The Red Sox have signed right-hander Wyatt Mills to a minor league contract covering both the 2024 and 2025 seasons, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports (X link). The length of the deal reflects Mills’ health situation, as he underwent Tommy John surgery last July and may not pitch at all during the 2024 season.
Mills has a 6.21 ERA over 42 career innings in the majors, all with the Mariners and Royals during the 2021-22 seasons. While the early returns on his big league career have been uninspiring, Mills has a 3.25 ERA, 32.06% strikeout rate, and grounder rates usually over the 50% mark over his 188 1/3 innings in the minors.
Working out of the bullpen for all but one of his 155 games in the minors, Mills has some interesting potential as a bullpen arm, which is why both Kansas City and Boston have acquired the righty in trades during his young career. Mills went to K.C. as part of the Carlos Santana swap with the Mariners at the 2022 trade deadline, while the Red Sox then picked Mills up in a deal last winter.
Unfortunately for Mills, he has yet to throw an official pitch as a member of the Red Sox organization. He developed elbow inflammation during Spring Training and was sidelined for months before it was ultimately decided that Tommy John surgery was necessary. He did earn a full year of MLB service time for spending the season on the big league injured list, yet that’s small consolation considering the injury will now cost Mills (who turns 29 in January) possibly two full years of his career.
Mills wasn’t yet eligible for salary arbitration, but the Red Sox non-tendered him anyway last week to remove him from the 40-man roster. It’s safe to assume a handshake deal might’ve been in place to bring Mills back so quickly after he was non-tendered, and the Sox will now get to continue overseeing his TJ rehab and see what Mills can still bring to the table in 2025. It’s not out of the question that he can bank at least some minor league innings in late 2024, since as a reliever, Mills won’t need to rebuild his arm to quite the same extent that a starter would when coming back from a Tommy John procedure.