As improbable as many may have believed it to be prior to the season, it's August 29 and the Padres hold a six-game lead on the NL West. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Kevin Millwood is just "one of many" possibilities for the Padres as they look to upgrade their rotation.
Millwood's overall numbers certainly don't inspire confidence at first glance — a 5.34 ERA, 6.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, and 1.5 HR/9 (his highest mark since 2001) through 160 innings don't mix well with his league-leading 194 hits allowed.
Over his last five starts however, Millwood's posted a 2.83 ERA through 35 innings, and while he's faced some very poor offenses in there, he also has two very good starts against the White Sox and Angels to his name. Some of his peripherals, such as his .329 BABIP and 4.60 xFIP, suggest that he's been the victim of some bad luck as well.
Rosenthal states that the Pads aren't necessarily optimistic about acquiring a starter; they only want one who would be an upgrade, and Millwood obviously isn't a clear-cut improvement. The Padres also could turn to Tim Stauffer, who's having a fine season of his own (1.40 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 through 45 innings), or Cory Luebke, who holds a 10-1 record and a 2.68 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A if they decide against making a trade.
The Padres may not feel they need a veteran upgrade so much as they simply would like someone to take some of the workload off their young rotation arms. It goes without saying that moving to a more spacious park like Petco would do any starter a favor, especially someone like Millwood who's been plagued by the long ball. Pitching the NL West as opposed to the AL East wouldn't hurt either.
Millwood is making $12MM in 2010, though the Rangers picked up $3MM of that when he was shipped to the Orioles last winter. Baltimore is on the hook for the remaining $1.76MM of Millwood's salary, which would also be an obstacle in any trade.