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What to do with Wade Miller

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Wade Miller has tons of potential. He just needs a contract first.
The deadline to offer arbitration-eligible players a contract is Tuesday at midnight, and Wade Miller is one of those players waiting down the deadline.

The question approaching the deadline is simple: do we give Miller a contract? The only reason we were able to sign him was because he was non-tendered last season by the Houston Astros.

I'm for giving Miller a contract ... but not a major league contract. I think Miller needs to start the year in Pawtucket and get at least a month of starting pitching under his belt. He needs to be evaluated very thoroughly while he's in Rhode Island, because this could be his last chance to show himself in Boston.

Miller was coming off of surgery entering the 2005 season with Boston, which was reflected in his incentive-laden contract. Miller had the potential to be high reward while being a low risk with the cheap contract, but he could never string together impressive starts. His best start came on July 23 against the World Champion White Sox where he lasted seven innings, giving up no runs on five hits, and struck out, and walked, four batters.

Miller has been good, though. In 2001 with the Astros, he pitched 212 innings in 32 games started. He finished the year with a 3.40 ERA, and an ERA+ of 134. He struggled to keep the ball in the park, however, and allowed 31 home runs.

Despite his injury troubles in the past, I think Miller still has the potential to get the sub 3.50 ERA that he has done before. He's still only 29-years old, so his time isn't even close to be up. Maybe he was still feeling the surgery last season, so this is his time to pull things back together.

What will it hurt to give Miller another incentive-laden contract and have him pitch in Pawtucket? He may not be able to help us out this season, but if he doesn't, it's not like we wasted a huge amount of money on the guy.

The potential he has outweighs his past injuries. And, hopefully, he'll be able to perform. If he doesn't then that does nothing to effect us. We aren't relying on him to be our number one starter or anything of that magnitude, so a poor season won't do any harm. But a great season could mean that one extra measure that could mean the difference between winning the division and winning the wild card.