Sunday, December 19, 2004

Miller time. Do we offer him arbitration? Do we sign him to a mutli-year deal? Do we non-tender him? So many possibilities... so little time. We have by 11 p.m. Monday to offer arbitration to Miller — along with Oswalt, Berkman, Munro, Redding, Duckworth and Lamb.

And when he's on, he can dominate like Oswalt, man. That sinker just bites and no one can even get their bat near his ball. He's a workhorse, too. He won 14 games per year from 2001-03, so he knows how to win.

But his arm has had a long history of arm problems. He's been able to pitch through them for the most part (which is not necessarily a good thing). He shut down for the season on June 15 this year due to a frayed rotator cuff, and he hasn't thrown since. He didn't undergo surgery since nothing was torn, but he won't throw until January.

According to team reports, his arm look very good. His MRIs and physical exams look "promising," according to the Chronicle. But as Jack will tell you, pitchers with injuries will continue to have injuries. Generally, those without injuries will continue to pitch pain-free.

I wonder what kind of contract he'd receive if he went to arbitration. He got $3.4 million last year, and $525,000 the year before that. So despite , he probably receive upwards of $4 million. That's no chump change.

Murphy tells us that if we sign Miller, he'll fall apart. But the minute we trad ehim or let him go, he will win 20 games for another team. So, what do you do?

I don't know. Ideally, we could work out an incentive-laden contract with him. Offer him milllions if he reaches 200 IP. But start at a base salary of only $1.5 or $2 million. That's what Miller's worth. If he pitches 200 pain-free innings, he commands $5 or $6 million. If he shuts it down in June again, he ain't worth squat. I like Miller; he's a fierce competitor and a great pitcher. I hope he wants to remain an Astro and Houston wants to keep him.

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