Shortly after announcing Jackson Chourio’s record-breaking extension at the Winter Meetings on Monday, the Brewers made a pair of signings to bolster their pitching depth, re-signing Wade Miley and inking Joe Ross to a major league contract.
Ken Rosenthal reports that Miley’s agreement is a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2025. According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, it includes a base salary of $7 million with incentives. Miley’s mutual option is worth $12 million with a $1.5 buyout.
The terms are similar to Miley’s last contract with the Brewers, another one-year pact with a mutual option signed last January. This time, Miley is guaranteed $8.5 million, nearly double his $4.5 million guarantee from the previous year.
Miley earned that raise with a strong season in the middle of the rotation. He worked 120 1⁄3 innings across 23 starts, posting a 3.14 ERA.
His 4.69 FIP, 4.36 xERA, and 5.48 DRA clocked in much higher than his surface-level results, but Miley has consistently overperformed his peripherals over the last six seasons by limiting hard contact. His 31.3% hard hit rate placed him in the 93rd percentile of pitchers in 2023, a strength that played exceptionally well with the Brewers’ elite defense.
That formula should lead to more success in 2024 when Miley can take the mound. He’s entering his age-37 season and has battled many injuries over the last four years, including a pair of stints on the injured list in 2023. It’s best to expect a reduction from last season’s workload.
Miley and fellow returner Colin Rea currently slot into the back of the rotation behind Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Adrian Houser. Prospect Robert Gasser also figures to factor into the equation at some point in 2024.
News of Miley’s return broke a few minutes after Robert Murray reported that the Brewers agreed to a major-league deal with right-hander Joe Ross.
Ross was a first-round pick of the San Diego Padres in 2011 and pitched to a 4.26 ERA across parts of six seasons with the Washington Nationals. He missed the entire 2022 season after undergoing the second Tommy John surgery of his career. Ross signed with the San Francisco Giants last season and made eight late-season appearances in the minor leagues.
Ross is primarily a sinker-slider pitcher but also mixes in a four-seam fastball and a changeup. The average velocity on his sinker improved from 93.5 mph to 95.9 mph when he returned from surgery last summer.
Ross has pitched mainly as a starter, but his most straightforward path to innings in Milwaukee may be out of the bullpen. Pitching in shorter stints would allow him to focus on a two-pitch mix and help him maintain his velocity gain from last season.
Ross has more than six years of MLB service time and cannot be optioned to the minor leagues.