Ben Margot/Associated Press
After A’s lefty Drew Pomeranz was sidelined with a broken right hand after his fisticuffs with a chair, the Athletics were in dire need of a starting pitcher.
The team’s minor league starting-pitching depth is shallow, so Billy Beane did what he does best: He acquired some off-the-radar player for next to nothing.
Literally, the A’s traded for left-hander Brad Mills from the Milwaukee Brewers in return for a buck.
Quite a stingy move even for the most parsimonious team in baseball.
Mills was quickly inserted into the starting rotation to fill the temporary vacancy—and he proved he was worth every penny.
He faced the Red Sox on Friday and tossed four innings, allowing three runs (two earned). Not a quality performance, per se, but indeed a tolerable outing considering he had not started a major league game since 2012 when he was with the Los Angeles Angels.
His command was off—four walks, one hit batter—but he kept the A’s in the ballgame nonetheless. Given that the A’s came back to win 4-3, there’s no doubt the team is happy with his effort given the whirlwind of events Mills had gone through during the week.
For Oakland, it was another display of the team’s desire to play for the win now.
The organization had several options to replace Pomeranz, including Dan Straily, who had formerly resided in the A’s big-league rotation earlier this season. Straily has pitched decently since he was demoted to Triple-A Sacramento back in mid-May.
The right-hander is 4-2 with a 4.38 ERA in eight starts with the River Cats. To ensure continuous clubhouse chemistry, the A’s easily could have turned to Straily and his familiarity with the rotation. But that would be the safe bet, and Oakland certainly never settles for safety first.
The A’s rolled the dice that Mills would not pitch poorly—at least not poorly enough so that the team could not win the ballgame. And that’s exactly what he did, limiting a tough Red Sox offense that could intimidate any pitcher, let alone one who had not pitched in the big leagues since 2012.
Just for that clutch pinch-pitching performance, Mills was worth those one hundred cents.