Thursday, December 10, 2009

Millwood trade reactions

In their first major move of the offseason, the Orioles traded for veteran starter Kevin Millwood. The Orioles sent Chris Ray and a player to be named later to the Rangers in exchange for Millwood and $3 million. Millwood will probably be the Orioles' opening day starter in front of Jeremy Guthrie.

So is the trade a good one or a bad one? Personally, I don't have a problem with the deal for the Orioles. The's O's needed a veteran starter to pitch alongside Guthrie to help protect some of the younger starters from pitching too many innings. Millwood may not have been the best pitcher the O's could have brought in, but he has pitched at least 168 innings in each season in the last five years, so that should help a relatively young rotation. A higher risk-or-reward guy, like Rich Harden or Ben Sheets, may have made more since if the Orioles were on the verge of competing, but they're not quite there yet.

The Orioles have to pay Millwood $12 million ($9 million when you factor in the cash from the Rangers), but he's also a free agent after this season, so there's no long-term commitment for the O's.

Still it hurts a little to lose Ray, who figures to have a better season two years removed from Tommy John surgery.

Here are some reactions to the trade:
  • The Schmuck Stops Here:

    "No, he's not Roy Halladay, but he's a solid veteran who was a good influence on the young players in the Texas Rangers clubhouse last season, and he's the guy who is going to take the monkey off Jeremy Guthrie's back in 2010. . . .

    The trade is just as important from a public relations and marketing standpoint because it sends a signal that the Orioles are serious about improving the team for 2010. MacPhail has to follow up with several more acquisitions over the next couple of months, but he has made good on a key priority with plenty of time left to concentrate on upgrading the corner infield positions and the bullpen."

  • Camden Chat:

    "It's clear the Rangers needed to dump salary and this is how they chose to do so. It's clear the Orioles wanted to pick up a veteran starter and this his how they chose to do so.

    In 2009 the Orioles desperately needed a pitcher who could pitch deep into games, and it's likely Millwood will give them that in 2010. In 31 starts in 2009, Millwood went at least 5 innings in all but two starts, one of which was due to a rain delay. He pitched at least 6 innings in 23 of his starts. In his 13 year career Millwood has averaged 178 innings/year and has that includes his rookie year in 1997 when he threw 51 innings over 12 starts. For his career he averages 6.133 innings/game."

  • Jack Moore of FanGraphs:

    "In 200 innings, the value of a 4.80 FIP comes out to 2.4 wins. So Millwood was a productive pitcher last year and he certainly can be a productive pitcher in the future. There aren’t very many 2.4 win players out there, and Millwood may be due for a better year, as his 2007 and 2008 years were better than his 2009. On the other hand, Millwood is aging, and it’s possible that he’s entered his decline phase and his innings may slip and his peripherals may fall farther. . . .

    For the Orioles, they receive a roughly average starting pitcher. As a one year commitment, 9 million dollars isn’t egregious. It will be probably be near his market value. With the Orioles not in a position to compete, taking on that kind of salary doesn’t really make sense. This kind of money could be much better spent on international signings, draft picks, or other developmental type of projects. He will give them decent production, but is the marginal value of his 2-3 wins above replacement really worth 9 million dollars to them? I’m not sure."

  • Camden Crazies:

    "That said, I would have much rather seen the Orioles spend $8 M on locking up Rich Harden, who has signed with the Rangers for $7.5 M (using the money they saved on Millwood). Way higher upside, and the downside is probably closer than one would think. Millwood offers only innings, which could just as easily be given to Jason Berken. The results would be worse, but the cost is much (much) lower and at least there’d be some chance of improvement. The best I can do is say that it’s not a bad move, and could be OK if Millwood can be spun of at the trade deadline for something useful."

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