Before Wednesday, the Cardinals hadn't done much to add to their offense for the 2020 season. Besides bringing back Matt Wieters as the back-up catcher, the team hadn't signed a single position player to its 40-man roster this winter.
That changed Wednesday when St. Louis announced it has signed veteran infielder Brad Miller to a contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A career-.241 hitter, the 30-year-old Miller boasts some pop from the left-side, as evidenced by his 13 home runs in only 170 plate appearances last season between Cleveland and Philadelphia. For the year, Miller compiled an .894 OPS; though in a small sample, that would have led the Cardinals in 2019 among players with more than 50 plate appearances.
Miller figures to assume a role on the Cardinals bench, flashing the flexibility to be deployed all over the diamond. In 2019, Miller fielded more than 90 innings at three different positions: second base, third base and left field.
As recently as 2016, Miller started 95 games at shortstop. His shortcomings, however, were apparent in that role; Miller's negative-14 defensive runs saved that year at shortstop indicate he probably isn't under consideration for much time at this position with St. Louis four years later.
Still, Miller should represent an upgrade offensively over Yairo Munoz, filling a similar role defensively as a utility knife off the bench for St. Louis. Miller wouldn't necessarily have to match his .894 OPS from a year ago to improve upon Munoz's output at the plate last season. For 2019, Munoz compiled a batting line of .267/.298/.355 with a .653 OPS.
As injuries and attrition strike throughout the season, Munoz could certainly still fill a role for the Cardinals in 2020; Miller's signing, though, could put a dent in Munoz's chances of cracking the opening day roster barring a strong showing this spring.