Adding the veteran left-hander makes it easier to handle if Keuchel departs

Miley should have Astros fans smiling

Wade Miley could be a good add for the Astros. Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Astros signed Wade Miley this week to a one year, $4.5 million dollar contract and no one really seemed to be very excited. After all he doesn't throw 95 mph and hasn't won a Cy Young award, but if you dig a little deeper you might find that he could be the perfect replacement for Dallas Keuchel.

Miley, like Keuchel, is lefthanded and has been an all-star previously. More importantly, he has playoff experience just like Dallas and has performed well when on the big stage. He is coming off arguably his best year as a pro as he was 5-2 with the Brewers with a 2.57 ERA. He had four starts in last year's playoff run for Milwaukee and had a stellar 1.23 ERA combined for the Divisional series and the NLCS.

He has never really pitched for a dominant team over the course of his eight-year career, yet his numbers have been steady and he has managed to stay relatively injury free. The opportunity to play for the Astros gives him a chance to play for a contender that has a potent offense, an above average defense and a pitching coach that has proven to be a major factor in resurrecting pitchers' careers. If all goes as planned, he could be the next in a line of veteran pitchers who have found success after coming to H-town.

Making subtle changes to a pitcher' s delivery, mechanics and approach to the craft have been a staple of Brent Strom's role as pitching coach for the Astros. He has been a driving force behind Keuchel's career and Dallas has always been quick to give him credit, particularly when he was interviewed after Houston won the World Series. Strom was singled out and credited with using his lower half more and pinpointing his release point. The two of them spent hours and hours watching videotape and scouring previous starts to find keys to his success and cures for his failures.

Aside from Keuchel, Strom has found success working with Charlie Morton, Gerritt Cole, and Colin McHugh, helping them add spin rate and velocity to their pitches while making them more effective on the mound. Pairing Miley with Strom can do nothing but help the veteran pitcher carry over his success from last season and build on it as he attempts to help the Astros get to another World Series title.

Maybe the deciding factor between bringing in a free agent like Miley and letting a fan favorite like Keuchel walk is the finances. Agent Scott Boras has been trying to formulate a contract in the neighborhood of 5 years and $100 million dollars for his client and that seems to be far too expensive for Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane. With Justin Verlander joining Cole as free agents at the end of the 2019 season, there doesn't seem to be enough money to go around for the third starter in AJ Hinch's rotation.

Miley's contract is very team friendly and it doesn't hinder the franchise going forward when they have some tough negotiations ahead with their top two aces. Saving over $15 million dollars on this year's rotation also allows the team flexibility this season if another free agent bat is targeted or the always-in-demand bullpen arm is considered.

As good as Keuchel has been and for as long as he has been here, it seems as if the time has come to let him find a home for the next chapter in his career that will pay him what he wants and believes he deserves. Meanwhile, the Astros can insert Miley as his replacement with hopes that he will solidify a rotation that lost Morton to free agency and Lance McCullers Jr. to injury while expecting Kuechel to be signing elsewhere soon. If he does, you should wish him well and thank him for helping to bring a title to Houston. If for some crazy reason he is willing to consider giving the Astros a hometown discount on a short term deal, then the rotation could be that much better. Either way, Jeff Luhnow and the 'Stros have all their bases covered.

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The Houston Texans have just a couple of practices before their preseason debut. Here are 11 observations from Tuesday’s workout.

1.The offense stunk on Tuesday. It was inconsistent and resembled more of last year’s disappointing performances than any other practices in this training camp.

2. Davis Mills and his receivers had a few miscommunications on Tuesday. Mills sailed a pass to nobody when he and Brandin Cooks weren’t on the same page. There were some other throws to nowhere in the day. It was something that hadn’t been present at all in training camp to this point.

3. There were a few “good coverage” notes on Tuesday. Not to say there was one specific player, but a handful of team-level efforts that led to the note.

4. It wasn’t all wrong from the offense. After a pass to nowhere Davis Mills and the offense bounced back. It was a second down during a team drill and Mills fired a pass to Chris Moore for six yards. Rex Burkhead would pick up a first down on a rush a play later. A non-positive play last year on first down doomed this team. That hopefully won’t be the case for this year’s team.

5. Chad Beebe is going into his fifth season in the NFL, his first with the Texans. The former Vikings pass catcher has flashed a few times in training camp. He has an uphill battle being new to the team but is trying to make himself a factor.

6. Phillip Dorsett had a big catch over the middle. Davis Mills stood back and delivered as the offensive line held up and Dorsett reeled it in for a huge gain. No defenders were around him. It is between Dorsett and Chris Moore for the chance to be the slot wideout opening day. With Dorsett’s return to practice, it is becoming a fun camp battle.

7.Speaking of returns to practice, Tytus Howard was back. Howard has his reps managed and after practice, offensive line coach George Warhop Howard was “getting his wind” back. When Howard was having his reps managed rookie tackle Austin Deculus played at right tackle. Deculus looks much more consistent than minicamp and OTAs.

8. Kenyon Green is still out with an injury. It is getting to a critical time where the time missed might prevent the first-rounder from starting week one. Max Scharping hasn’t looked bad in his chances with the first team. Offensive line coach George Warhop said they believe in Green and his ability and he has been in meetings to stay up to date.

9. Ka’imi Fairbairn was perfect in one of the special team periods. He drilled all five kicks, each further than the last, and was crushing the football.

10. Derek Stingley was very sticky in some early reps on Nico Collins. The third overall pick is so smooth when he is working. Later his coverage forced a throw from the offense that had no chance of being completed.

11. The play of the day was made by Derek Stingley. The offense was about five or six yards out of the end zone needing a touchdown to win. With six seconds left on the clock, any completed pass that wasn’t a touchdown was game over. Davis Mills dropped back a step and fired to Nico Collins who Stingley covered. The rookie kept the second-year player out of the end zone to earn the defense a win. This was one of the better Stingley days and he did a lot of work. At one point, it looked as though he and Rex Burkhead had some words and almost led to an offense and defense scuffle, but it stayed to just some shouting. The rookie shined today.

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