CINCINNATI — Are the Reds getting the Wade Miley who was 12-3 in the first five months of the 2019 season with the Astros with a 3.06 ERA?
Or the Wade Miley who was 2-3 in September with a 16.65 ERA and didn't make the ALCS or World Series roster?
That's the $15 million question for a team gambling that the 33-year-old can give them a seemingly solid five-pitcher rotation and a much-needed lefty to make a playoff contender - or at least a .500 team - in 2020.
The Reds have agreed to a two-year, $15-million deal with Miley, who was 14-6 with the Astros in 33 starts last season, according to an MLB insider report. The deal is pending a physical, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The Reds have not confirmed the report.
It would make sense for the Reds to want to check Miley's arm for the answer to why he was a bust in September. The 33-year-old threw just 11 1/3 innings and got knocked out in the first inning in two of his five starts. In all, he surrendered 21 earned runs.
The deal would reunite Miley with his former pitching coach in Milwaukee, Derek Johnson, who may have helped Miley turn his career around during a one-year stint with the Brewers in 2018.
Free-agent left-hander Wade Miley in agreement with #Reds on two-year, $15M contract, pending physical, sources tell The Athletic. Deal will reunite him with his former pitching coach in Milwaukee, Derek Johnson.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 17, 2019
Johnson may have had something to do with the fact that Miley is coming off the best two-year stretch in his nine-year career. Miley's big season in Houston, with a 3.98 ERA and 1.345 WHIP in 167 innings, followed a turnaround performance under Johnson with the Brewers in 2018, when he was 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.215 WHIP in 16 starts.
Miley burst onto the scene with a 16-11 record in his second season with the Diamondbacks in 2012, with a 3.33 ERA and a career-best 1.182 WHIP. But the lefty fell on hard times between 2014 and 2018, when he went 37-49 while bouncing from the Diamondbacks to the Red Sox to the Mariners to the Orioles. He was 10-20 in a season and a half with Baltimore (2016-2017).