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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Angels - Acquire Brad Mills

Los Angeles Angels: Acquired LHP Brad Mills from Toronto for C Jeff Mathis.

Well. It’s the only way I can think of to keep Mike Scioscia from playing Mathis more than his talents objectively merit. Unless of course the move means that Scioscia (who—fair or not—is often viewed as the de facto GM of the Angels) has reconsidered Mathis’ actual value.

Mathis won’t play much in Toronto. He’s arbitration eligible and I doubt the Blue Jays fear going to arbitration with him. The only problem from their point of view is that every player you can attempt to compare Mathis to is likely to be a better player. The way that tends to work if it actually goes to arbitration is that the player gets a little less than a much better player and thus ends up being overpaid. See for instance Brian Hunter and the Mariners a few years back.

He’s obviously a candidate to be non-tendered, but I suspect the Jays actually want him as their backup and thus will negotiate with him and then perhaps actually go the arbitration route. And they won’t be broken up if their plans don’t work out.

Mills is sort of interesting. His stats at the major league level are awful. Mostly because he can’t command the strike zone and doesn’t have the stuff to deal with pitching behind in the count. But his stats at AAA are not bad. They don’t blow you away, but over a 3 year stretch he’s put up a 4.32 ERA in Las Vegas—a really good place to hit. What’s more, his control has progressively improved down there. The strikeout rate is not a positive (not a problem either), but I’ve seen plenty of pitchers with worse numbers become serviceable major league starters. He’s very unlikely to be anything more than back of the rotation filler, but that’s a tremendous haul for a backup catcher that your manager has fallen in love with.

To be clear, I think it far more likely that Mills sticks around as a number two lefty out of the pen, but he does have a shot, while Mathis is pretty much the punch line to Casey Stengel’s old joke about Greg Goosen.

Ron J Posted: December 04, 2011 at 02:44 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 04, 2011 at 07:20 PM (#4006604)
Mathis made $1.7 M last year and the largest pay cut you can get in arb is 20% (unless that changed in the recent CBA). So, if they don't non-tender him, they have to pay him at least $1.3 M. And I don't know that anybody has ever gotten a pay cut in arb.

I assume what the Jays are doing is negotiating with him in the pre-tender window, hoping he will agree to be non-tendered then signed at something less than $1 M. If the Jays want to pay Mathis $1.7 M or more to be their backup C, that's not too smart.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 04, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#4006616)
I assume what the Jays are doing is negotiating with him in the pre-tender window, hoping he will agree to be non-tendered then signed at something less than $1 M. If the Jays want to pay Mathis $1.7 M or more to be their backup C, that's not too smart.

My assumption exactly.
   3. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 04, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#4006639)
So if Mathis is non-tendered the Angels could re-sign him!
   4. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 05, 2011 at 01:17 AM (#4006813)
Stop it.
   5. bookbook Posted: December 05, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#4007140)
I would bet that even today, most GMs feel that a superior defensive catcher who can't hit is worth $1.7 million. Heck, that's only Willie Bloomquist money!
   6. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 05, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#4007195)
The Rays think Jose Molina is worth $1.8 million
   7. Ron J Posted: December 05, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#4007198)
#1 Whether or not players in the past have gotten a pay cut in arb, would you feel confident trying to defend $1.8 million before an arbitrator? I don't doubt the Blue Jays would be comfortable defending a $1.36 million offer. (that would seem to be the minimum allowable as an offer.)

And to more or less second #5 I don't think the Jays would be too broken up about paying him that for a year -- not that it would surprise me if they negotiated and then non-tendered him.

As I said, the issue would seem to be who you can use as a comp. Bill Bergen made $2,700 in 1902 (at 24) but there was something of a salary explosion at the time. He probably made less a few years later -- when you can better use him as a comp for Mathis (since it's one of the few he'll win)
   8. Panned Handle Posted: December 05, 2011 at 10:24 PM (#4007468)
5. bookbook Posted: December 05, 2011 at 09:50 AM (#4007140)
I would bet that even today, most GMs feel that a superior defensive catcher who can't hit is worth $1.7 million. Heck, that's only Willie Bloomquist money!


Heck, we could get Tony Womack for that kind of money!

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