In addition to pushing back Adam Wainwright’s first start of the second half, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com yesterday that Shelby Miller will be moved to the bullpen indefinitely.
The Cardinals will use a four-man rotation for the short-term and could potentially do so until August, as they have an off-day after each of their next three series. Miller is in his second full season as a starter and the club has been looking for a way to give him some rest. A temporary trip to the bullpen appears to be the plan.
“How long that lasts, I’m not going to say [it will be through the end of] the month,” Matheny said. “We’ll see how guys look and feel. He’s ready to go [in the bullpen]. As far as how we use him, it’s how we need him.”
After finishing third in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting last season with a 3.01 ERA over 31 starts, Miller has struggled to the tune of a 4.29 ERA and 73/54 K/BB ratio in 109 innings over 19 starts this season. His strikeout percentage is down eight percent from last season while his walks have increased by 3.5 percent. It’s a troubling combination.
The Mariners acquired Yankees’ right-hander Nick Rumbelow in exchange for minor league righty Juan Then and left-hander JP Sears, per an official announcement on Saturday. Rumbelow made 17 appearances for the Yankees in 2015 before undergoing Tommy John surgery and could provide some bullpen depth for the Mariners in 2018.
The 26-year-old right-hander spent the majority of his 2017 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he delivered an 0.62 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.3 SO/9 over 29 innings. The Yankees didn’t rush Rumbelow into a full workload after he missed the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John, but he didn’t appear to have any significant setbacks with his health or performance and should be ready to compete for a role next spring.
Sears, 21, was ranked 21st in the Mariners’ organization by MLB Pipeline. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2017 draft and features a deceptive, low-velocity fastball that he can throw for strikes to either side of the plate. In his first year of pro ball, he split 17 games between Short-Season A Everett and Single-A Clinton, turning in an 0.65 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 16.6 SO/9 across two levels.
Then, 17, also completed his first year of pro ball after signing with the Mariners as a free agent. He went 2-2 in 13 games of rookie ball, pitching to a 2.64 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 61 1/3 innings. Neither Sears nor Then will take the mound for the Yankees anytime soon, and offloading Rumbelow to the Mariners should clear up some room on New York’s 40-man roster as they prepare for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.