ST. PETERSBURG -- The Cardinals finally completed a deal with Trever Miller when they signed the veteran left-hander to a one-year deal Wednesday.
Miller, 35, appeared to have signed a two-year, $4 million deal with the Cardinals several weeks ago, but, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Redbirds' team doctor discovered what he believes is a tear in the labrum in Miller's left shoulder. Despite the appearance of a tear, Miller has continued to work out during the offseason with no apparent troubles.
But the warning flag did prompt the Cardinals to renegotiate the deal, which ended up being a year less than what they originally agreed upon for $2 million if he reaches all of his incentives.
"It was a unique experience," Miller told the Post-Dispatch. "We went from a high to a little bit of a low. ... We had to go back to the drawing board."
The Rays were the only other team Miller wanted to sign with, in large part because he lives in the area and he enjoyed rejoining Tampa Bay in 2008.
Miller signed a one-year deal as a free agent on Feb. 6 that paid him $1.6 million for 2008 to return to the Rays, with whom he pitched from 2004-05. Included in the deal was a club option for 2009 that would have paid him $2 million. Miller's buyout called for the club to pay him $400,000.
Miller went 2-0 for the Rays with two saves and a 4.15 ERA over 68 relief appearances. The 10-year veteran has pitched in at least 60 games in each of the last six years. Miller was on the mound Sept. 20 vs. Minnesota when Tampa Bay clinched its first postseason berth. He was a member of the Rays' active roster throughout the postseason, making six appearances.
The loss of Miller -- in addition to the news that David Price will not be in the bullpen -- makes J.P. Howell the lone left-hander in the 'pen. Howell and Miller were used differently during the 2008 season. Howell often pitched multiple innings, facing right-handers as well as left-handers. Miller was brought in primarily to face left-handers, and he did well, making 19 appearances in which he faced just one batter, and he retired that batter 16 times.
Miller allowed just 16.2 percent of inherited runners to score (six of 37), the fourth-lowest rate in the Major Leagues, trailing Howell (11.4), Toronto's Jason Frasor (12.5) and Boston's Jonathan Papelbon (13.3). Howell and Miller were the top two left-handers in this category in all of baseball.
The Cardinals are the seventh team Miller has played for during his Major League career. He made his Major League debut with the Tigers in 1996 and has appeared in at least 60 games in every season since 2003.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.