Today we take a quick look at Aaron Miles. Will he contribute? How will he contribute? Miles is a good contact hitter with defensive versatility (think a homeless man’s Mark DeRosa—the man Miles was signed to replace). The 5′ 8″ utility man has even pitched before, throwing a perfect inning against the Nationals in ‘07 and three innings for his career.
Miles, 32, hit .317 with 15 doubles, four home runs, 31 RBI and a .355 on-base percentage in 134 games for the Cardinals last season. He was non-tendered by St. Louis for the second consecutive season and signed by the Cubs as a free agent to a two-year deal worth $4.9 million.
The versatile infielder appeared at seven positions in the field last season, making 85 appearances at second base, 27 at shortstop, 11 at third base, four in left field, one in center, and one in right. And as previously mentioned, he also made one relief appearance on the mound.
Miles is a switch hitter who should handle the transition to Wrigley Field well—he batted .392 in day games last season, compared to .277 at night.
Initially thought to be a starter, Miles, who’s hitting just .267 so far this spring, is falling behind Mike Fontenot (.364, two home runs) in the battle for the team’s second base job.
Piniella has always liked Fontenot, and it looks like there’s a good chance he could win the job outright in spring training. Even if Miles loses out, Miles will still see significant at-bats at second and short as well as in the outfield on occasion.
Miles appears to welcome this role, “I am here to contribute on the level I am going to. I am versatile in that way and I am happy to be a contributor in any way.”
Here are the Pinkie’s projections on Miles’ 2009 contributions: