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December 8, 2009

Millwood: Part Deux

What seemed like routine speculation on Monday morning could crystalize into the Orioles' first real deal of the offseason. The O's have had discussions with the Texas Rangers about veteran pitcher Kevin Millwood and may be getting closer to acquiring him for one of the Orioles second-level pitching prospects.

Depending on the quality of the prospect, the Rangers would likely pay some of Millwood's $12 million salary for 2010.

Today's ceremonial first rumor: The O's are believed to also have at least a passing interest in free agent starting pitcher Joel Piniero, who went 15-12 with a 3.49 ERA for the St. Louis Cardinals last season.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:15 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Just baseball


Millwood for Hernandez or Berken works for me. Would seem like a cheap price for a #1, even for a year. Then trade the other (or Scott) to the Braves for Siriano and the staff is in great shape. No need to risk $ on a rehab pitcher like Bedard or Harden, or sign a longer deal like with Piniero.

Then sign Feliz (seems inevitable though not my 1st choice) and a righty bat (Glaus or Nady) and it is a terrific off season.

Too good to be true? But it is a nice daydream.

Pete, Nice work. You beat Mr. Kubatko to the potential scoop on Millwood! As long as the Orioles don't have to pay an arm and a leg for him--an arm, yes, but not an arm and leg--then this makes some sense.

There appears to be competition from at least three other teams, however: The Cubs, who would trade Milton Bradley apparently straight up for him, the Brewers, and the Mets.

Millwood would be a definite upgrade from some of the imposters posing as starting pitchers that the O's have picked up in offseason deals over recent years, but here's what may be a reality check of sorts from a just posted Ranger blog: "Millwood is a number 3 or 4 pitcher, and that's being generous. He entered spring training looking good, but it didn't take long for him to revert to the beer gut .500 pitcher (48-46 since coming to Texas) he will always be. If the new owner want(s) to ditch Millwood, great. Just don't trade him for a cancer like Milton Bradley."

Incidentally, I saw on where the Rays may be willing to trade pitching prospect Wade Davis and outfielder B.J. Upton to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay. If they're going to take a shot at him, I hope the Orioles do, as well. I think they could offer a package every bit as enticing, though it would probably take more than two players.

Also being reported is that the Dodgers want to hang on to George Sherrill; can't say I blame them.

This would be a good move by the O's. For people who say he can't pitch in the AL East remember he pitches half his games in a vacuum that is Arlington, Texas. He would eat innings at a good rate and improve the bullpen by being able to use them less. Having Millwood and Guthrie pitch over 200 innings a piece is going to be extremely helpful in a year where we are going to have several young pitchers under strict pitch counts.

I don't like a Millwood move at all. It gives the illusion of picking up a proven starter, but I agree with the Texas posting - 10-14 5.16 and 9-10 5.07 - Those are Millwood's numbers in 2007 and 2008 - in 31 and 29 starts. How far are those numbers from David Hernandez at a fraction of the cost. At this point in his career O's are more likely to get that Millwood that last year's version (look at his 2nd half numbers). Go after Sheets, Hardin or Bedard.

I don't like a Millwood move at all. It gives the illusion of picking up a proven starter, but I agree with the Texas posting - 10-14 5.16 and 9-10 5.07 - Those are Millwood's numbers in 2007 and 2008 - in 31 and 29 starts. How far are those numbers from David Hernandez at a fraction of the cost. At this point in his career O's are more likely to get that Millwood that last year's version (look at his 2nd half numbers). Go after Sheets, Hardin or Bedard.

I don't like a Millwood move at all. It gives the illusion of picking up a proven starter, but I agree with the Texas posting - 10-14 5.16 and 9-10 5.07 - Those are Millwood's numbers in 2007 and 2008 - in 31 and 29 starts. How far are those numbers from David Hernandez at a fraction of the cost. At this point in his career O's are more likely to get that Millwood that last year's version (look at his 2nd half numbers). Go after Sheets, Hardin or Bedard.

Hey Pete,

Covering Andy Macphail and the Orioles at the Winter meetings is like watching paint dry so you have my condolences.

At the end of the day, whatever moves Macphail makes prior to Spring Training, this team must be in a position to compete in 2010. By compete, my definition would be that you,Pete, could honestly look at the opening day roster and say, yep, this team is capable of .500 ball in the American League East.

Anything less than that should be deemed an abject failure on the part of the organization and I don't think you would disagree. Maybe you wouldn't use the term"abject failure", but I have been reading your thoughts closely lately and I know that you expect the organization to make a genuine attempt to upgrade the talent level on the field during the offseason.

The Orioles need to stop getting ready to get ready. The fans aren't interested in any more "down the road" talk or "looking towards 2011" spin from Macphail. They have the money and the players are out there. The longer they diddle the less there will be.

Pete, I know I have been critical of your coverage of the team in the past but I would like to say that you are doing a great, honest and pragmatic job. You can't make the Orioles a better team, you can only report it the way you see it. And I think the majority of the people who participate on your blog think that you get it.

Way to aim low Birds !!! I love how they try to justify it

Peter, what is "passing interest" ?

Way to aim low Birds !!! I love how they try to justify it

Peter, what is "passing interest" ?


If the Orioles trade for Millwood, would they be more inclined to take a chance on Bedard regardless of how much time he might miss in 2010?

After the Ravens game last night, I was looking for something to smile about.

Jeff said, "I don't like a Millwood move at all. It gives the illusion of picking up a proven starter ... How far are those numbers from David Hernandez at a fraction of the cost ... Go after Sheets, Hardin or Bedard."

Hernández - 19 starts, 1-6 in his last 10 starts averaging 4.9 IP per start.

Sheets - 30 starts once in last four seasons (31 in 2008)*

Harden - 30 starts once in seven-year career (31 in 2004)*

Bedard - 30 starts once in five full seasons (33 in 2006), had 30 starts total for 2008-09*

* I am actually not against ANY of these pitchers per se although I would put them exactly in the order listed as my preference.

Millwood has had genuine success, and has been an All Star -- a much, much stronger commodity as an influence to the up-and-comers.

In the last 12 years, Millwood has had at least 30 starts eight of those years. One exception was 29 starts in 2008. Another 29 starts (plus two relief appearances) in 1998. The other two exceptions were 21 and 25 starts in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

And here's the kicker ... He not only has had 60 starts the past two years, he has six complete games the last two years. That equals the combined career total of all four pitchers mentioned.

While Millwood has had 3 CG's in each of his last two years, the last Oriole pitcher to have at least that many was Kris Benson (3 in 2006).

Since 2006 when the Orioles had 5 CG's as a team (Daniel Cabrera had the other 2), the team had 4 in 2007 (Cabrera, Bedard, Steve Trachsel and someone named Jon Leicester), 4 in 2008 (Cabrera twice, Jeremy Guthrie and someone named Chris Waters), and just 2 last year (Guthrie and Brad Bergesen).

I can't argue the Orioles are five to ten years late going after Millwood but at 35, he will be younger than Rick Sutcliffe when he joined the Orioles and provided two years worth of decent pitching and valuable mentoring.

Comparing him to the others did make me smile, though. Thanks, Jeff.

Millwood, blah.


PLENTY of us fans realize that the O's are in a Very good spot for the first time in a long time; highly rated youngsters/minor leaguers (been a decade plus for that), and ample money (also over a decade). While you may want the money spent as soon as it's here, and focus on a .500 team in the AL East, I'm looking for more than .500. Competitive in the AL East means more than a bunch of type B- players past their prime, IMHO.

Keep it up Pete; I'm checking in virtually hourly....feel free to make something up too. Maybe an Albert Puljos rumor or something....j/k...kind of.


I want the Orioles to put a competitve team on the field in 2010, period. Prospects are just that until they prove otherwise. I don't think that there are that many Oriole fans willing to endure any more 90 loss seasons just to hope that all of our prospects pan out down the road. What you do have is a lot of ex-Oriole fans voting with their feet over the losing.

Enough is enough. The Orioles can become competitive and develop prospects at the same time. It is not a zero sum game. That's just Andy Macphails spin.

And who said anything about type B players?. I want Halliday and Lackey.

Hey Pete,
if the Orioles get Milwood in a trade what effect would that have on the O's persuit of Bedard? It would be nice to get both so if Bedard does get hurt the O's did at least add one starting pitcher, and everyone knows they need another Lefty Starter.
I'd also like to see The O's make enough Starting Pitching moves to add Guthrie to the deal for a power hitting corner infielder.

As an O's fan, I'm fustrated with the fan base. We demand the team make some noise at the Winter Meetings and then are critical of the GM for trying to turn a deal for vetern starter (ie, Millwood). We need to be realistic in Lackey that his only interest in Baltimore is for us to show any interest in tendering him an offer so he can shop it to the other major league teams. As for Holiday, I doubt Toronto will trade him within their division - just a hunch but GM quickly lose jobs over those kind of deals.

Millwood... 35 on opening day... mediocre to downright bad in 3 of the last 4 seasons... despite his solid ERA in 2009, he was near a career high in HR / IP, and at a career low in K / BB ratio...

All very big red flags of a starting pitcher who is just about to hit "the wall" with great force...

Gil, you might be tired of all the losing seasons, we all are, but to expect the team to contend for anything other than a 500 record in 2010 is unrealistic. The Orioles did that too many times over the past 12 years, and look where it got them. They signed washed up or one dimensional players just to try and compete. They almost completely ignored player development.

Now things are different. While you are correct in saying prospects are just that until they produce, in this case we have a crop of prospects that have as good a chance of producing as any group in the past 25 years or longer. Mac has drafted wisely, done his homework and the Orioles are on the verge.

No doubt another 90 loss season will hurt, but another year of seasoning with a big splash before 2011 makes more sense.

Remember, people, patience is a virtue.

Please with the National League Pitchers. They will come over here and get lit up like x-mas trees. Soriano, Piniero and anyone else. At least Millwood is a bull and has pitched against the Red Sox and Yankees plenty of times. Need to find pitchers that have had good success against those two teams. Bedard.


I agree with the sentiment that the O's should be more competitive in 2010, but a .500 season would be a wonder in the AL East with the names the O's are linked to.

As far as Prospects goes, you are correct that they are only that right now. However, I see them as a Better option than 35+ yr olds for lots of money.

I want Halliday too...but that's not gonna happen (Halliday has veto power, and wants to go to a "winner"....that's not the O's, as we know)

Lackey is not a Halliday. And the Money and Years the O's would have to offer Lackey to get him to come to Baltimore would be SUBSTANTIAL. Too much so.

Ken had it right, we've been down the path of "buy respectability" for almost a decade; result....Atrocious.

Not to say I'm against the O's making major moves for the Right players. But the Right players are Top 5 players in their positions/league.

I was a wild supporter of the O's getting Tex, and the half-assed effort last year bit the O's in the butt really quickly. Offer the MOST money, get the BEST player. Maybe is Mauer hit's Free Agency, the O's will learn that lesson. Maybe even Albert (if he really goes into Free Agency). Those are the Best players. That's who the O's need to get. Not worn down 35+ year olds--those guys will not help the O's win in the AL East for one year or many.


The Orioles can do both. They can continue to develop prospects but they can immediatley improve the talent level so that they can compete. It is time. If the team wants to win they have to take some chances with trades and free agent signings.

Macphail cannot look back and decide not to do anything but rebuild because things didn't work out for the prior 12 years. The Yankees have spent tons of money on free agent busts, but they are not deterred from continuing to pursue the best players that they can.

I disagree that the Orioles are on the verge unless they bring in proven major league talent. a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so to say. The younger players need to be around veterens who have won and know how to win.

But I appreciate your viewpoint and as I have always said I don't claim to be right.

Not sure how I feel about Millwood...he smacks of Kris you think the Powers That Be would like to have John Maine back in Baltimore again? Let's not trade another Maine for another Benson. I'd rather have Bedard, definitely, if he's healthy. People who say he's only a six inning pitcher who complains too much about aches and pains, but has a world of talent...gee, sounds familiar, what Oriole pitcher fits that description? Jim Palmer perhaps? I've often said that if it weren't for Earl Weaver kicking him in the butt and telling him to pitch, Palmer would have had a career record of 17-20. Something with Jimbo ALWAYS seemed to be hurting him or bothering him, but Weaver figured out a way to get the most out of his incredibly talented righthander. Trembley needs to be Bedard's Weaver and kick him in the butt...which seems to be Trembley's message, given the Sun story I read earlier today, no more Mr. Nice Manager. Good. You don't want your players to LIKE you, you want them to RESPECT you. I don't think very many Oriole players, if any, LIKED Earl Weaver, but they respected the bleep out of him. Managing isn't a popularity contest, afterall...So yes, if healthy, sign Bedard. Think twice about Millwood. And for those people who think we should get Miguel Cabrera, didn't the whole Albert Belle fiasco teach you anything?

Waspman says Millwood has "had genuine success and was an all star". While you obviously took a lot more time to explain your point than I did, I would suggest that there are a lot of guys that fit that description. That said, I was not suggesting that Hernandez was as good as Millwood, but rather why give him up and pay a meaningful part of $12 million for what the O's will likely get from Millwood. Also, you might want to check your facts - I think the numbers you quote were Berkens - Hernandez was 4-10 5.42. Granted nothing to brag about, but not so far from Millwood in 07 and 08, especially the ERA. I'm sure you'll admit W-L records can be deceiving given the significantly better offense Texas put forth in those seasons compared with the 09 O's, especially during Hernandez's stint. What might Millwood's W-L have been in Baltimore thosue years? All that said, I have no desire to Hernandez in the heart of the rotation right now either.

As for Sheets, Bedard and Hardin - no argument with your order, except I like having another lefty in the AL East, but again I was not suggesting they were necessarily the innings eater Millwood could be, but for much less money one of them could stay healthy and bust out. A healthy Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets certainly doesn't have an ERA near 5.

I just think we are very likely to see a Millwood on his way down and out and even if the Rangers eat half his salary, I'd rather take a gamble on somebody that could have a big upside.

As for Hernnadez time will tell, but if he learns to pitch a little smarter he could be a back of rotation guy for somebody - which is all Millwood will be in the future.

Glad I made you smile though..

Apologies to waspman - I see you were quoting Hernandez's last 10 starts - I'm not sure, but I thought Millwood faded in the second half as well?

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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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