In a strategic move, the Boston Red Sox have re-signed right-handed pitcher Wyatt Mills to a two-year minor-league contract, extending through the 2024 and 2025 seasons. This development follows Mills' non-tender by the team earlier this month, as reported by Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.
Approaching his 29th birthday in January, Mills, a promising talent, faced an unforeseen setback this past season due to injury. Acquired last December in a trade from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace, Mills was poised to be a competitive presence in the Red Sox bullpen.
His initial performances in spring training were notable, with a remarkable record of only one earned run and ten strikeouts over six innings in his first four appearances. However, his trajectory took a sudden turn during a Grapefruit League game against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 13.
That game saw Mills surrender four runs, marking the beginning of a challenging period for the pitcher, leading to his placement on the injured list due to an elbow issue.
Mills' Injury Setback
The severity of Mills' injury became apparent as the season progressed, culminating in Tommy John surgery in early July.
This surgery, while necessary, means that Mills is likely to miss the majority of the 2024 season. However, the Red Sox see value in his recovery and potential return in 2025, opting to oversee his rehabilitation process. Prior to joining the Red Sox, Mills, a Washington state native, was a third-round draft pick for the Seattle Mariners in 2017 from Gonzaga University.
He made his major league debut with Seattle in May 2021 before being traded to Kansas City. Mills' major league career, though nascent, shows promise, with a 6.21 ERA and a more favorable 3.84 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) across 38 relief appearances.
The Red Sox's interest in Mills is partly due to his similarity to fellow side-arm pitcher John Schreiber. Mills, like Schreiber, utilizes a distinctive lower arm angle and a three-pitch mix consisting of a four-seam fastball, slider, and sinker.
Before his injury, he was also exploring the addition of a changeup to his repertoire. With this contract, Mills will continue his rehabilitation within the Red Sox organization, offering the team an opportunity to nurture his talent without occupying a slot on their 40-man roster.
This decision reflects the Red Sox's commitment to long-term player development and strategic roster management, ensuring a balance between immediate team needs and future potential.