As the Cardinals deal with bullpen injuries, a familiar face is set to return. But how effective can Andrew Miller be?
We just wrote how the Cardinals are likely going to explore bullpen help at the July 30 trade deadline, naming three potential options, while highlighting just how many injuries the unit has dealt with this season.
But the return of left-handed reliever Andrew Miller appears imminent, with the team wanting him to make at least one more rehab appearance in Triple-A before activating him off the injured list, manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including Daniel Guerrero of MLB.com.
The return date appears to be Thursday for the start of the Cardinals’ series against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium. Having Miller return to the bullpen should help provide stability to a unit that has dealt with extensive turbulence this season.
But Miller, 36, has struggled this season. His 8.59 ERA is easily the highest of his career. His fastball velocity (87.2 mph) is a far cry from where it was in 2019 (92.4 mph) while his slider velocity (77.8 mph) is significantly lower from where it was back in 2019 (82.4 mph).
Perhaps that can be accounted to the blister injury that has kept him on the IL since April 29, but at this stage of his career, it’s evident that age has begun to creep up on him. His velocity has consistently declined the last few seasons and his performance resembles little of what he produced during his prime with Cleveland, where he helped lead the team to the World Series.
Even then, Miller figures to be better than he was at the beginning of the season. But just how effective he can be is a mystery, though the Cardinals should not count on him to be a difference maker this season unless his velocity significantly improves from where it was earlier this season.