It's not often that the Oakland Athletics pull off a blockbuster. It's even less often that these same Athletics manage to do this without being the team that is giving the proven players.
It's safe to say that the Hammel/Samardzija deal caught nobody on guard.
To accommodate the latter player, known affectionately by Cubs fans as "Shark," the Athletics pulled off a move that surprised nobody yet angered me. Tom Milone was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Imagine the thoughts that had to have been going through the head of poor Milone as he boarded a United Express commuter plane for Fresno where he would meet his new team that would be playing in front of, on a good day, ten thousand fans. He had pitched well enough to secure a spot in almost any rotation in baseball. A 3.55 ERA and a 106 ERA+ should not warrant a demotion and a utilization of a precious minor league option.
A 5.94 ERA and a 50% SCR (save conversion rate) does, however. Jim Johnson. The Athletics' $10,500,000 man. He is taking away a roster spot from Milone. It boggles the mind how he manages to stay on this team. Loyalty to an investment? If economics is the name of the game here, then Nick Houser, sportswriter, has some words to say about that.
@Athleticsfan209 you're right, economics 101, he's a sunken cost. But doubt they see it that way.— Nick Houser (@Nick_Houser) May 7, 2014
In case you're wondering, @athleticsfan209 is me. Feel free to follow. I post frequently, even if nobody listens. Follow @Athleticsfan209
"Sunken Cost." Rolls of the tongue nicely, doesn't it?
That's a two-word adjective to describe Jim Johnson. And, as anybody with a 10th grade education knows, sunken costs must be placed in the location at which they are least detrimental.
Where is Jim Johnson least detrimental, you ask?
Easy. Off the roster and on waivers. In other words, the heartbreaking sentence that Bob Melvin should have to say to Johnson:
"Jim, you're off the team. You've been designated for assignment."
Designating Johnson for assignment would not solve each problem, though. Now, there's an empty spot in the bullpen, but one too few in the rotation.
Enter Brad Mills.
He takes Johnson's spot for the weekend, then gets optioned for Hammel, allowing Milone to slide into the bullpen.
Just like that, Johnson is off the team, Mills is in the minor leagues, ready to come back in without skipping a beat come September or an injury, and Milone is where he belongs. In the majors.
It won't happen, but a man can dream.