I was very tempted to write “As Cole Travels” in the title, but I thought Brett might get upset with me. Instead, I’m wasting valuable intro-space on a joke I didn’t make. Do you think he’ll be happier about that? [Brett: Somehow both decisions were bad.]
Earlier today, the Chicago Cubs officially completed a trade for Rangers’ left-hander Cole Hamels, and, as part of that deal, sent swing-man Eddie Butler to the Rangers. Butler, you see, was on the full 25 and 40-man rosters, so including him as part of the deal also served to open up a space for Hamels. HOWEVA, it sounds as though the Cubs new pitcher won’t be here right away:
Travel update: New #Cubs pitcher Cole Hamels will be traveling on Saturday and not expected to arrive in time to be added to roster (which explains why Mills is here)
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 27, 2018
So with two games to play before Hamels arrives, the Cubs decided to make a (temporary) roster move, calling up pitcher Alec Mills from Triple-A Iowa:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 27, 2018
Mills, 26, was already on the 40-man roster, so no problems there, and actually hasn’t yet been called up to the big league Cubs (wow – it sure feels like we’ve seen him, given how much attention he’s gotten at times since the Cubs acquired him a couple springs ago). He’ll likely jump into the bullpen over the next couple days and be used only if necessary.
As an I-Cub, Mills has made 19 starts this season with results (4.79 ERA) much worse than his peripherals (4.05 FIP). He doesn’t really strike many batters out (19.3%), but retains some potential back-end starter stuff in the future, though long relief may wind up his only real ticket to the big leagues.
To be sure, this isn’t really his shot, but I suspect it’ll come one day. For now, he’ll hold a roster spot and provide some relief to the Cubs bullpen if necessary, until their reinforcement from Texas rides all the way up to Chicago (or St. Louis, wherever they are).