So far this season, only two players have been placed on the DL due to a fractured hand, the Washington Nationals Jeff Kobernus and the Oakland Athletics Drew Pomeranz. The difference? Pomeranz received his injury due to self-infliction.
Monday night after a rough outing against the Angels (3 2/3 inn. 7 ER 8 H), he punched a wooden chair, fracturing his right hand. “I just let my emotions take over me, and I did something stupid,” Pomeranz told reporters after the game. “It sucks. Obviously, I didn’t mean for it to happen. It sucks because I want to play, I want to pitch. I’m trying to win games and help the team out. Obviously, I’m not helping the team out when I do something stupid like that.” While being placed on the 15-day DL the A’s now have to rush in order to find a replacement for his next start on Saturday. Based on his previous experience in the bigs, Dan Straily might seem to be the ideal choice, but not this time. Despite a 4-1 record with a 2.66 ERA over his last 7 starts for the Triple-A River Cats, it looks as if the Athletics are going to give another player a chance.
Late Tuesday night, Oakland traded for Milwaukee Brewer’s LHP Brad Mills in exchange for cash considerations. Oh and by the way, these “cash considerations” amount to the lofty sum of $1, ONE DOLLAR. That’s what I call Moneyball.
The reason the A’s were able to complete this lucrative deal was because of Mills “zero compensation” clause in his contract. According to sports.yahoo.com, “It means that if a second team becomes interested in the player, it doesn’t give the original team — in this case, the Brewers — incentive to ‘horde’ the player and keep him in the minors just for depth.” So actually, Mills’ contract with the Brewers asks for the them to receive zero compensation if he’s assigned to another team’s active 25-man roster, which means, hysterically, the A’s overpaid for their new lefty.
It also means fixing Pomeranz’ assaulted chair will cost more than replacing him.
So how will this new southpaw fit in? Well if you looked at previous years, one would think not so much, however this year he has been able to turn some heads.
Mills has spent the previous six years floating between the Majors and Triple-A, yet each of his stints in the bigs did not go as planned. He had a 7.76 ERA over 53 1/3 major league innings with the Blue Jays and (one start in 2012) with the Angels. Not ideal yes, but this year in Triple-A Nashville he has found much more success. He currently holds a 1.56 ERA over 12 starts, with 77 K’s in 75 innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He has proved why he deserves another shot and what better place to make his dreams come true than in Oakland. Jesse Chavez had a similar story and he’s more than proven himself (see here), so why can’t Mills.
He’s a similar pitcher to Tommy Milone in that he’s a finesse pitcher who finds ways to get guys out (A good fit for a hitters park like Oakland). His fastball hovers around 86 mph, while his go-to secondary pitch is a changeup. This could be especially helpful for him as a starter who needs a weapon against AL West lineups, filled with right-handed power hitters. The third pitch in his repertoire is a curveball and having a breaking pitch is always a plus.
Despite having previous struggles in the bigs, I think Mills can fill the role well for the time being. Also, I’d personally rather rely on a new face than Jeff Francis (7.2 inn/8.22 ERA) who would be the other lefty option for the starting spot. I hope fellow A’s fans can get on board and show the man some support should he start Saturday and I for one will be excited to see what the Brad Mills can do.