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— 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.
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