Yankees hope to ‘unlock’ the All-Star version of new signing

yankees, shelby miller

The New York Yankees announced on Sunday that they signed right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller to a minor league contract, with an invitation to spring training. For all his recent struggles and injury issues, he is still just 31 and may still have something left in the tank.

Miller was a strong Rookie of the Year candidate in 2013, when he posted a 3.06 ERA in 173.1 innings with the St. Louis Cardinals. He won 15 games and struck out nearly a batter per inning that year.

With the Atlanta Braves, Miller posted a 3.02 ERA in 205.1 innings in 2015, earning All-Star honors. After a trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks, however, his career fell apart, and he hasn’t been the same since Tommy John surgery in 2017.

From 2016 to 2021 (except for the 2020 season, which he skipped because of COVID-19 concerns) the former first-round pick has a 7.04 ERA with a 6-22 record in 61 games (195.2 innings).

The Yankees are rolling the dice

The Yankees know that Miller may or may not contribute: he is the definition of a dice roll, a lottery ticket. But if he hits, if he works with Sam Briend and Matt Blake and there is something to salvage, he could be another solid depth option for New York.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone took some time to talk about Miller after Sunday’s game. “He’s a guy that’s had success in the league,” the skipper said. “Hopefully we can unlock things that provide us with some upside and that potentially he’s had all along.”

The Yankees could use him in a variety of roles, but first, he will need to show he still has some zip in his right arm. He will have to impress just to make the 40-man roster.

“I saw him before the game in street clothes when he was finishing up his physical,” Boone said. “He looks great, so we’ll kind of see what we have.”