Kevin Millwood Rumors
Let's check out some tidbits from the National League East..
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel (via Twitter) doesn't see Kevin Millwood as being a quality upgrade over Javier Vazquez for the Marlins. He also tweets that the Fish are hopeful that Vazquez will turn things around soon.
- Rodriguez (via Twitter) also says that he could envision the Marlins thinking about an extension for Anibal Sanchez, but not until after the season. The 27-year-old will be arbitration eligible for the final time this winter.
- The Mets' signing of Jason Botts will help replenish Triple-A Buffalo, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. The club also inked infielder Luis Figueroa and acquired outfielder Bubba Bell for the same purpose.
A pair of items on the Red Sox as they take on the Tigers at home..
- Scouts around the league tell Danny Knobler of CBS Sports that the Red Sox need to find another catcher. Could Ivan Rodriguez be the solution in Boston? "That's a good park to hit in," Rodriguez told Knobler. "I've always hit well there." The 39-year-old says he wants to play two or three more seasons.
- The BoSox are still talking with Kevin Millwood, but nothing is happening there yet, a source tells Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (via Twitter). Today we learned that the Cubs are interested in the veteran right-hander.
1:31pm: Angels GM Tony Reagins told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that the Angels aren't interested in Millwood, despite the Twitter report below. "That tweet has no basis," Reagins said.
10:54am: The Angels and Cubs are among the teams showing interest in free agent starter Kevin Millwood, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Heyman also confirms Peter Gammons' report that the Red Sox are interested.
Millwood became a free agent more than two weeks ago, when he opted out of his minor league contract with the Yankees. Though some scouts weren't impressed with the right-hander's minor league stint, he posted passable numbers: 10 strikeouts, 5 walks and 15 hits in 16 innings over the course of three starts.
Millwood posted a 5.10 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 last year in his first season as an Oriole and Baltimore had at least some interest in a reunion with him.The 36-year-old is no longer the same pitcher he was in Atlanta, but he has averaged 31 starts and a 4.67 ERA over the course of the past five seasons.
- The Red Sox called on Kevin Millwood to see if he will go to Triple-A Pawtucket and pitch, according to Gammons (on Twitter). With John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the DL, the Red Sox are short on starting pitching.
- Gammons does not consider Pedro Martinez a likely option. In a May interview, Pedro seemed to be leaning toward retirement. There's not much else on the free agent market - Jeremy Bonderman and Jarrod Washburn are unsigned, but it's not clear if they're looking to get back into the game or would consider the East Coast.
- "Raise your son to be a catcher," advises Gammons, as many teams around baseball in addition to the Red Sox are getting no production at the position. The average American League catcher is hitting .224/.294/.361 this year, a similar line to the one Ivan Rodriguez had in 2010.
- If Jorge Posada doesn't start hitting, Gammons can see the Yankees releasing him and calling up Jesus Montero, who is hitting .331/.363/.433 at Triple-A. In that case Gammons believes Posada would remain in the AL East, signing with the Orioles. Buck Showalter's final season managing the Yankees coincided with Posada's rookie year.
- Speaking of the Orioles, Mark Teixeira spoke to the Baltimore Sun's Luke Broadwater about the team's interest back in '08: "Of the five offers I received, the Orioles were by far the lowest offer and I don't know if they were ever that serious about signing me. We had one meeting and that was it. I'm not sure if they were ever very interested." Digging through the MLBTR archives, I think the Orioles topped out at seven years, $140MM. Teixeira added that he expects to finish his career as a Yankee.
SI's Jon Heyman leads his latest column with a discussion of Albert Pujols' impending free agency. Three GMs Heyman spoke to speculate that Pujols will re-sign with the Cardinals after the season. One significant factor could be the lack of involvement from the Yankees and Red Sox, big spenders who already have long-term solutions at first base. A Yankees person told Heyman there was "no chance" of a pursuit, while a Red Sox person agreed that his club is unlikely to get involved. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak didn't have much to say on the topic, other than, "Nothing's changed." On to Heyman's other notes...
- Mozeliak told Heyman the Cardinals "have a pretty good idea" of what they'll do when Adam Wainwright's two-year, $21MM club option comes up after the season. Heyman takes that to mean that the Cardinals will pick up the option, the expected course of action.
- Heyman feels that the Cubs and Orioles could be possibilities for free agent Kevin Millwood, though I heard yesterday that it's doubtful the Cubs get involved.
- One Giants person said, "There's nothing to it," regarding the recent Jose Reyes speculation. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News explained today that "If any conversations have happened at all, it’s nothing more than tire kicking." That makes sense, since trading season begins about two months from now. For a look at who the Giants might have to give up to get Reyes at that point, click here.
- Heyman finds the Rangers likely to move Neftali Feliz into the rotation next year, despite the righty's recent comments. Heyman feels that a strong free agent closer market is a factor.
- The Tigers have decided this will be Joel Zumaya's last year in Detroit, according to Heyman. That was written prior to today's report that Zumaya will have exploratory elbow surgery.
The latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- The addition of two playoff teams could have a big effect on the American League, with certain clubs being able to aim for 89 or so wins.
- The Mets seem more eager to trade Carlos Beltran than Jose Reyes or David Wright, says Stark, perhaps with a June deal possible for the outfielder. The Mets appear willing to take on a portion of Beltran's $18.5MM salary to improve the return.
- Stark says "don't be surprised" if the next labor deal makes DUIs grounds for suspension. Yahoo's Jeff Passan tweets that Shin-Soo Choo's Monday DUI makes it six already for MLB players this year.
- Several scouts feel that Ubaldo Jimenez's shoulder is bothering him, despite the team's denials. Jimenez hasn't been very impressive in any of his four starts this year.
- An official of one team that monitored Kevin Millwood feels that he "might be done" and his stuff has regressed. Millwood hopes to sign this week after opting out of his Yankees contract Monday.
After last night's loss the Cubs are 12-16, in fifth place in the NL Central and 3.5 games back of the Cardinals. The club's OBP ranks fifth in the NL, their SLG sixth, their relief ERA eighth, and their starter ERA dead last at 6.17. The latest on the team:
- Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly was "a little puzzled" that the Cubs traded him last summer rather than try to retain him, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Lilly said he was "willing to get creative to try and stay," but talks didn't get far before the July 31st deal. The Cubs shipped out Lilly and Ryan Theriot with $5.158MM remaining on their contracts, but sent $2.5MM to the Dodgers in the deal. Lilly later inked a three-year, $33MM extension with the Dodgers.
- The Cubs also traded first baseman Derrek Lee last summer, saving $1.7MM in that deal with the Braves. Lee told the Tribune's Dave van Dyck he would have returned "under the right terms," but added that Jim Hendry wouldn't have traded him if the GM had wanted him back. Both Lee and his replacement Carlos Pena are off to slow starts this year. Talking to Sullivan, Hendry rattled off several new Cubs who struggled in their first month.
- Minor league signing Todd Wellemeyer, who is recovering from a hip injury, could be in the mix along with Doug Davis to fill in as the Cubs' fifth starter when the spot comes up on May 14th, reported Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday. Meanwhile Tom Gorzelanny spun a gem against the Giants last night, dropping his ERA to 2.93 through five starts. The Cubs have missed Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, though both threw off a bullpen mound Monday and are "making good progress," according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- One more note on the fifth starter situation: I'm hearing it's doubtful the Cubs pursue Kevin Millwood.
- Cubs fans, MLBTR has you covered with Facebook and Twitter pages as well as an RSS feed.
Veteran righty Kevin Millwood "would like to have his situation resolved this week with some big league team," tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Connolly says Millwood can't talk to teams for 24 hours after opting out of his Yankees contract yesterday. Said the pitcher, "I am waiting to see which teams have interest, if any. That's pretty much it. I'm ready. I definitely still want to pitch."
The Orioles have "mild interest" in reuniting with Millwood, according to Connolly. The 36-year-old posted a 5.10 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9, and 37.2% groundball rate in 190 2/3 innings for Baltimore last year, earning $12MM on the last year of a contract signed with Texas in December of '05. That $60MM contract was earned on the heels of an ERA title for the Indians, but the first-place Tribe does not plan to pursue him now despite having Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot currently on the DL, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Millwood averaged 89 miles per hour on his fastball last year but was around 85 in his first couple of starts for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, according to Jayson Stark's sources. He seems unlikely to jump directly onto a team's 25-man roster.
11:23am: ESPN.com's Buster Olney confirms (via Twitter) that Millwood has opted out of his contract with the Yankees.
11:10am: The Yankees have received surprising contributions from veteran starting pitching additions like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia so far this year, but it appears that not all their offseason gambles will pan out. The Yanks expect Kevin Millwood to opt out of his contract and become a free agent today, tweets Jack Curry of the YES Network.
Millwood signed an incentive-heavy minor league deal with the Yankees late in Spring Training that included the option to opt out by today if he hadn't been promoted to the bigs. Curry adds in a second tweet that Millwood's final Triple-A start, in which he lasted just two innings, likely squashed his chances of a call-up.
Carlos Santana's first career grand slam couldn't have come at a better time for the Indians. The young catcher hit a walkoff slam to lead Cleveland to a 9-5 win over Detroit on Friday night. Here's some news from around the majors...
- The Mets are willing to give "veto power over a limited number of financial decisions" to a new minority owner, reports Josh Kosman and Lenn Robbins of the New York Post, including such decisions as large player contracts and overall payroll size. The Wilpons and Saul Katz "will treat their new partner as a real partner," one source tells Kosman and Robbins.
- ESPN's Keith Law reveals his latest ranking of the top 50 draft prospects. Law calls this draft a "huge pitching bonanza," but lacking in position players.
- Also from Law, via Twitter, the Cubs are hoping center fielder Bubba Starling is still available when they make their first-round (9th overall) choice.
- Many of the Royals' top prospects are off to a great start in the minors, but GM Dayton Moore doesn't plan to bring any of these young stars up to the Major League level anytime soon, reports MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.
- Manny Ramirez hints to ESPNDeportes' Jorge Arangure about a return to baseball -- in the Dominican winter league, that is.
- In a live chat with fans, ESPN's Jayson Stark discusses such topics as Kevin Millwood's future with the Yankees, Bryce Harper's progress and the Blue Jays' chances of signing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder as a free agent this winter.
- David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times looks at some of the more notable "dead money" teams are still paying to players long since departed from their rosters or the game itself.
- Tracy Ringolsby of FOXSports.com writes about Mike Quade's unlikely path to becoming the Cubs' manager.