Kevin Millwood Rumors
After a 16-year major league career, right-hander Kevin Millwood has decided to call it a career, according to Richard Walker of the Shelby Star. The 38-year-old spent last season with the Mariners and posted a 4.25 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 44.7% ground ball rate in 28 starts.
Millwood says that he told agent Scott Boras that he only wanted to pitch close to his home in Georgia, indicating the Braves and Rays were really his only two choices. When neither team showed interest, he decided that he wouldn't pitch in 2013. The veteran says that there's still plenty in the tank, but he would rather spend more time with his family than be on the road this season.
“I feel like I can still throw it well and going out on a high note is a big deal,” Millwood said. “I just felt it was time to be closer to home and to be around the kids more often.”
Last season was a solid effort for Millwood and was punctuated by his six inning contribution to the Mariners' no-hitter over the Dodgers in June. For his career, Millwood owns a 4.11 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. He also earned just under $90MM in his time with the Braves, Phillies, Indians, Rangers, Orioles, Rockies, and Mariners.
Kevin Millwood just wrapped up his 16th season as a big leaguer, but at this point he is unsure if he wants to continue playing next year. The 37-year-old right-hander told MLB.com's Greg Johns that he'll go home for the winter and decide on his future after spending some time with his family.
"I'm going to go home and just relax and play with my kids and see what happens, see how I feel and see what pops into my head," said Millwood. "I don't have any definite plans right now on next year, but I'm sure at some point in the offseason it'll hit me on what I want to do ... I started playing 10 days after I graduated from high school and this is what I've done for nearly 20 years. So all the sudden to not do it anymore would be a pretty big shock to the system."
Millwood admitted that he was more certain about his desire to continue playing at this time last year. He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in January, then made the club out of Spring Training and pitched to a 4.25 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and a 44.7% ground ball rate in 28 starts and 161 innings. Millwood missed time with a groin strain in June while a sore shoulder ended his season about two weeks ago. Seattle still got a bargain considering his $1MM salary.
If he does decide to return next year, Millwood will likely have to settle for another low base salary minor league contract and again earn a rotation spot in Spring Training. He has played for four teams (Rangers, Orioles, Rockies, Mariners) in the last four years after lengthy stints with the Braves and in Texas earlier in his career.
Kevin Millwood cleared waivers but two other Mariners starters were claimed by rival teams, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Jason Vargas and Felix Hernandez were claimed, but they aren't going anywhere, according to Morosi.
Millwood, a free agent this offseason, can now be traded to any team. He'd be eligible for postseason rosters if Seattle trades him before midnight tonight. Otherwise he can still be traded, but only as a regular season player. He earns a $1MM salary and has a 4.28 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 145 innings.
Vargas would be more than a rental, since he’s arbitration eligible again this offseason. The left-hander earns $4.85MM this season and can expect a raise to $8MM or so for 2013. Vargas, 29, has a 3.90 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 184 2/3 innings with Seattle.
It would be a major surprise if Hernandez were traded. The 26-year-old is a leading Cy Young candidate again with an AL-best 2.43 ERA in 196 2/3 innings. He'll earn $19.5MM in 2013 and $20MM in 2014 under his current contract.
If the Mariners are serious about trading Vargas or Hernandez -- and there’s no indication this is the case -- they could wait until the offseason when more bidders emerge. For now GM Jack Zduriencik can only discuss trade scenarios with the team(s) that won the claims on his pitchers.
The Mariners have placed both Kevin Millwood and Jason Vargas on waivers, and both players are likely to be claimed, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). As Rosenthal notes, Vargas is owed just over $1MM for the remainder of the season, while Millwood is owed roughly $200K.
The 29-year-old Vargas is appealing for teams looking to improve their rotation in the short- and long-term; he's controlled through 2013 and is arbitration-eligible for the final time this offseason. Shortly before the trade deadline, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected an $8.1MM salary for Vargas in 2013. He's pitched to a 3.71 ERA since that projection, so he likely hasn't damaged his stock any.
Overall, Vargas has a 3.75 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 40.8 percent ground-ball rate in a whopping 180 innings thus far. Vargas' average of 6 2/3 innings per start is likely another appealing element of his game. Interested teams are likely wary of Vargas' struggles away from the spacious Safeco Field. His 2.62 home ERA is two full runs lower than his 4.63 road mark.
Millwood, 37, has a 4.28 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 45 percent ground-ball rate in 145 innings for the Mariners this season. Unlike Vargas, he's pitched equally well away from Seattle. The former American League ERA champ signed a minor league deal with the Mariners in January and has gone on to become one of the most successful minor league signees of 2012.
Earlier today it was reported that the Dodgers were in the market for a starting pitcher. Los Angeles has been far and away the most aggressive team in this season's trade market, and they were linked to both Seattle hurlers prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Giants are seeking outfield help following Melky Cabrera's 50-game suspension, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). For now the team plans to promote Justin Christian from Triple-A and stick with Gregor Blanco, Angel Pagan, and Hunter Pence as the regulars.
Rosenthal reports that Scott Hairston and Juan Pierre have yet to be placed on trade waivers, though the Diamondbacks would likely block both players from getting to San Francisco. Arizona has a higher waiver priority and both Hairston (approximately $300K) and Pierre ($200K) are reasonably priced for the remainder of the season. Alfonso Soriano remains unlikely to approve a trade to the 2010 World Champs.
Daniel Straily will make his Major League debut tonight in Oakland, starting for the A's against the Blue Jays. Straily was an unheralded minor league arm heading into 2012 but exploded to lead the minor leagues with 175 strikeouts in 138 1/3 combined innings at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, plus a 2.60 ERA and a 4.73 K/BB ratio.
Here are some more items from around the AL West...
- The Mariners weren't eager to move Kevin Millwood at the trade deadline and put a "very high price tag" on the veteran starter, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Though the Rangers asked the Phillies about Cliff Lee before the trade deadline, Texas didn't put in a waiver claim on the left-hander, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. The Dodgers were awarded the claim on Lee earlier today. Lee would've had to pass unclaimed through every NL team and every AL team except the Yankees for Texas to win their claim, had they submitted one.
- With Kurt Suzuki now in Washington, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the Athletics could be in the market for a veteran catcher. Slusser (Twitter links) suggests the A's could look at the likes of Yorvit Torrealba and Ramon Hernandez in waiver deals, as catchers are easier to find right now than shortstops, another of Oakland's needs.
The Mets and Marlins discussed a change-of-scenery trade that would have sent Jason Bay to Miami for Heath Bell and John Buck, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal was never close, though the contracts and the money matched up well. Bell is signed through 2014, Bay and Buck through 2013. Rosenthal notes that all three players are likely to clear waivers this month, so the two sides could revisit the deal. Here are the rest of his rumors...
- The Astros are paying virtually all of the $9MM left on Carlos Lee's contract, but one club that spoke to the Marlins said Miami wanted as much as $2.5MM in return for the slugger. Talks never progressed.
- The Orioles spoke to the Mariners about Kevin Millwood, but Seattle wanted a better return than what was offered given the right-hander's bargain $1MM salary.
- The Orioles also discussed a deal with the Royals that would have sent one of their young arms to Kansas City for Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Broxton. Rosenthal speculates that it may have been Jake Arrieta.
- The Brewers were close to trading Francisco Rodriguez to the Giants about a week before the deadline, but San Francisco backed off after the right-hander blew two saves and allowed six runs in Philadelphia last week.
Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
The Mariners have signed Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training, the team announced. Richard Walker of Millwood's hometown newspaper, the Gaston Gazette, first reported the news and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports confirmed it (Twitter links).
“Kevin brings a great deal of experience as a veteran pitcher and will compete for a spot in our starting rotation,” GM Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. “His leadership and experience will be a benefit for our young pitchers and we look forward to seeing him in Spring Training.”
Millwood, who turned 37 recently, pitched 54 1/3 innings of 3.98 ERA ball for the Rockies in 2011, with a 6.0 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 with a 42.2% groundball rate. He reportedly declined a $1MM contract offer from the Rockies prior to the Winter Meetings in hopes of securing a $3MM guarantee.
Millwood signed a five-year, $60MM contract with the Rangers prior to the 2006 season, and has spent exactly 1,000 innings since that date calling a hitter-friendly ballpark his home (he also pitched at Camden Yards for the Orioles and Coors Field last season). A pitchers' haven like Safeco Field in Seattle will likely benefit the veteran right-hander in 2012.
Millwood, who is represented by Scott Boras, will provide depth in a Mariners rotation that lost Michael Pineda in the Jesus Montero trade. Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, and Hisashi Iwakuma figure to be locks for the rotation, while Millwood, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan, and Charlie Furbush are also candidates. Heyman feels that Millwood has a "good chance" to make the team, and notes that he played for manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis during his Cleveland days.
One year ago today, the Royals and Billy Butler agreed to a four-year, $30MM extension. Butler responded with another strong season, batting .291/.361/.461 with 19 homers and racking up more than 670 plate appearances for the third straight season. Let's take a look at some news from around the league on a less-eventful January 22...
- On its face, it’s hard to argue with the Mariners bringing in Kevin Millwood to add pitching depth at a minimal cost, writes Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner. Like with every other move the M's have made this off-season, Cameron writes, the veteran is a nice role player at a good price.
- The Rockies were willing to give Millwood a guaranteed deal during the winter meetings, tweets Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
- The market for Magglio Ordonez should pick up once he's medically cleared for full activity, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi says that could happen in two weeks' time.
- David Eckstein, who decided to retire according to the Boston Globe, had a chance to play with the Mariners in 2011 but didn't take it, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
- John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times looks at the Rays' stadium situation in light of a recent meeting between owner Stuart Sternberg and Tampa Bay mayor Bill Foster. Romano writes that Sternberg wants to begin looking for new locations now, while Foster doesn't want the Rays to leave St. Petersburg on his watch.