Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baltimore Orioles Acquire Kevin Millwood, Send Chris Ray to Texas

It looks like all the smoke around a Kevin Millwood deal were indeed signs of fire as the Orioles will reportedly send RP Chris Ray to the Rangers for Millwood and cash considerations.

I am not a fan of Millwood the Baltimore Oriole...but considering who the Orioles are giving up and that cash is coming back to offset the $12 million that Millwood is due in 2010.

Now, the stark realities of Kevin Millwood. Only a 5.6 K/9 rate versus a 3.3 BB/9 in 2009 for a measly 1.73 K/BB ratio. He's a flyball pitcher coming to Camden Yards. His BABIP was .279 last season, by far his lowest rate since 1999. He appears to have been extremely lucky to post a 3.67 ERA last season. He could be an absolute disaster for Baltimore.

There is hope here however. Over the last three seasons, Millwood has an average ERA+ of 99, pitched an average of 180 innings and is good for two complete games a season. I know this is what Andy MacPhail thinks; Millwood is a league average pitcher who has pitched in a hitter's park and can eat innings and provide stability in the rotation...and hey, maybe we get lucky and he's even better than that. Bill James does project him to post a 4.37 ERA (slightly better than league average) over 175 innings.

The Rangers will reportedly pick up a quarter of Millwood's $12 million salary. For $9 million over one season, he is a calculated risk but not a crazy one.

The Orioles send former closer Chris Ray to Texas. As much as I hate to say it, this is no great loss. Ray is damaged goods at this point and showed absolutely nothing to lead one to believe that he will ever be an effective major league pitcher again. The Oriole bullpen needs an overhaul and it's probably time for someone else to deal with Ray.

In general, when you can trade a reliever for a starter I am all for it. I am tepid about Millwood as a good fit for the Orioles though. But for one year, even a colossal disaster will be over with quickly. All things considered, it's a good move and a good idea.

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