Shelby Miller and Tigers agree to $3.25M, 1-year contract that could be worth $11M for 2 years

FILE - Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Shelby Miller delivers during the third inning in Game 1 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Oct. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. Miller agreed Friday, Dec. 22, to a $3.25 million, one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers, a deal including a 2025 team option and performance bonuses that could be worth up to $11 million over two seasons if he closes regularly. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File) (Ashley Landis, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

DETROIT – In an AL Central that appears to be wide open, the Detroit Tigers added Shelby Miller to their pitching staff following deals with Kenta Maeda, Jack Flaherty and Andrew Chafin.

“He has the pure stuff to pitch at the very back end of our bullpen,” Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris said after the deal with the 33-year-old right-hander was announced Friday.

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“He has the versatility to pitch multiple innings if we need him to and he has the mentality to do whatever A.J. needs to help us wins,” Harris added, referring to manager A.J. Hinch.

Miller is guaranteed $3.25 million and the deal includes a 2025 team option and performance bonuses that could be worth up to $11 million over two seasons if he closes regularly.

Miller was 3-0 with one save and a 1.71 ERA in 35 relief appearances and one start for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season, striking out 42 and walking 19 in 42 innings. He didn't pitch for the Dodgers from June 15 to Aug. 31 because of neck pain.

His fastball averaged 93.7 mph last season and Miller increased his fastball usage to 59% from 48% while dropping sliders from 47% to 17% and developing a new splitter he used 24% of the time. The splitter averaged a 31.4-inch vertical drop.

“We did a lot of work watching a lot of video from the 2023 season, and his mix is very different now than it was even as recently as 2022,” Harris said. “It helps him play that north-south game that plays to both right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters.”

Selected 19th overall by St. Louis in the 2009 amateur draft, Miller was an All-Star with Atlanta in 2015. He is 41-58 with a 4.08 ERA in 11 seasons with the Cardinals (2012-14), the Braves (2015), Arizona (2016-18), Texas (2019), the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh (both 2021), San Francisco (2022) and the Dodgers. He sat out the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Making a push to improve in what appears to be a winnable AL Central, the Tigers exercised outfielder Mark Canha’s $11.5 million option, and reached agreements with Flaherty ($14 million for one year), Maeda ($24 million for two years) and Chafin ($4.75 million for one year).

Miller has a $3 million salary for next season, and the Tigers have a $4.25 million option for 2025 with a $250,000 buyout.

His option price can increase to $5.65 million based on his 2024 workload: $600,000 for games and $800,000 for games finished. It would go up by $100,000 each for 50, 55 and 60 games and $150,000 apiece for 65 and 70, plus $200,000 each for 40, 45, 50 and 55 games finished.

Miller can earn $1,175,000 annually in performance bonuses, including $575,000 for games and $600,000 for games finished. He would get $100,000 each for 50, 55 and 60 games, $125,000 for 65 and $150,000 for 70. He also would get $150,000 each for 40, 45, 50 and 55 games finished.

Detroit designated catcher Donny Sands for assignment, opening a roster spot.



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