Fellow Brandywine Heights Area High School product Wade Miller may be a lost cause for the Chicago Cubs, the Sun-Times has reported. On rehab assignment in Iowa, his velocity has been clocked in the low-80s and his breaking pitch hasn't been effective. [Link]
A native of Topton, Berks County, the 30-year-old right-hander signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal to stay with the Cubs this offseason and won the fifth starter job in spring training. He made three starts (0-3, 10.54 ERA) before landing on the disabled list April 23 with back spasms.
According to the latest report, the Cubs might option Miller to Triple-A Iowa, or they could release him. Club GM Jim Hendry said he's open to an arrangement that would allow him to catch on with another club.
Miller has never been the same since severing his rotator cuff in 2004. In 2005, the Astros non-tendered the former 16-game winner and he was picked up by the Red Sox, finishing 4-4 with a 4.95 ERA. The Cubs signed him to an incentive-laden deal in 2006. Still recovering from shoulder surgery, he didn’t see action with the club until Sept. 9.
At this junction, his career is flaming out. It sounds as though he and the Cubs have some choices to make. In nine seasons, he’s 62-46 with a 4.10 ERA. The last I heard, he was living in the southern Berks area. Perhaps there’s a match to stuff him in the Phillies’ system as veteran inventory, or keep him in mind next season as a cheap backup plan when Jon Lieber and Freddy Garcia test free agency.