The Oakland A’s bullpen has been great this season. They currently have the second lowest ERA in the MLB and the lowest WHIP with a 1.16. Even though the bullpen has been impressive throughout the first third of the season, the pitchers in the starting rotation have changed numerous times and is likely to change again in the future until they find the right combination of pitchers.
The Oakland A’s recently added Brad Mills to the starting rotation. He was traded for $1 from the Milwaukee Brewers in order to replace starter Drew Pomeranz after he punched a wooden chair and broke his hand. Unfortunately, Mills does not have that much big league experience. Additionally, right handed starting pitcher Jesse Chavez has been a little shaky lately. He has had four wins but also four loses in his last ten starts and allowed 63 hits over 60 innings pitched. Many have been wondering if the Athletics are going to acquire a more experienced pitcher to add to their starting rotation before the trade deadline. So what are their options?
Even though McCarthy has not had a great season so far, some think that he could find success if he was traded to the Oakland A’s. McCarthy has already been an Athletic before and found success while at the O.co Colisuem. In 2012, he was the Opening Day starter for the A’s. However, he was hit in the head by a line drive late in that season and has not been the same since.
Even though he has been in a slump, he still has some moments of brilliance and demonstrates that he still has talent. He has a 5.11 ERA for 2014, but a 87/18 K/BB ratio over 104 innings, which is a career best for McCarthy. Additionally, because of his lackluster season thus far, he will likely be a cheap low-buy trade – something the money saving Athletics always like. Maybe a change of scenery will bring back the talent that McCarthy demonstrated while he was with the Oakland A’s.
Rumors have been floating around that the Chicago Cubs are looking to trade Hammel. Hammel has been solid for the Cubs this season and has a 2.98 ERA with 97 strikeouts over 102.2 innings. He has seven wins so far this season with a 1.01 WHIP, which is the fifth lowest WHIP in the National League.
Even though Hammel is 31-years-old, he would be a great addition for the rest of the season. He would provide veteran experience and a sharp arm in the starting rotation. However, Hammel has a $6 million dollar contract with the Cubs and the Oakland A’s are not looking to spend that much money. He is definitely an option for the Oakland A’s but the price tag may be too high.
If Chavez continues to be unreliable and Pomeranz returns from the DL, there is a definitely possibility that Mills could just stay in the rotation. Even though he has only had two starts with the Oakland A’s, he has proven that he can work hard and be a reliable pitcher. In his last outing against the New York Mets, he pitched 6.1 innings and only allowed nine hits. This was the first game since 2012 in which Mills earned a win.
The Oakland A’s pitching coach Chris Young has been known for transforming pitchers into well-rounded, strikeout machines. Since Mills has not had much experience pitching in the Major Leagues, Young will definitely be able to help Mills. If Mills continue to succeed, he could find a permanent spot in the starting rotation.