There is nothing better than trading for a player who feels he has been slighted, and believes he isn’t getting the fair shake he has worked so hard to get. That’s exactly the situation with Oakland Athletics’ (minor league) hurler Tommy Milone. The A’s optioned the lefty to their Triple-A affiliate on July 5th to make roster room for the recently acquired Jeff Samardzika and Jason Hamel. Milone was none to happy about getting sent packing after proving he deserves to be in the big league rotation.
The 27-year-old posted a 2014 record of 6-3, with an ERA of 3.55. More than serviceable for a big league starter on any team. He won three of his final five starts, and then was told, that wasn’t good enough. For a pitcher who has won a combined 25 games heading into this season, Milone felt his spot was secure in the A’s rotation. When he was demoted, he finally had enough. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, Milone and his agent, Barry Praver have requested a trade out of Oakland. Unfortunately for Milone, he’s in no position to request or demand anything.
“I don’t have any comments on the issue at this time. Any talks about my future with the A’s are between the club, my representatives and myself.”~Tommy Milone
Left-handed pitchers are custom-built for Yankee Stadium. A’s GM Billy Beane may have a high asking price, but for a pitcher who is only making $510,000, isn’t arbitration-eligible until next winter, and can’t sniff free agency until the winter after the 2017 season. This move makes too much sense. Trade rumors circulate that the Yankees might consider emptying the farm of solid prospects for hurlers such as Ian Kennedy, or Cole Hamels, but the Yankees need to make this deal rather than a veteran righty, and a lefty who would literally cost the Yankees EVERY prospect they possess. Hamels simply isn’t worth it.
The A’s are extremely deep in their farm system. An outsider reviewing their top 20 prospects from a site such as MLB Pipeline on MLB.com, has to have their mouth watering at the numbers that some of these minor leaguers have put up this season. One position where they might be considered a little thin, is at catcher. Bruce Maxwell, their #10 overall prospect, is the only backstop in the top 20 for the A’s. Perhaps a package of Gary Sanchez, Gregory Bird, Bruce Billings, and Danny Burawa gets this deal done. The A’s are working from a position of strength, and even though the Yankees don’t have elite prospects, the A’s are always looking for diamonds in the rough.
Sanchez gives Oakland a viable secondary option if Maxwell doesn’t pan out. Bird does what Billy Beane loves…he’s gets on base. Bruce Billings has shown a ton of upside at every level he’s pitched at, and the A’s have always tried build pitching depth at their various minor league levels. The A’s rebuilt their bullpen, and still had issues with Jim Johnson before just cutting bait. Danny Burawa is a power arm, who could step right in next season, and become the A’s closer.
Some might think the Yankees would be overpaying, but…think about it. Brian Cashman won’t use his viable minor league options to help the big club now. He would rather use Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson than give Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela a chance. Perhaps one of them get inserted into a deal instead of Sanchez. Regardless, the package would be enough to get the Yankees a much-needed starting pitcher, one who could return next season, and the season after, and help infuse youth into an elderly, and broken down starting rotation.