The Red Sox have acquired right-hander Wyatt Mills from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace, the club announced on Friday. In order to make room for Mills on the 40-man roster, first baseman Eric Hosmer was designated for assignment.
Mills, who turns 28 next month, was designated for assignment himself earlier this week. The righty split the 2022 season between the Mariners and Royals and posted a 4.60 ERA — but much more respectable 3.62 FIP — with 26 strikeouts to 13 walks over 27 appearances spanning 29 1/3 innings of work.
A former third-round draft pick of the Mariners out of Gonzaga University in 2017, Mills first broke in with Seattle in May 2021. He pitched to a 9.95 ERA and 4.35 FIP with 11 strikeouts to seven walks across 11 outings (12 2/3 innings) last season and opened the 2022 campaign at Triple-A Tacoma.
The Mariners recalled Mills in late April and he proceeded to put up a 4.15 ERA (3.46 FIP) with six punchouts to three walks in his first eight appearances (8 2/3 innings) of the season before being traded to to the Royals with fellow righty William Fleming in exchange for Carlos Santana on June 27.
With Kansas City, Mills produced a 4.79 ERA and 3.69 FIP with twice as many strikeouts as walks (20-to-10) over two stints and 19 appearances (20 2/3 innings) out of the Royals bullpen down the stretch this season. The 27-year-old lost his spot on the Royals’ 40-man roster when the club signed left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to a one-year, $3 million contract on Tuesday.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, Mills possesses a sidearm delivery and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a low-90s four-seam fastball, a low-80s slider, and a low-90s sinker, per Baseball Savant. The Washington state native held opposing hitters to a .167 batting average against with his four-seamer (his most frequently-used offering) this year.
Mills has one minor-league option remaining and is not arbitration-eligible until 2026. He owns a lifetime 2.60 ERA over 62 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level and figures to provide the Red Sox with some additional bullpen depth in 2023, if not beyond.
Going back to Kansas City in exchange for Mills is Wallace, the 24-year-old relief prospect the Red Sox originally acquired from the Rockies as the player to be named later in the August 2020 trade that sent Kevin Pillar to Colorado.
Wallace, who hails from Methuen, Mass., spent the entirety of the 2022 season with Double-A Portland. The right-hander out of UConn. forged a 3.81 ERA and 5.81 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 49 walks over 47 relief outings (56 2/3 innings) for the Sea Dogs. He was a candidate to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster last month, but was left off and was passed over in last week’s Rule 5 Draft. SoxProspects.com had Wallace as the No. 45 prospect in the organization, noting that his command and control need significant refinement.
Finally, we arrive at Hosmer, who was designated for assignment in order to make room for Mills on the 40-man roster. The Red Sox acquired Hosmer (as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) from the Padres for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August.
Hosmer appeared in just 14 games for Boston and batted .244/.320/.311 with three doubles, four RBIs, and six runs scored. The 33-year-old was placed on the injured list with low back inflammation on Aug. 21 and did not return until the final series of the season against the Rays.
While Hosmer was sidelined, the Red Sox called up top prospect Triston Casas from Triple-A Worcester. Casas, a left-handed hitting first baseman, slashed .197/.358/.408 with five home runs and 12 RBIs across 27 games (95 plate appearances) to close out the season. Considering the fact that Casas and Hosmer both hit from the left side of the plate and primarily play first base, the latter became somewhat redundant this offseason thanks to the former’s emergence in the fall.
The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hosmer, who opted into the final three years and $39 million of his contract last month. As part of the deal that sent Hosmer from San Diego to Boston, though, the Padres agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary down to the major-league minimum. That means that another club could claim Hosmer off waivers without needed to make much of a financial commitment to him moving forward.
Hosmer, who does not turn 34 until next October, did gain a full no-trade clause when he was dealt from the Padres to the Red Sox over the summer, so he would have to approve a move if Boston elects to trade him. The Red Sox could also elect to simply release Hosmer since the Padres remain on the hook for the bulk of his contract through 2025.
Following Friday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is now at full capacity.
(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)