When the Cubs inked Aaron Miles to a two-year, $4.9M deal last off-season, I was one of the bigger critics. Miles was consistently a replacement level player with one solid season under his belt – which just so happened to be 2008 – and the Cubs had a potentially cheaper and better player on their roster already by the name of Ronny Cedeno. Nearly 12 months later, Miles contract doesn’t just look silly, it looks downright pathetic.
Granted, he missed a load of time due to injury and wound up with 170 plate appearances, but his line for 2009 finished at .185/.224/.242, good for a .212 wOBA and a park-adjusted wRAA of -17.2. Combine that with slightly below average defense and we have Miles’ WAR at -1.3 for the 2009 season, a dollar value of negative $5.7M. That’s right, Miles’ value in 2009 was actually so bad that it eclipsed his total contract value.
Now he had a poor BABIP, walked less than normal, struck out more than normal and 2009 doesn’t seem truly representative of his talent level, but it’s on the books. That two-year, $4.9M deal is more like a two-year $9.6M deal based on the negative value accumulated. What makes all of this even worse for the Cubs is the utility infielder market this off-season presents. John McDonald, Juan Uribe, Omar Vizquel, and even lesser beings like Eric Bruntlett are prime for the taking, and at prices that likely undercut the one paid to Miles.
On the bright side, Cedeno wasn’t much better than Miles. He just made fewer dollars and Jeff Baker played pretty well during his Cubs half of the season. A little under $3M won’t sink the Cubs or prevent them from adding another player or two, but you never want to willingly waste assets. I think Jim Hendry would take a mulligan on this one if given the opportunity.