Yankees Close To Signing Kevin Millwood

The Yankees are close to signing Kevin Millwood to an "incentive-laden" minor league contract, reports Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).  Millwood is represented by Scott Boras.

The free agent right-hander has been linked to the Yankees at several points this winter, and turned down a minor league offer from the club last month.  We heard last week that the Yankees offered another minor league deal in the low seven-figure range after watching Millwood in a throwing session, but the veteran was still hoping for a Major League contract in the neighborhood of $4MM.

Though New York has been looking for pitching all winter, the timing of this signing is a bit ironic since it seemed as if the questions about the back of the Yankees' rotation had largely been answered during Spring Training.  Ivan Nova has reportedly locked up the No. 4 spot behind C.C. Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett, while either Freddy Garcia or a resurgent Bartolo Colon would be the fifth starter.  Of course, neither Nova, Garcia or Colon are sure things, so it helps the Yankees to have a proven innings-eater like Millwood on the roster.  As Heyman notes in a follow-up tweet, Garcia or Colon will begin the season as the No. 5 starter while Millwood gets into pitching form.

The Yankess will be Millwood's sixth franchise in his 15-year Major League career.  The 36-year-old has thrown at least 168 2/3 innings and made at least 29 starts in all but three of those seasons.  Millwood is coming off a rough year with Baltimore in 2010, when he posted a career-high fly ball rate, a career-low ground ball rate and a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts with the O's.