Miley agrees to deal with Brewers -- thanks to son's advice

Crew also reportedly in agreement with veteran right-hander Joe Ross

December 4th, 2023

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After spending the past month testing the waters in free agency and pondering whether he wanted to keep going into his age-37 season, left-hander is coming back to the Brewers.

Miley on Monday finalized a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2025. Terms of the deal were not announced, but the contract guarantees $8.5 million, a source told Miley will earn $7 million in 2024, with $2.5 million more available in incentives for innings pitched, and the 2025 option would pay $12 million, with a $1.5 million buyout.

Miley also has a 10-team, limited no-trade clause in this deal. If he is dealt, he would get a $1 million assignment bonus.

News of the deal comes one month after Miley declined his half of a $10 million mutual option in his previous deal with Milwaukee. He got a $1 million buyout and a chance to shop his services on the open market.

"The first thing is, I needed to really reflect on whether I was 100% going to play again. That's more so what went into it than where," Miley said via telephone from American Family Field after passing a physical. "I love it here. My family loves it here."

Speaking of family, it was Miley's son, Jeb, who made the final call. Miley -- who has already pitched for the Brewers, Cubs and Reds among his eight MLB teams -- knew he wanted to stay in the National League Central, and he indicated he had some interest from multiple teams. Jeb Miley, who is close with the youngest sons of new Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy, told his dad he should stick with the Brewers.

"My son said I had to play for the Brewers or retire," said Miley, whose wife is expecting another son in February. "So that was it."

This is Miley’s third time signing a deal with the Brewers, for whom he first pitched in 2018. After he returned for 2023, he was 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 120 1/3 innings spanning 23 starts.

A veteran of 13 Major League seasons, Miley is a popular clubhouse presence and provides needed innings for a starting rotation in some flux. The Brewers have Freddy Peralta and Colin Rea signed for 2024, and Corbin Burnes and Adrian Houser have one more arbitration year remaining. (Rea re-signed last month after briefly reaching free agency.)

The Brewers opted to non-tender longtime ace Brandon Woodruff because he is expected to miss the 2024 season following right shoulder surgery. And left-hander Aaron Ashby’s status is in limbo -- "He's progressing," Murphy said on Monday -- after he missed all of ’23 with a left shoulder injury. Another potential innings option is right-hander Joe Ross, the 2011 first-round pick of the Nationals who has reportedly agreed to terms with the Brewers on a one-year deal, according to a report from Robert Murray of FanSided.

The Brewers didn't confirm any agreement with Ross. It would be contingent on a physical exam -- a particularly critical step in this case, since Ross underwent his second Tommy John surgery in 2022 and didn't pitch in '23. That exam isn't expected to be completed until after the Winter Meetings.

For Miley, though, the deal is done. When Miley was healthy -- he was on the injured list for a left lat strain in May and June and for left elbow discomfort just after the All-Star break -- he was as effective as ever. Miley allowed one earned run or fewer in 12 of his 23 starts and fewer than four earned runs in all but three of his outings.

"He's much more than just a pitcher. He means so much to a team," Murphy said. "He's incredible in the clubhouse. He's a guy who makes others better."

The feeling was mutual, Miley said.

"They do a lot of great stuff here," said Miley, who said he was happy to stay with Murphy and Brewers pitching coaches Chris Hook and Jim Henderson. "Midway through the year last year, the whole diet change and more of a routine, my body got to feeling really good. I understood that if I can keep this up, I could contribute to do this at a high level.

"I feel really good right now. I've been working out, I've been taking care of myself and I'm looking forward to going into the season. It's going to sound crazy, but I want to make 30 starts. I don't see why not."