Now that the Burnett deal is done, Scott Boras can get to work with his stable of arms. Seems that the Mariners got the ball rolling yesterday for Kevin Millwood at four years, $44MM. If that’s the starting point, I’m frightened by where the bidding will end.
I would’ve expected this thing to drag on for at least a week, but MetsBlog is reporting that Millwood is close to signing with the Mariners. Matthew Cerrone also mentions that "most believe Seattle’s offer is for four years." I’m thinking it might take $48MM to make up for the lack of a fifth year.
There’s plenty of debate about which pitcher was the best on the market, Burnett or Millwood. Many side with Burnett based on potential, while others cite Millwood’s longer track record of success.
But really, does Millwood’s track record indicate he has four solid complete seasons on the way? Tough question. Based on his last three seasons, he may be good for 180 innings in each of the next four seasons. On the other hand, Millwood decided against elbow surgery at the end of a shaky season with the Phillies in 2004. That problem could arise again; given that Millwood is on the wrong side of 30, he may be just as much of a health risk as Burnett.
Millwood’s HR rate is trending in the wrong direction, and he allows enough baserunners to push that 2.86 ERA up near 4. I guess we’ll have to look back on this in 2009 or 2010, but I think Burnett is a better bet, especially since the money may be comparable.