Brewers trade pitcher Brad Mills to A's for $1 (yes, a dollar)

David Brown
Big League Stew
Two sides of Brad Mills in 2012 with the Angels. (Getty)
Two sides of Brad Mills in 2012 with the Angels. (Getty)

It's obvious what happened. Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin sat down with each other recently for a screening of the original "Robocop" and it inspired them to make a trade.

And that deal is Milwaukee sending left-hander Brad Mills to Oakland for "cash considerations." And the amount of money was $1 billion $1 million $100,000 $1.

One dollar.


Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had the scoop Tuesday night. Word is, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, the A's will move Mills into their starting rotation after Drew Pomeranz punched a chair and broke his hand after a rough outing.

Mills, 29, has a 7.76 ERA in 53 1/3 major league innings over three stints with the Blue Jays and (for one start in 2012) the Angels. But his numbers at Class AAA Nashville this season have been spectacular: A 1.56 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 75 innings with fewer than one baserunner per inning allowed over 14 games, including 12 starts.  

With Beane already expecting to go over budget in order to replace the chair, using a significant amount of money to replace a starting pitcher was out of the question. So, as the J-S notes, this really works out:

These types of deals aren't all that unusual. In fact, the Brewers traded catcher Wil Nieves to the Atlanta Braves in July of 2011 for the same sum. Mills' contract with the Brewers called for the team to receive zero compensation if he wound up being assigned to another team's active 25-man roster. So whatever the Brewers received – even if it's $1 – is more than was required.

Wow, what a generous gratuity! No word from the A's yet as to how they'll pay the fee.

"That dollar's coming out of your paycheck, Beane!" said A's owner Lew Wolff, probably.

Some players like Mills get "zero compensation" language put into their contracts for reasons like this. If a second team becomes interested in the player, it doesn't give the original team — in this case, the Brewers — incentive to "horde" the player and keep him in the minors just for depth.

Wes Helms also was traded from the Phillies to the Marlins in 2008 for $1, and there probably have been other such Washingtonian trades. This deal sets up the possibility, way down the road, that Mills will face the Brewers in the World Series after being traded for a buck. That would be fun, and worth the price of admission (which definitely will be more than $1).

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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