Here Comes Kevin Millwood

I went to breakfast, which was fine, but which would have been better had it been served with basil oil instead of basil aioli, like the menu said. I came back and checked Twitter, and I had a message linking to this post, saying the M's were signing Kevin Millwood. That post links to this article. That article refers to a Facebook account belonging to Kevin Millwood's sister. So, the source:

Millwoodsister_medium

I don't know why I blacked out the name since the article cited her name, allowing me to track her down in the first place, but I guess I'm just really dedicated to protecting my sources. More importantly, did you notice how I began this post by talking about my breakfast? The shit I get away with.

So this isn't anything official, obviously, and nobody else has come forth to issue confirmation, but one would think that Kevin Millwood's sister would be a reliable source. Millwood's kind of a small fish in this offseason, and the Mariners have been reported to have interest before, so it makes sense. I would expect - not guarantee, but expect - that we'll hear more about this very shortly.

Let's assume that it's true. Let's assume that, if the Mariners haven't signed Kevin Millwood, they've all but signed Kevin Millwood. Why Kevin Millwood?

Because the starting rotation could use a Kevin Millwood, or somebody like a Kevin Millwood. In truth it could use somebody better than a Kevin Millwood, but I can't imagine that Roy Oswalt would sign with Seattle on purpose, and I don't think the Mariners want to guarantee Edwin Jackson a bunch of years. And Jeff Francis is, whatever. So, Millwood. Millwood would slide in behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas. Hisashi Iwakuma could be good, but he's far from a sure thing. Hector Noesi could be good, but last year he started seven games. Charlie Furbush could be good, but he needs work. Blake Beavan doesn't miss bats. And so on. Millwood's insurance. He's a luxury, if you can call him that, if Iwakuma and Noesi work out, but if one or both of them don't, well, good thing about Millwood.

Also Millwood is really old, so people think of him as a leader. He's fourth among active pitchers in career innings, and I don't think Javier Vazquez should count as an active pitcher. A search for "Kevin Millwood" + "mentor" turns up this article:

[The Orioles] also desired a leader in the clubhouse.

That's why Millwood's locker sits between Chris Tillman (21) and Brian Matusz (23). And why he's within earshot of Brad Bergesen (24). It didn't happen by accident.

Since the Orioles acquired Millwood, Tillman, Matusz and Bergesen have combined to allow 403 runs in 612 innings, good for a 5.93 RA. Positive influence!

That isn't fair. I'm sure Millwood has some useful things to say and demonstrate. He's probably not the best mentor in sports, but he's probably not a selfish disaster, so he can help out. Keep in mind that Eric Wedge managed Millwood with the Indians in 2005. Millwood posted a 2.86 ERA, and the Indians won 93 games. I'm guessing Wedge has good things to say about Kevin Millwood, even if Kevin Millwood is no longer what he was as a younger man.

Oh hey there we are, confirmation! Jon Heyman:

Millwood has deal with #mariners

And here's even more!

millwood deal is minor-league deal but has good chance to make team. wedge & p. coach carl willis were w/ "wood'' in cleve

Forgot about the Carl Willis angle. The minor league contract part is interesting, since Millwood reportedly turned down a guaranteed contract from the Rockies earlier in the offseason, but Millwood's probably going to make the team, and he's probably going to make $1 million or $2 million or something as a part of the team. The minor league contract protects the Mariners if Millwood is terrible in Arizona, but you have to figure he's got a great chance.

So how's Millwood going to pitch? I just realized I haven't really gotten into that. He will probably pitch decently. Don't be thrown by his low walk rate last year - that isn't real. He'll throw fastballs in the high 80s, other things below the high 80s, and he'll generally be okay. He projects for an FIP in the mid-4s, which sounds about right. He'll benefit from Safeco, which is an uninteresting point to make given that any and every pitcher would benefit from Safeco. Even a position player or you would benefit from Safeco, in the event that a position player or you were pitching there.

Millwood will throw 105 pitches a game and do veterany things. He'll get credit for things that don't show up in the box score, and the things that do show up in the box score will most likely be unremarkable. Assuming Millwood's okay around midseason and assuming the Mariners are out of the race, he could and should be an easy guy to flip for a toolsy double-A outfielder or a Dominican teenager with a live arm. That is, if younger guys are knocking on the rotation's door. Millwood could also last the whole year if he gets hurt or if things don't go as intended.

Kevin Millwood. So many of us wanted him years ago. We're getting him now. It's kind of like girls from high school. It's kind of exactly like girls from high school. He's not what he was, but he's not entirely unappealing and he can be interesting for a short amount of time until you look for something more permanent.

He's right-handed by the way.

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