as they come and can no doubt play a number of positions for the Rangers this season.

Woodward said he would like to mainly focus Miller in left field, but he can back up any of the infield positions if a guy needs an off-day or if matchups favor him.

“I embrace playing everywhere,” Miller said. “Obviously, last year in Philly, it was kind of depending on where the roster was. I am very opportunistic. I want to be ready at every spot. As far as the opportunity, I'm coming in here hungry. I definitely want to come in here and push the pace a little bit and hop right into the competition.”