Cubs trade Jack Slaughter for reliever Tyson Miller
Slaughter is a promising prospect (Photo courtesy: Iowa)

Cubs trade Jack Slaughter for reliever Tyson Miller

by - Senior Writer -

In case you missed it, the Chicago Cubs pulled off a trade late last night and it comes as a surprising name. Expected to make some bullpen moves as this season progresses, the Cubs took the first step in doing just that as they traded away third base prospect Jake Slaughter to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Tyson Miller.

While Miller is certainly a last name that the Cubs fans wanted to see, Tyson was different from the one they were thinking (Mason Miller). This could work out in their favor, especially when you take into account how he pitched this season. If the name sounds familiar, Miller was once a farmhand of the Chicago Cubs, as he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 season.

Over the next few years, he was one of those under-the-radar prospects who continued to pitch well. Following the 2019 season, he was the best pitcher in the organization and was knocking on the door of an MLB callup. That callup came during the COVID shortened 2020, when Miller pitched in a handful of games, making a pair of starts along the way.

The next season, Miller struggled right from the start and was DFA'd by the Cubs, only to be scooped up by the Rangers before landing with Seattle this season. With the Mariners, Miller was a relief arm putting together a very good season, so it is a bit surprising to see the Mariners DFA him this early in the season.

Across his 11 2/3 innings pitched this season, Miller has pitched to a solid 3.09 ERA while also posting a 12/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That type of command got him called up with the Cubs, as he was never an overpowering pitcher but instead focused on the finesse side of this game.

Before joining the Mariners, Miller bounced around a ton and was primarily an AAA man, reaching the majors several times with the  Rangers, Brewers, Dodgers, Mets, and Mariners. Miller is your classic reliever who relies on two pitches where he throws his fastball 60% of the time, with his slider coming 38% of the time.

Not an overpowering arm, Miller has seen a slight uptick since moving to relief only role as his fastball is up from the 90 MPH range that it was once at and is now sitting in the 92 MPH range. He pairs that with an 86 MPH slider that offers a late break while also mixing in a rare change on occasion. To make up for that, Miller uses a low arm slot to keep the ball in the zone, but as a fly ball pitcher, he needs to be precise to keep the ball in the park.

At some point, you knew the Cubs would have to part ways with some of these prospects, and it was a little surprising to see Slaughter be the first to go. A middle infielder who has spent most of his time at third base, Slaughter has been one of the players steadily improving in the Cubs system and has put himself on the door of an MLB callup with his new team.

An 18th-round pick out of LSU in 2018, Slaughter took a little bit of time to get into form before belting a career-high 23 homers in 2022. He followed that up with 22 homers last season and has hit five homers this season. He has 58 career homers, 50 of them coming in the past few seasons.

Slaughter has also seen his career average remain steady at .264, which includes the .297 that he is currently hitting this season. Along with his improved power stroke, Slaughter also has some speed in his game as he has 85 career stolen bases, with a career-best 36 coming in 2022. All of those numbers would typically warrant a callup at some point, but looking at the Cubs' overall infield, it gets to the point where you are physically blocked from playing, which was the case with Slaughter.

Although losing Slaughter will be a massive hit to the Iowa offense, this was more about giving him a fresh start and an opportunity to play. The Mariners are enduring some infield injuries, with Jorge Polanco being the latest. Getting anything in return for him, especially a pitcher with big-league time, was the kicker, as the Cubs could add Miller to this pen immediately to try and improve the pen the rest of the way.

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