In what would be the team’s first free-agent signing of the offseason, the Dodgers agreed to terms Tuesday on a major league contract with pitcher Shelby Miller, pending a physical.
Miller, 32, is a 10-year veteran and former All-Star starter who has transitioned to the bullpen in recent seasons and appeared in four games with the San Francisco Giants in 2022.
He has a career 4.21 ERA and hasn’t pitched in more than 19 games in a season since 2016.
Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle last week he had received multiple big league offers after becoming a free agent. The Dodgers apparently emerged as his preferred destination. And now, he looks to be in line for a depth role in the bullpen.
The one-year deal, which Miller confirmed in an Instagram post, was first reported by the Athletic. According to ESPN, it is worth $1.5 million guaranteed, plus performance bonuses.
A former first-round pick out of high school in Texas who was an All-Star with the Atlanta Braves in 2015, Miller has struggled to stick in the majors for much of the last half-decade.
After being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte ahead of the 2016 season, Miller battled injuries and struggled mightily over the next three years before becoming a free agent in 2018.
He spent 2019 with the Texas Rangers, where he began making regular relief appearances for the first time. He opted out of the pandemic-altered 2020 season while with the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in 17 games with the Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs in the two years since.
Though his ERA in the majors as a reliever is 6.34, Miller had some success in the minor leagues the last two years, posting a 2.90 ERA while averaging more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings in 56 triple-A appearances.
In his brief stint with the Giants at the end of last season, he struck out 14 batters in seven innings, flashing a new-look arsenal centered on a slider that the right-hander added in 2021.
With the Dodgers, Miller probably won’t be thrust into a high-leverage role. The team is bringing back breakout star Evan Phillips, veteran Daniel Hudson (who is expected to be ready for the season after tearing a knee ligament in June) and other key relievers such as Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol and Yency Almonte.
But as a veteran with the ability to pitch multiple innings, Miller still fits a mold the team has sought in recent seasons — a low-risk, high-upside addition who could help fortify its depth entering the new year.