Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller allowed 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his first three starts this month at Triple-A Memphis, continuing a run of disappointing results that dates back to mid-May. So St. Louis’ higher-ups decided to skip his next turn in the rotation and instituted a “no-shake rule” to keep him from relying too heavily on his mid-90s fastball.
That strategy seems to have worked wonders.
Miller allowed just one hit — a solo homer — in a five-inning outing Wednesday night at Memphis, striking out eight batters and walking three. The Texas native still has an ugly 5.70 ERA on the year and clearly won’t be ready for the majors as early as the Cards were hoping. But his strikeout rate (10.3 K/9) is still good and he’s certainly capable of getting on a roll.
Miller was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 Amateur Draft. He doesn’t turn 22 years old until October 10.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.