BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington is pretty much done adding for this offseason.
“I would expect the group we have for spring training is in place,” he said Thursday after the Red Sox announced a $19.25 million, three-year contract with left-hander Wade Miley that avoided salary arbitration.
Miley is part of a new-look trio along with right-handers Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson, joining holdovers Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly.
Boston’s rotation transformation began last July when the 2013 World Series champions traded four members of the group that started the season: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. The Red Sox negotiated to bring Lester back after they finished last in the AL East, but the left-hander signed with the Chicago Cubs.
While they didn’t sign an ace to replace him, Cherington is upbeat about his starters. Porcello was obtained from Detroit for outfielder Yoenis Cespdes and two minor league pitchers. Masterson left Cleveland to sign as a free agent.
“We feel good about where we are,” Cherington said. Miley gets a $500,000 signing bonus as part of Thursday’s agreement and salaries of $3.5 million this year, $6 million in 2016 and $8.75 million in 2017. Boston has a $12 million option for 2018 with a $500,000 buyout, and the price could increase to $14 million.
The option would go up by $1.5 million if Miley has 220 or more innings in 2017 or 400 or more innings in 2016-17 combined, including at least 210 in 2017. He also must pass a physical after the Red Sox finish play in 2007. The price would increase by $500,000 if he finishes among the top two in Cy Young Award voting in any year from 2015-17.
Boston acquired the 2012 NL All-Star from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Dec. 12 for right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, and minor league infielder Raymel Flores. Miley was 8-12 with a 4.34 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 201 1-3 innings last season, when 25 percent of his pitches were sliders, up from 21 percent in 2013 and 14 percent in 2012, according to Brooks Baseball.
“I really didn’t know it until somebody told me,” Miley said during a telephone conference call with Cherington.
In each of his three full major league seasons, all with Arizona, Miley started at least 29 games and pitched at least 194 2-3 innings. “The best predictor of future durability and performance is past durability and performance,” Cherington said. “When we traded for him, our full expectation was that he could be here for a while.”
Miley is coming off his poorest statistical season. He was 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA in 2012, then went 10-10 with a 3.55 ERA. “A consistent performer in a tough place to pitch,” Cherington said. “We’ve seen some guys who left there and performed even better.”