Jays Journal Mailbag: The Brad Mills Situation


I received an interesting e-mail from a Jays Journal fan recently which I wanted to share with all of you. It touches on the Brad Mills situation, and I believe that Mike G., the author of what I will include below, does a great job of covering the situation Mills finds himself in with the Jays. I’ll add my own take after providing you with his insight, and then will ask for your thoughts on it through a poll.

Mike G’s e-mail was sent as follows:

"What to do with “prospect” Brad Mills?The 26-year old left-hander Brad Mills continues to impress in the very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.  With an impressive ERA of 2.34 of 9 starts and a record of 4 wins and 2 losses and 49 strikeouts, he has certainly reached a level where he forces the Blue Jays to act.  I was actually surprised, with Jesse Litsch going on the DL, that Brad Mills was not recalled to make the start; instead it will be Carlos Villanueava to make at least one start; nevertheless, I digress.Brad Mills, to this point, has performed admirably if not better than expect and I believe has done everything the Blue Jays have asked of him.  He still remains a quality prospect, though is often overlooked by many of the prospect reports due to his age and the fact the Jays have a ton of young talent.There are essentially four scenarios that will play out based on Mill’s performance thus far:(1) Instead of the struggling Brett Cecil, Brad Mills is the next pitcher to be recalled and remains with the Blue Jays as a spot-starter and left-handed option out of the bullpen.(2) As a left-handed prospect who has been dynamite in AAA, the Blue Jays will trade him to a team needing pitching for a quality infield prospect or veteran.  I would not be suprised if a pitcher, perhaps Mills, gets packaged with Rivera or E5 (assuming either or both get traded) in order to gain a better return.(3) With a buy low-sell high philosophy, the Blue Jays decide to trade Jo-Jo Reyes, the other left-handed starter, who has gotten increasingly hot as of late.  With Jo-Jo essentially out of options, he has remained a starter because of the inconsistency of Brett Cecil.  With both Brad and Brett as left-handed starters in AAA, the Jays could potentially trade Jo-Jo and still have a number of young and quality left-handed pitching options.Playing devil’s advocate, I would say, especially with all the injuries, option #1 is likely the scenario, however, it does make you start to think that with Brad Mill’s success may come some new opportunities.  Considering how many MLB are already in need of starting pitchers, especially left-handers, the Jays have a unique opportunity to exploit this growing market.What do you think of the situation? Could Brad Mills actually bring in a significant return?To start the ball rolling, as per scenario #2, the Blue Jays coul trade him to Minnesota, who is in need of pitching for prospect 1B Chris Parmelee.  At 22-years old Chris is still young and in AA. Though a bit of a defensive liability, he remains a solid left-handed hitting prospect and could bode well as a DH and back-up 1B.  He has hit .315 with 3 HR and 24 RBI so far this season.  In reality, because of the season Mills is having and the organizational need he can potentially fill, the Blue Jays could ask for a higher prospect or another mid-level prospect.”"

I’m sure that Mike will appreciate any comments you may have, even if he doesn’t agree with what’s stated, so have your opinions heard!

Certainly, Mills has been the most dominant Las Vegas pitcher in 2011 and has definitely earned the right to get a shot in the majors at some point this season. His latest start was his best, with 8 IP, only 4 hits allowed, and 3 walks, all without allowing an earned run. The fact that he has allowed a low .225 average against overall and that this average is evenly split between LHB (.224) and RHB (.225) indicates that he is just as effective versus LHB and RHB.

The most striking thing about Mills this season, however, has been his consistency. He has allowed 3 runs or fewer in 7 of his 9 starts, was only “blown out” once on April 24th when he allowed 6 ER in 5 IP, and he has lowered his stats (ERA and Whip) in comparison to 2010 by a huge margin.

The problems? Well, there is only 1 problem with Mills right now, really. It’s being able to get a shot in the majors for an extended period that will allow him to work through some rough stretches. If he gets that, and proves that he can be effective as a LHP starter, his trade value – and value to the Jays if he isn’t traded – will skyrocket. Until that happens, however, his trade value is fairly low and I can’t see the Jays sending him anywhere unless they get fair value. In saying this, you have to remember that Brett Cecil has a much longer track record to “sell” to other clubs if you’re trying to trade someone for value. I’m fairly certain that many teams would be very happy to land Cecil. I’m not at all advocating that they should trade him, just that if the Jays are going to trade anyone, it’s more likely to be Cecil than Mills at this point.

How much stock can a team place on AAA stats if they’re trying to acquire someone like Brad Mills? I seriously have no idea and would lean towards it being a case-by-case analysis. If Alex Anthopoulos gets a phone call from a team inquiring on Mills, however, I can guarantee you that he’ll listen. If that team has something that he and the Jays covet, then he’ll try to make that deal happen. Whether that winds up being a player like Chris Parlamee is debatable, but there is a chance that dealing pitching allows for a premium return since it’s evident that it is a very wanted commodity these days (and most times….actually).

The Jays have brought Mills up to the majors the last 2 seasons, and each time he was sent back down fairly quickly. Could  he get a shot in 2011? I believe he will, whether it’s to help the Jays out or to increase his trade value. Once he performs in the majors, and only then, do I believe that we can start making assessments as to whether or not he has good trade value.

I’m looking forward to seeing him in action in Toronto at some point in 2011, but right now I’m loving the Carlos Villanueva show. What did he cost the Jays? Cash? Wow, yet another steal from Alex Anthopoulos, and the perfect example as to why the Jays may want to hang onto Brad Mills, who could turn in similar performances in the future. You never know!

Thanks again to Mike G. If anyone out there wants to be published as Mike was, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to pick one out every week or so.


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