So the Orioles actually made a big move which involved spending some cash. On Wednesday the O’s got Kevin Millwood from the Rangers plus cash for Chris Ray and a player to be named later according to the Baltimore Sun.
Last year Millwood, who will be 35, finished with a 13-10 record and a 3.67 ERA in 31 starts. His contract is $12 million for next year, the final year of his deal, and the Orioles will pay nine million of it, getting three million from the Rangers. Probably best of all, he has had at least 29 starts every year but two since 1998, showing his durability.
This solves a very big problem for the Orioles next year, finding a solid veteran starter to give the Birds a good arm to relieve pressure on the rotation, especially on the young arms of Bergesen, Tillman and Matusz. The free agent market for pitchers was very poor this year, and in order to achieve the goal through signing someone would have been difficult. But Millwood, who is a proven veteran for nine million, this is a great solution for Baltimore. Plus, if he is not any good, it is only a one year deal, he would be gone after the 2010 season.
The O’s lost Chris Ray in the deal, and while Ray could still come back to form someday, it was a price worth paying. Before his Tommy John surgery, Ray looked like a big time future closer, but so far his pitches have no movement and he is not the same. To fully recover from TJ-surgery you really need more than a year, but it is not a chance the Orioles need to take. Considering that the Rangers wanted David Hernandez, according to the Sun, and the Orioles did not want to lose him, Ray is a better option. I hope Ray can revive his career in Texas.
Now the strategy for the Orioles will be to find more bullpen pitchers with Ray’s departure. The search is also likely for corner infielders, especially a first baseman if the Orioles are not convinced Mike Aubrey is the starter next year. But getting Kevin Millwood was one of the best moves Andy MacPhail could make, and it should pay dividends next year.
Blog from Dave Vatz–09 Terrapin graduate
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