Dodgers Offseason: New Reliever’s Potential Contract Bonuses Revealed

New Dodgers reliever Shelby Miller will have a $1.5 million base salary in 2023, but he’ll have a chance to make a bit more based on contract incentives.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers made a surprise signing that seemingly came out of nowhere, inking right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller to a one-year deal. Miller, a former All-Star who has headlined two huge trades in his career, signed with Los Angeles after pitching just 101.2 major-league innings in the past six seasons.

After being drafted by the Cardinals in the first round in 2009, Miller finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2013 behind Jose Fernandez and Yasiel Puig. After the 2014 season, the Cardinals sent him to Atlanta in the Jason Heyward trade, and Miller was an All-Star in 2015, his only season with the Braves. After that season, Atlanta sent Miller to the DBacks for prospect Dansby Swanson, a trade that eventually contributed to Arizona GM Dave Stewart losing his job.

Miller’s career derailed from there, as he’s posted a 7.02 ERA in 202.2 innings from 2016-22. The Rangers switched him to relief in 2019, and that’s the role he’ll fill with the Dodgers. Miller’s deal with Los Angeles is for $1.5 million, but he has a chance to make a bit more than that if things go well.

We don’t know what the incentives are based on, but they’re not allowed to be based on statistical achievement, so they’re almost always based on playing time. Chances are, Miller’s incentives are based on innings pitched, maybe something like $20K for each of 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 innings pitched. (That’s hypothetical, just an example of how it could be structured.)

It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers pitching factory can rediscover some of Miller’s former glory.

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