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December 9, 2009

Millwood: Big first step

millwoodAP.jpgThe Orioles downplayed the likelihood of making a significant deal at the Winter Meetings -- and I suppose there are some people who are going to downplay the significance of the deal they made -- but acquiring veteran starter Kevin Millwood was a pretty good way to kick off Andy MacPhail's winter upgrade program.

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.

Guthrie did everything he could to fill the No. 1 starter role the past two years, but everybody knew it was too much responsibility for him, and he wilted under the weight of it last season. Millwood will assume that role, which should make everybody in the rotation more comfortable in their own skin.

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.

He may not even be done with the rotation. He was adamant when the first question was posed about the possibility of gambling on one of the risky free agent starters -- such as former Oriole Erik Bedard -- contending that the Millwood deal made that more rather than less likely.

"We're still in the pitching business,'' MacPhail said. "I don't think with the first move, we could afford to have that kind of risk. Now, we have some latitude to take a flyer."

That's good news. The Orioles are going to have to catch a little lightning in a bottle to be more competitive this season. If they could get lucky with one of the high-risk pitchers on reasonable terms it would open up the possibility -- however slim -- of a competitive breakthrough.

There's still much to do, but it has to be a big relief for Orioles fans to know that some real work has begun.

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 7:14 PM | | Comments (83)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Watch out for the negative spin from the downers. It's coming...

Anyway...

Let's see if we can't grab Kouzmanoff for third, LaRoche for first, Bedard for the rotation and Soriano for the pen.

Make some more deals, Andy!

Hopefully Millwood can be like Rick Sutcliff was for us back in the ealry 90's. Aging picture but great influence. Time to get Bedard for 3 years and we have the potencial from a good rotation.

It's a huge relief. As much as I hated the Orioles not signing Tex last year, this goes a long way toward earning back my faith. They're spending a lot on Millwood, and as far as I can tell, it makes sense. If they sign Bedard/someone else and make a significant upgrade at one of the corners, plus a little relief help, we could be a contender Charlie. Here's to hoping...

PS -- Pete, kudos to you for beating the drum on the need to sign a real veteran starter. The detractors on this blog must think you're clairvoyant. But they'll never admit that, will they?

Millwood's sub 4.00 ERA from last year was a smokescreen!

And by that, I mean when facing the Yankees and Red Sox, he averaged 6.0 innings per start and had an ERA of 2.72.

Vegas Al -

Can't see anyone giving Bedard anything more than one year plus an option with a base salary around $5M.

The more I think about this trade, the more I like it. The Orioles can now head into opening day knowing who their five starters are without question. Plus, it allows some of the younger guys like Erbe and Arrieta to stay in the minors a little longer. If either blow up, they can always turn around around and ship either Millwood or Guthrie for a mid-level prospect.

Even though I once had high hopes for him, I think it's time for a chance of scenery for Chris Ray.

In a more perfect world, they could have thrown that money at Harden, but Harden wasn't about to come to the East. Still, he's a flyball pitcher, so who knows why he chose Arlington over Seattle.

Millwood's not worth $9 million a year, but it's not my money. Unless the Orioles defense gets much, much better this offseason, he's going to post an ERA around 5 in the East, and his Innings Eating ability is going to be determined by whether or not the offense is able to keep up with the runs he surrenders, which they should, for the most part.

Hopefully they'll be able to move him for something at the deadline.

The Star has reported that MacPhail asked about Billy Butler/Alex Gordon in exchange for Pie, which obviously wasn't going to happen.

I'm not a fan of Gordon, but do you think the O's would ever consider making truly bold offer for someone like Butler? The guy's a tremendous ballplayer, and young to boot.

Other people might not agree, but something like Tillman, Pie and Waring for Butler and a well-regarded prospect would be pretty fair/good for the Orioles, IMO...

With Chris from Hawaii's pt, I'm not sure why that's a smokescreen (success against Bos + NYY). In fact, I think that's the best part of this deal. Looking at ESPN stats for 2007-2009, Millwood is a combined 5-1 in 8 starts against the Sox and Yankees combined with an ERA under 4.00. That's not just last year, but the last three. The O's won't make a dent in the division until they have guys that can handle the 36 games we play against those two teams. We need guys who won't roll over and play dead when they come into town. You've gotta think Andy knew that stat when he made the deal...

I think Ray will have a good year, but I think David Hernandez is going to play the role Ray would've played and do it better (and cheaper). Good move Andy.

Great move by Andy. Exactly what this team needed. Is he Halladay or Lincecum, certainly not but he's a solid No. 2-3 starter and he should be motivated to excel in 2010 in the last year of a contract. He could even bring a decent propect in a deadline trade if he's pitching well.
Millwood, Guthrie, Matusz, Bergesen, Tillman is a long way from the likes of Cabrera, Liz, Simon, Penn, Eaton, Olson, Burres.

MacPhail should go after Kila Ka'aihue instead. Kid's coming off an unlucky year when he set the AAA record for walks, and the Royals show no willingness to pay him. Now, the Royals are extremely bad at the business of baseball, so this shouldn't be seen as a slight on Ka'aihue -- and considering how bad Dayton Moore's other deals have been, he could likely be had for cheap. "Cheap" here being Felix Pie and some one like Waring.

Trading Tillman would be a bad idea.

Call him Andy Flanagan for overpaying like this. Those of you who like this deal, consider Millwood's recent years' OPS against: 730, 810, 820, 750. The mlb avg. is 750. This guy is done, his good era last year was just luck - he didn't pitch that well. He projects to a 800 ops for 2010 - good number for a hitter. Maybe we should call him Andy Minaya.

I like the move. Yes, he is somewhat of a risk for a high ERA, but we'll see what happens. As long as he performs well enough to stay in the rotation (and I don't foresee that being a problem), his value extends beyond what he does on the mound. That's the type of player you always look to sign.

I know a lot of people would like to see the Orioles land a righty power hitter. Count me in that group. However, I don't think this will be a low power team without a Fielder/Gonzalez. Instead of a 45 HR guy, there are some advantages to having seven guys who hit 25 or so. Opponents don't pitch around one guy and an injury to one player is less devastating. Adding Kouzmanoff would give the O's another 25 HR guy, and a similar hitter at 1B would make seven counting Jones, Markakis, Wieters, Reimold, and Scott. On the bench, they also have Wigginton who would hit them out at about that same rate. Curious to hear some thoughts on that.

Why this rush to trade Waring? We finally have a legitimate power hitter in our system and some of our fans want to lose him already. Personally, I think that he is probably the best power hitter in the system and we need to let him grow with us.

In 31 starts last year, Millwood lasted at least 6 innings 23 times and gave up three earned runs or fewer 21 times. I'll take that any day of the week, epecially when compared to what the O's had last year.

SandyK, I was making a joke about how everyone is saying Millwood's ERA is gonna bloat in the AL East because of the quality of competition. Sorry, I just didn't sell it very well. :-)

I'm totally for this move. I don't necessarily expect him to repeat his 2009 numbers, but he's a solid guy who'll give the youngsters some good advice and he's very competitive.

Chris,

I got what you were saying an but I do think Millwood's 2009 was an anomaly. I'm thrilled to have him on board, but I'm not expecting anything like last yr.

Really happy about this move. Well done.

Sign Bedard as he probably can't pitch until the AS break, but we'll lose Millwood the following year so lock Bedard up now.

I hear the Royals are interested in Pie. If we could get Butler, I'd add some pieces to this. Maybe Snyder, Pie and another piece. It'd soldify a spot for awhile and at least Butler couldn't hit line drives off of Bergeson.

Welcome to the Orioles, Kevin Millwood.

think of it this way, the O's had Simon, Hendrickson, and Eaton in the rotation to start last year. Putting Millwood out on the mound is a vast improvement on those guys, and he's been acquired at a reasonable price. I'm not positive he'll work out great, but it seems like getting pitchers who have had consistent success in their careers to compete for a starting role is definitely a step forward...

Grant,

You are right, I am one of those people who completely disagree with that trade proposal you mentioned. Why would we trade our second best pitching prospect, our best power hitting prospect, and our 3rd/4th outfielder for a guy in Butler, who while he is an up and coming hitter in this league, he is a DH or possibly a 1st baseman. Now if you took out Tillman from that deal and subbed in maybe Erbe or Hernandez (decent prospects), then I would totally agree. By the way, I am on board with the signing of Millwood. I couldnt say it any better than Peter said himself.

"No, he's not Roy Halladay, but he's a solid veteran who was a good influence on the young players"...which is exactly what we needed and were looking for

Pete, everyone gets excited about Millwood because even to this day, his name winds up associated with the great Atlanta pitching staffs of the 90's. If nothing else it's great to have him on our side because he always ate the Orioles up. The trade is decent and we only gave up Chris Ray? That's a steal (McPhail's specialty)!

Your column today was a decent column, but you have to consider several things for all the blog hits. First, you are a popular columnist and blogger because you write interesting and relevant articles and comments, including those about the Ravens. Second you have the power of 50,000 watts behind you, so if you were to write about rugby, people would probably want to know your take. During baseball season, I usually will read your blogs and columns, but not much more because it just wasn't fun.

Yes, the Orioles tend to be more interesting in the offseason. That is actually unfortunate, because by June or July, people tend to lose interest. In other cities with real baseball teams, more interest in gained in June or July (see NY, BOS, or BAL in '96 or '97). The O's just aren't that relevant during the baseball season as they traditionally take themselves out of contention a month or 2 before Ravens open training camp. That's too bad and I would love to see that change. My kids love Joe Flacco, Derek Mason and the 2 Rays (Double Trouble), but they really don't care about Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis or Matt Wieters. Winning breeds excitement.

I recall that when the Indians rented Millwood for a year -- in which he ended up winning the American League ERA title despite having a losing record -- the young pitchers on the team talked about what a great teammate he was and how much they learned from him.

Pete,

Certainly no longer a #1, but should provide a steadying influence and hopefully assure AM to take his flyer! Great start!

Good first move but lets not stop here... much more work to do ...but at least now we have a vet pitcher who can handle being the ace...

Good luck Ray.

if they got another pitcher would they trade Guthrie? Or maybe do a six-man rotation?

Pete, You wrote concerning the possibility of the Orioles signing Bedard or another pitcher coming off an injury after the Millwood deal: "We're still in the pitching business,'' MacPhail said. "I don't think with the first move, we could afford to have that kind of risk. Now, we have some latitude to take a flyer."

Shouldn't that read: "I don't think without the first move, we could afford to have that kind of risk."

All in all, relatively speaking I'd say the Millwood trade is a significant one. Whether it's a good one or not remains to be seen, but anytime you're paying $9M for a pitcher, while giving up two players, that's fairly significant.

I think the reasons you give for it working out are valid. If being too pressured had a bearing on Guthrie's performance last season, then perhaps this will help, but he's still going need to pitch much better (assuming the Orioles still keep him, which I imagine they will). And that, in turn, could have a trickle down effect for the rest of the rotation.

And just as importantly is having another hurler who can go 200 innings and take some heat off of the bullpen. But it's important that he come to camp in decent shape, because in 2007 and '08 he didn't and struggled to get through the fifth inning. It was Rangers' President Nolan Ryan who told Millwood that he'd need to do better, because much was expected of him.

For more, see the great interview about Millwood that MASN's Steve Milewski had with Texas broadcaster Josh Lewin http://masnsports.com/2009/12/a-rangers-broadcaster-talks-ab.html )

The Orioles are going to need to do the same goading with Millwood, preferably with Trembley giving him the same message he gave Albers at the end of the season: Come to spring training in shape.

I think this is going to be a good trade for the O's. A lot will depend on how Millwood is able to transition from the relatively-weaking hitting AL West (only the Angels had a potent lineup, while the Mariners were slightly above average and the A's average or slightly below) to the brutal AL East (the only breather, such as it is, would be the Blue Jays, but they're still comparable to Seattle). That will be the real test and we'll quickly see what he's got.

As for letting go of Ray, I think it makes sense. I'm expecting him to bounce back for Texas, though it is a gamble for them. Then there's the PTBNL, which I guess will hinge on how well Millwood does.

Concerning the thought that Millwood will only pitch for the Orioles one season, I think it's way too early to speculate on that. What if he has a great season, the O's finally get over .500 and he decides he likes pitching in Baltimore, which he thinks can seriously compete in 2011?

It's premature to rule anything out at this point. It's also possible that he has a fine season, but the Orioles are happy with how their minor league arms have
developed and trade him aftr the All-Star break.

Either way, in the long run I think this is going to be a very a very positive trade for the O's and say kudos to MacPhail for coming through once again.

For such a crappy pitcher, Millwood seems to do pretty well against the Yanks, Rays and the Bosox. He was 5-2 vs the AL East last yr, with one of his losses coming against the Orioles. His ERA is quite good for an AL pitcher, and he seems to be able to strike people out. I see him as a major upgrade. If we get Bedard and he is healthy, we could have a very competitive starting rotation.

Costly, but at least Texas felt we were not offering "Confederate" money.

THanks for all these updates Pete. I know you are getting lots of hits on your blog. Sorry to say that 42,000 of them are me. Most of the rest are probably relatives of yours. It may not be a good measure of fan interest.

I think we sign Bedard and then package Guthrie and Luke Scott and one young pitcher for a power hitter. I like it.

Hopefully, this is the first of many moves and not just a token move to appease a restless fanbase.

Next up Ben Sheets and some good hitters from other teams in cost cutting mode.

Hopefully this a lesson to the apologists who think "theres nobody out there "

For those who look at Millwood's bad ERA and say its a bad move, you need to look closer. At Arlington, Millwood was decent at best but usually crappy. OUTSIDE of Arlington, though, Millwood was decent-to-good as a pitcher. If he had signed with almost any other team, he'd probably be one of the better pitchers in baseball stat-wise.

And giving him up for a shaky Chris Ray (who I liked, BTW) was an absolute steal.

I don't mind Bedard coming back for a year or two, though obviously I don't count on him long-term. I kinda do want him back just for showing just how ridiculous/lopsided the Bedard trade really was.

As for Kouzmanoff, I wouldn't mind seeing him in an O's uni. He's no Cabrera or Figgins, but he's still an effective 3B who will probably get an offensive boost if he leaves Petco Park and would be an effective stopgap for when Bell gets here or a stabilizer like Mora used to be. And there are far, far worse 3B out there.

I'll give the O's a B+. The problem, though, is that the Yankees probably would end up getting Halladay and Red Sox most likely would acquire Lackey to the O's Millwood - pushing O's further back.

I'm happy. Chris Ray, even before going down to injury, had been attacked by longballitis. Coming off surgery, he looked time and again like a flinger, a thrower, not a pitcher. He gave his best for the Birds and I wish him well.

Getting Kevin Millwood is a shrewd move by Andy. Millwood has had some good seasons, is a competitor, and an excellent clubhouse guy with young pitchers. And as you point out, Pete, this move helps Jeremy Guthrie. It certainly strengthens the rotation.

Pete, this looks like a perfect fit. The birds get a true veteran innings eater. As a bonus he is still young enough that he could possibly be around when the O's reach the postseason. It's been a decade since the O's had an established veteran start on Opening Day. Now hopefully the kids on the farm can be called up without the extra pressure of being the savior of the moment.

i agree with the trade.i think i read a few weeks back the dodgers were considering trading george sherrell,would the orioles have any inclination of trying to get george back.

Don't like posting twice in a row, but I just read on ESPN.com that the Dodgers are signing Jay Gibbons to a minor league deal. Think he'll get back in the majors?

Come On Man!

2007 and 2008 were true indicators..... At his age, Texas knew this, thus why they received so little in return. Topping it off, they threw in a load of cash? Hello!

Teams (like Texas) who have been desperate for pitching for years, simply don't give up on quality.

Question: Anyone know who runs Texas now? Someone who knows pitching perhaps?

AM has duped you folks yet again!

Y do ppl incessantly mock Seattle for the Bedard trade?

Big deal, they thought Bedard was one last missing piece to win a pennant and they took a shot. It seems they werent as informed as they could've been about Erika's fragility and heartlessness on the mound. Im sure they thought Erika just took herself out of games cuz she was bored and disgruntled since her team was usualy out of it by June15 every season; they gambled and lost, but THEY WERE TRYING TO WIN and win something big.

Now, ironically ppl are clamoring for the Os to sign Erika again. I wouild sign her only after we tried to get everyone else with talent first

BTW, SEATTLE WON 85 GAMES LAST YEAR and with a cpl of good moves, they could make the postseason this yr. Any of u guys mocking the Mariners willing to bet the Os will be in the postseason in 2010 ??

stupid stupid stupid stupid

Who is going to close for the O’s? Who is going to play 3rd? Who is going to play 1st? Do we have any clutch hitting at all? This years team has disaster written all over it.

PS if Wiggy plays 3rd im going to puke

People incessantly mock Seattle for the Bedard deal because they gave up an everyday centerfielder, a #2 starter, a closer, and a good reliever for a guy who pitched 160 innings in two years. Bedard was even in his pre-Seattle years worth either Jones or Tillman, not both.

As for the rest of the post calling Erik Bedard a girl is probably the cleverest thing in there so rock on in the free world dude

JBern

Yeah man the M's gave up an everyday centerfielder, a #2 starter, a closer, and a good reliever for a guy who pitched 160 innings in two years but the orioles still suck and need more than ever buddy. 2010 magic number 100

Leave me alone you Oriole fans! I am in Indy with Tiger woods visiting my girl on the side making bad trades to my buddy Scotty too hotty Boras baby!
WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Typical Orioles… Millwood is this years Koji Uehahaha

So the guys in Texas know pitching? So they get rid of Millwood and 9m bucks, and bring in Chris Ray and Rich Harden, the captain of the All DL Team. Right. Make a case for that.Try again Wayne.
The O's get Millwood for 3M a year, and give up nothing. What is wrong with that move?

Scott Miller is reporting O's interest in Matsui...http://scott-miller.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/view/6270335

This is great:

In 31 starts last year, Millwood lasted at least 6 innings 23 times and gave up three earned runs or fewer 21 times. I'll take that any day of the week, epecially when compared to what the O's had last year.

Posted by: Jon | December 9, 2009 8:50 PM

**************************

Nicely put, sky's the limit right now, we gave up nothing for an anchor. We win with Millwood either way, if he leaves, draft picks or trade deadline pickups. If he excels? Well, sign him up again.

Yo Pete!
Who is this mysterious player to be named later included in the millwood trade with Ray??
Hopefully its Albers, Sarfatty or one of those other douche bags

Yo Jim,

The O's got him for 3m? Are you on crack? Check out the deal again.....

Congrats for being just one of those AM has duped yet again......

I’m sorry but anybody celebrating that the Orioles picked up Kevin Millwood needs to get out and root for a real baseball team hahaha

This move is going to be a nightmare! Millwood did not want to come to Baltimore and he’s 35!!!!

Can the Orioles for once get a pitcher with experience that is in his late 20s or early 30s free of injury concerns and no mental problems? Every year it’s the same old song and dance about an overpaid broken bum that can barely finish the season at best.

Pete, Nice work this week in keeping us abreast of the news. In reporting the trade, FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal singled out the Sun for breaking the story.

I think Andy MacPhail is to be commended again for inching the Orioles back to respectability. The more I think about it the more this move makes great sense.

Now that the O's have taken the important first step to improving the team this winter, what do you see as happening? Let me throw a few scenarios out to you to get your feedback:

* For a while it looked like the O's had a serious interest in Rafael Soriano, but Rosenthal reported that they seem to be looking elsewhere. Heard anything about that?

* Does the signing of Millwood improve the Orioles' chances of signing Erik Bedard? Would you characterize them as the frontrunners to get him?

* The Tigers have said they're not interested in bringing back Aubrey Huff. He said he'd like to return to Baltimore, but the feeling doesn't seem to be mutual from the Warehouse. I think he'd be at least as good an option at first as some of the names that are being thrown around. And since he goes good season, bad season, good season...etc., he's in line for another good one in 2010. Did he burn his bridges with the Orioles and somehow not know it?

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I guess Soriano is going to the Rays. Andy said that the Millwood deal improves the chances of getting a guy like Bedard but I wouldn't say the O's are the frontrunner. As for Aubry, I don't think the Orioles have anything against him, but I haven't heard that they're very interested in re-signing him.

I just hope they can re-sign him for a couple of years. Then the trade makes more sense. But he is from Maryland so that may be possible I believe.

If this was the only move that was made by the O's this winter, I wouldn't be happy at all, but this is just the beginning. I feel that Millwood is a solid SP. All I hear is 9 mil wasted, but yet Wolf gets 3 years at 27 mil and Brad Penny gets 7.5 mil plus a chance at another 1.5 mil in incentives. The O's gave up a guy that didn't come back from surgery the way we all hoped plus he got worse as the season went on. I hope he does well, but we didn't get up much at all. I just don't see any downside to this deal.

I heard the Matsui rumor and I am all for signing him to be the DH. I know people will say another old timer is all we can get, but this guy can hit and now that he doesn't play the field, he isn't prone to injuries. I would love to see him hit at OPACY for 81 games a year.

Does anyone else think Guthrie and Scott are going to be packaged in a trade for a 1B or 3B? I just get a sense that they aren't part of the plan.

Hey Andy did well this time. Good to see some movement.

Millwood is from Gastonia, NC, not Maryland.

You really have to work at it to find something to critisize here. We just got a guy who can help solidify the rotation with 200 or so IP for a guy who showed no sign of being close to what he was a couple of years ago. We most certainly have a better staff today than we did yesterday. The unremitting doom and gloom on the part of some never ceases to amaze.

Wayne, Andy MacFail, Omar, No Hope, Josh (sorry if I left anyone out): Please go away, and come back when the Orioles are contending. Not when they get to .500. Not when they have the first winning season. Not when there are vague rumblings of Wild Card talk. Stay away until contention. If you come back prematurely, you will almost certainly squawk and hiss and sink your vulture-like beaks into any modicum of enjoyment that those of us who really love this team have managed to harvest from their progress. You will then continue to thrash and skewer the corpse of our former joy until there is nothing left but gristle and gizzards and we are all as foul, indecent and all-around rancid as the pleasureless vacuums that you have become. So please, I'm begging you, go away until there is absolutely zilch to complain about - nothing worthy of even the most trifling criticism.

But that day will never come, will it? You know it too well. Your entire lives are undoubtedly as sour, stagnant and plant-wilting as your half-assed and black-hearted endeavors into baseball fan-dom. I am as cynical (sometimes bitterly so) as the next person, but Jesus Christ, to be simultaneously that miserable and insipid - I can't imagine the burden. At least you're too ignorant to really have it weigh on your conscience. Take heart!

Oh, yeah. I like this trade, it accomplishes everything that any non-delusional fan could have hoped for this off-season... at least at starting pitching, which is paramount. And either Millwood pitches well and maybe we sign him for a few more, or he pitches well and we parlay him into a position player at the deadline. Either way, awesome. And we got this out of the way quickly enough to focus all attention on the corners.

Sorry for the rant.

ok wayne, 9 million, and its still a good deal
wasn't your point about the rangers knowing pitching? the rangers take the 9 - rays money and go sign harden for 8, with an 11m option for 2011. That's not a crapshoot picking up those 2?

Pete -
These GMs have a pretty tough job once you get past the Cy Young crowd. Plateau #2 ....the "decent" starters .... comprises about 80% of all starting pitchers and finding the ones that are more decent than the others is like looking for needles in haystacks. One thing's for sure: Kevin Millowood's a helluva lot sharper needle than last year's experiment Adam Eaton (shudder).
Meanwhile, this Kouzmanoff thing is very interesting. I saw Josh Bell in Arizona last month and, while he will definitely be major leaguer, I'm not sure he'll ever be a power hitter. LIke BRob he tracks the ball well and hits it where it's pitched. Defensively, his hands and arm are ok ...but he seems to be very slow in setting himself up to make the play ..like he's thinking about it too much.
Anyway, let's get this Kouzmanoff guy not only for 2010 but maybe beyond. He is a legit major leaguer and we should not be shy giving one in return.

As a McPhail critic,I have to hand it to him on this unless Millwoord retires. I mean getting him for Chris Ray is unbelieveable. Glad I'm not a Rangers fan today.Two birds with one stone dumping Ray.

My question for the people who are criticizing this deal: Who else do you think the O's are going to get, realistically? They might get Bedard IF the other GMs are afraid of getting burned like the M's. Otherwise, no pitcher who is worth a damn (even if they're injury-prone like Ben Sheets) is going to come to Baltimore, at least until the O's manage a .500 season. Just because you're able to pull off a mega-deal in your fantasy league doesn't mean it could happen in the real world.

Millwood's contract, of which 2010 is his last season, schedules him to be paid 12 million dollars and TX is paying 25% of his salary-that is a huge bargain and the upgrade of his 180 IP compared to the alternative is a big plus. No matter how you view the team or the GM you have to see this as a positive, there really is little reason that Ray 'breaks through' and becomes a star regardless. When looking at Millwood's stats, year 1 is always the best in a new city for him.

LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!
Almost 2 runs lower ERA than anyone currently on the staff, has avg'd 200 innings or more his whole career, kills American League East teams, gets kudos from former teammates about clubhouse influence, was clearly one of the Rangers team leaders on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community, and everywhere he's been the team got better.
What's not to LOVE?
Pete, as always you make the best point: Everyone now moves down a slot in the rotation where they can relax and just pitch! If Bedard comes back healthy, look out, we could go Righty, Lefty, righty Lefty, Righty.
or
Millwood
Bedard
Bergy
Matusz
Guthrie

Hernandez will help us forget Ray in the bullpen, if last yr's mechanics mess hadn't already and don't foget Koji!
Koji has reliever experience and the kind of junk to be a great 1st option out of the bullpen after the heat of our young guns pound a team for 6, you get the Japanese screwjob! then Johnson throwing heat and hoepfully a bonafide closer after that!
Oooo snap, something might actually be brewing in ole Balmur!

It seems like whenever the O's make a good deal, people bring up everything bad that's happened in the last 12 years here from Maz to Jim Hunter being the mascot for MASN, but a good deal is a good deal and on top of that, Andy wasn't one of the guys who messed things up here so not sure the hate towards him?

I read in the Boston Herald that the Sox want Adrian Beltre. I actually don't like Beltre for the O's at 4 years, but I do think that the O's need to target a 3B and go after him. I know that Jeff reported Pedro Feliz was on top of their list and if that's the case, go get him because a weak 3B class will get weaker with Figgins off the market now and Mora, possibly to the Rockies and Beltre to the Sox. I don't want Wiggy at 3B for 162 games to say the very least.

I like the idea of Kouz if Tillman isn't in the deal. I doubt the Padres would do Scott and Guthrie for him. I wish the O's would've traded for Teahen. He just signed a 3 yr/14 mil deal with the White Sox. The guy is solid and can play 3B, 1B and RF.

Any fans in CO? Just curious if Atkins just had a bad year, didn't get along with Tracy or is he a product of playing in Coors Field? I just get the sense that the O's are going to get him.

On the Matsui Rumor: Well, he is a former teammate of Koji soooo there could be some texting going on between the two.
Dude can rake it as if his WS performance wasn't enough proof, just go back and look at his numbers vs the O's.
HE KILLED US.
I would much rather see him in our dugout than theirs, but then you could probably say that about any of their starters.

Part of the reason for having so many arms is to make a trade like this.

Obviously, this isn't going to put the Orioles in contention on its own. What it does do is make the Orioles better. Even if Chris Ray became something special -- and 49 soft saves in 58 tries before his injury which he may or may not recover from -- he wasn't going to start 30 games for the Orioles.

Millwood in the last 12 years has made at least 30 starts eight times plus 29 starts two more times. He had six complete games just in the past two years.

Quite simply, he gives the Orioles the prospect of something Ray couldn't. And while he may not be a #1 pitcher by Yankee, Red Sox, et al standards, he is an upgrade at that position for the Orioles. And when a team improves at the #1 slot, everyone backs down one spot and there is improvement there, too.

Maybe he will be a Rick Sutcliffe type as I proposed a few days ago when Hernandéz was being dangled. Maybe he will be trade bait for a contender come trade deadline time. There are greater possibilities and more flexibility for the Orioles moving forward, and they are now a better team. Period.

A lot more needs to happen before the Orioles can entertain 81 wins as a legitimate goal. A free agent signing or two would be nice. Perhaps another trade is possible. Certainly, some of the young pitchers the Orioles currently have need to step up -- and we're talking about those who might pitch six or more innings per outing, not four batters and 1/3 of an ininng of guesswork.

Maybe Millwood can growl at Trembley when the giddy manager gropes for the panic button and wants to empty the bullpen ad nauseum. If the young starters learn only that much about their craft, the deal is a good one.

Waspman, you have it right. The last line of your post is an all-time classic.

Milwood is a stop-gap either way. He fills out the rotation for this coming year and allows the future top of the rotation guys (Matusz & Tillman) work out of the #4 and #5 spots where their talent level will exceed that of their counterparts. If he is a success we offer him arbitration and likely collect draft picks when Boras shops him to someone for a multi-year deal, if he is unsuccessful we use his $9 mil a year to bid on Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay.

As for Chris Ray in Texas, I don't think Arlington will suit his pitching style all that well. I always thought it peculiar when he would point in the air for balls hit deep to the outfield as if they were pop-ups. I can just see him now doing that and the ball landing 20 rows deep in the stands.

I like the addition of Millwood. Just compared his #s to Guthrie's. Kind of neat. In 2009 Guthrie had the same type of yr. (ERA-wise) as Millwood did in 2008. In 2008 Guthrie had the yr. Millwood had in 2009. 2009 Millwood ERA 3.67; Guthrie 2008 ERA 3.63.
2008 Millwood ERA 5.07; 2009 Guthrie 5.04.

Maybe between the two we'll get lucky and have two guys work 200 innings to about a 4.00 ERA. Go Os.

Great trade, need some more stability in the rotation in front of the young guys, don't want to burn them out. I would LOVE to see Ben Sheets in a Birds' uni this season... Pie for Alex Gordon would be a fantastic deal... plug Gordon in at 3rd and when Bell is ready he can play 1st.

The more I look at Kouzmanoff, the more I like the idea of acquiring him. If you look at his career numbers, away from home he's a 284/328/477 hitter. Also, last year he committed just 3 errors. If we can get him without too much cost, and show he can hit outside of Petco, then we don't have to rush Bell and can flip Kouz when Bell is ready.

Ed,

You're a funny guy! Problem is though, you like losing. You and your like enjoyed losing last year, 3 years ago, 5 years ago, 8 years ago, 10 years ago, and 12 years ago..... It's what dudes like you thrive on.

You like the youth movement. You enjoy every new GM who stops by the warehouse. And oh yeah.... you bleed orange and black and say things like 'in andy we trust'.

Truth is, Millwood's stats from 2007 and 2008 are true indicator stats. Not one other team, in a starved for pitching league, wanted this guy for 9 million.

But enjoy...... this is what you do!

" ... And when a team improves at the #1 slot, everyone backs down one spot and there is improvement there, too."

" ... Maybe Millwood can growl at Trembley when the giddy manager gropes for the panic button and wants to empty the bullpen ad nauseum. If the young starters learn only that much about their craft, the deal is a good one."

--------------------------------------

Naysayers, please chew on these MOST important points brought up by Waspman in a previous post. And although I realize Guthrie has decent value as a trade chip, I get the feeling that he will be the one to benefit most quickly from the Millwood addition.

Great trade. I think too many people examine a trade by itself and don't look at the bigger picture.
Yes, Millwood is very consistent solid stuff, way better than we had last year. But what it also brings is a lot of credibility. If I'm a real #1 pitcher, I would give the O's a long look now. Millwood and Guthrie at 2 and 3 (where they belong) with some real hot young talent at 4 and 5 (also where they belong) is really attractive with a lot of upside.
A high risk FA signing like Bedard is an obvious solution, but man what about pulling the trigger on a real #1 like Halladay?
The pattern I've seen with MacPhail is that he makes moves that are all part of a bigger plan that most of us can't see and make a ton of baseball sense. So comon MacPhail, keep laying down those cards and shows us you aren't done yet.

WHY IS BEDARD STILL ON OUR RADAR!? We traded him for a reason, he was a jerk and didn't want to be in Baltimore...move on and look elsewhere pleeeaaase.

This guy Deadwood is a MacFail special all the way. I see him on the DL early

Jc,
Millwood like Bedard also doesn’t want to be in Baltimore! For pitchers the Orioles is the end of the road.

Wayne,

You are a joyless chump. Enough already, please pull out your magic wand and wave it and make the O's better so that the rest of us can finally stop watching the team's moves and evaluating their progress. That would save so much time.

Clearly you have a magic wand right? It certainly sounds like you do.

It would be nice to follow up halfway through the season with you, Seth and the rest of the negative numbnuts that clearly need to get la... I mean... welcome a woman into their lives. But like cockroaches, you and yours will scurry under the fridge when the midseason lights come on and Wayne will post as "birdboy" and Seth will post as "aintandydandy." Oh well...at least it's you living in that toxic waste, not me.

In Andy We Trust.

Kevin Kouzmanoff would be a blessing for the O's. The guy hits .287 outside of pitcher friendly Petco Park and high against lefties. I think he could be a solid player for third. The O's still need to make Bell earn the spot, nothing should ever be given to any unless your Matt Wieters.

Orange and Black Bleeder,

Your name says it all dude.....lol!

I heard the same 'see us at mid season' crap last year. Are you seriously going there again?

Go ahead - Trust AM. Sucker!

Wayne,

Tell them man!! Any team that keeps clowns like Bass and sarfate etc etc is not trying to win anything!!! There will be Ls this season 100 of them MARK IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How about adding Kouzmanoff and Corria from San Diego?

What would San Diego want in return?

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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