Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported on Monday that Oakland A’s left handed starting pitcher Tommy Milone had requested a trade from the AL East leading Athletics. With Billy Beane’s additions of starting pitchers Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs, Milone was sent to Triple A to stay ready in case of injury within Oakland’s starting rotation prompting his request.
Milone, 27, has accumulated 468 2/3 innings in MLB with a 3.84 ERA, 6.51 K/9, 2.02 BB/9 and 1.26 WHIP. He is not a top of the rotation guy for a contending club, but could potentially be an option for Ruben Amaro and Phillies’ brass to consider as an addition to their 2015 rotation and beyond if they do indeed believe the rebuild will not take five years. Taking a long-term strategy should be their approach, but pressure on Amaro by ownership could lead the future of the club in a different direction.
The A’s aren’t looking to move Milone for the sake of just removing him from the roster either. They will have Samardzija, Sonny Gray, Jesse Chavez, and Scott Kazmir ticketed for their rotation next season, along with Jarrod Parker potentially returning at some point during the year as he recovers from injury.
Milone is a control type pitcher whowon’t be blowing any opposing hitter away at the dish. He offers a fastball that averages just 87.3 mph over his career. His average fastball velocity has decreased every season in the majors according to Fangraphs, but his cutter that he has thrown 13.5% of the time comes at almost the same velocity and is a strong compliment to his primary pitch. Milone mixes in a curveball and changeup as well.
His splits against lefties (.775 OPS) and right handed hitters (.719) aren’t very drastic over his career, but he’s given up far more homeruns and homers to righties, but that’s a matter of increased plate appearances by right handed hitters against the former Washington Nationals farmhand. A huge concern in trading for him by the Phillies is his performance outside of Oakland’s home ballpark.
He has a 3.11 ERA at home in 37 games compared to a 4.52 ERA on the road in 43 games. Below is a table of the differences between home and away from Milone and as you can see the power increases substantially when he’s not pitching in Oakland with a mass of foul territory and huge outfield.
The Phillies need to find pitchers beyond Cole Hamels and David Buchanan to fill their 2015 rotation in a rebuilding year and Milone is an intriguing name, but Amaro and company shouldn’t make a move for the 27 year old. He’d likely give up close to 30 homeruns per season pitching in CBP and the surrounding NL stadiums and while he wouldn’t be pitching in the offensively gifted American League, Milone would struggle to post strong numbers worthy of a trade of value from the Philadelphia side of the table.
Cost is another part of the equation for the Phillies. Fernando Abad has had a strong year for the A’s out of the bullpen, becoming their other lefty aside from closer Sean Doolittle. Parting with Antonio Bastardo and another piece probably doesn’t net them Milone, a middle rotation starter. It could be worth exploring in the offseason for Amaro and company, but Oakland doesn’t have him on the trade block and they definitely aren’t looking to move him.