It’s a Tough Game
The Brad Mills era in Oakland is over almost as soon as it began. The A’s designated Mills for assignment today shortly after the big Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Dan Straily and a PTBNL deal that got so much attention in the baseball blogosphere.
Mills deserved better. In his three starts for the A’s, he pitched reasonable well, recording a 4.41 ERA with 14 Ks in 16.1 innings pitched while walking only seven. More importantly, the A’s won two of his three starts and lost the third by a 3-0 score which really can’t be blamed on Mills.
The good news for Mills is that the A’s will almost certainly have to pass Mills through waivers to send him down to AAA Sacramento, and you would think at least one other team will claim him, on the theory that he has to be better than at least one other team’s fifth starter. That said, every so often a player who shouldn’t somehow slips through waivers and ends up back in the minors.
There would be a certain ironic justice if the Cubs were the team to claim Mills, both since they obviously need at least one starting pitcher following the big trade and also because the division rival Brewers wouldn’t give Mills a shot even after he posted a 1.56 ERA in 12 starts at AAA Nashville, particularly if Mills were to pitch well for the Cubs, better than one of the Brewers five starters or better than Jason Hammel pitches for the A’s. The latter event isn’t too much of a stretch when you consider that Hammel has never previously pitched with the success he’s had in the first half of 2014.
Mills ending up with the Cubbies isn’t likely to happen, though, since I have to think at least one American League team will claim him before the Cubs get a shot.
Also today, the Rangers designated Donnie Murphy for assignment. Murphy has long been a fine minor league player, a middle infielder with a career minor league OPS of .803, who has never been able to put it together at the big league level despite many, many small opportunities.
Murphy has played in parts of nine different major league seasons but has never received more than 163 plate appearances in any one of them. He was pretty good for the Cubs last year, posting an .849 OPS, but he didn’t hit enough for the Rangers this year, and it’s back to the minors for him unless someone else claims him off waivers.
Meanwhile, more Tommy John surgeries. Bronson Arroyo‘s streak of nine consecutive seasons with at least 199 innings pitched comes to end this year as he is about to go under the knife for the dreaded ulnar collateral ligament tear. Meanwhile, the Astros are dropping Brady Aiken‘s signing bonus offer by a million and a half following a team physical raising concerns about his pitching elbow tendon. The good news for Aiken is that the Astros can’t really go any lower because of the bonus slot money the Astros lose if Aiken decides not to sign.
In sum, while it’s still a pretty good life, a professional ballplayer’s lot is rarely all beer and skittles.