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Cubs sign LHP Trever Miller to a minor league deal

Cubs sign LHP Trever Miller to a minor league deal

For those of you starving for some real news (and who isn't?), the Cubs made a minor move today in signing 38 year old lefty relief specialist Trever Miller to a minor-league deal. It's likely just a depth move, but could have other implications.

If there's one thing the Cubs seem to have in great quantity it's young, MLB ready left-handed relievers.  It allowed them to part with Marshall to get 3 good young players, could this move make the Cubs a bit more flexible as well?

The Cubs have James Russell as a shoo-in for the pen at the major league level and from there it's a battle between quality reliever prospects John Gaub, Scott Maine, and Jeff Beliveau.  At first glance it seems like the Cubs don't need another lefty out of the pen, but Gaub and Maine have had command issues to straighten out and Beliveau has yet to pitch above the AA level.  Even the "veteran" James Russell has only parts of two seasons experience and he is expected to take on a more important, late inning role this season.  It would seem the Cubs would need some veteran depth regardless of what happens.

It's also possible that the Cubs could lose one of the lefties as compensation to the Red Sox or Padres.  The Padres were known to be interested in Sean Marshall and James Russell earlier, so perhaps they are still looking for a lefty bullpen arm.  Jim Callis of BA speculated a couple months ago that Beliveau would make a good (and realistic) compensation choice for Boston.

Miller's role will be to provide insurance as a lefty specialist.  He last pitched for Boston  but spent most of the season with the Cardinals where he pitched 39 games totaling 15.2 innings and a 4.02 ERA (though he was far more effective vs. LH hitters).  He had a 3.80 ERA overall last season has a lifetime mark of 3.74.

 

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    Hey John, I have to agree that this is just a depth move with no real impacts yet. It could mean that a guy like Maine gets shipped to San Diego like you said. I really like what I have seen from Beliveau so far. He had an outstanding ERA last year, although that was just AA. If that can translate to the majors he would be a really good young lefty out of the pen though. At the very least, Miller provides a solid veteran option as a lefty reliever. He is no longer a youngster, but he has been very reliable throughout his career. If Russell, Maine, or Gaub struggle a lot then it would be nice having a proven lefty to put in the pen. I read he has held lefties to a .225 BA over his career. That is pretty good IMO.

  • In reply to Bill Newton:

    Beliveau is the guy I'd like to keep too. Has the least overpowering stuff of the three prospects but is easily the most well-rounded.

    It's probably a depth move, one the Cubs are trying to create at every position this offseason while the talent in the system develop. It's a good strategy, imo. Use the vets in case of an emergency and let the prospect play in the minors until they earn a promotion, not because circumstances dictate they get called up.

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    I think something else to consider here is flipping him for at least something july 31st that will create more competition among the mediocre a ball players. Using the theory that competetion breeds improvement of course, even at that low a level (i.e. theo's intro where he pointed out one way the cubs will experience sustained success is when those kids in the low levels no one talks about develop a new pitch). Teams that are in contention by the deadline have the major pieces most of the time, its that fifth starter to get them through august and september, the utility infielder that can double switch late in games, and that extra lefty you can bring in during the 8th inning when mixing and matching (in this case trevor miller) that they covet since they cost relatively less. Thats what I first thought of when I saw this signing this morning, theo just stockpiling another arm that could be useful to someone else if the cubbies are out of it

  • In reply to Nate Hummel:

    It's something to think about. I'm sure they could get something for him if he pitches well. Not a whole lot, but maybe an A ball arm with a little bit of upside.

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    I'll take that and the competition it creates over nothing, never know where a little fire in a kid's belly will take him if he's got upside

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