The Orioles made a semi-minor trade today acquiring Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood. In return for Millwood, the Rangers received Chris Ray and PTBNL. The player to be named later will not even come from our organization, so it won’t affect our major or minor league roster.
At first I was against this trade, but now I’m starting to understand and liking the deal. Millwood is a veteran pitcher that’s proven he can win. As we all know, the past few seasons our bullpen has gotten worn down extremely early in the season due to the pitchers consistently got knocked out early in ballgames. Millwood has proven that he will give us around 200 innings a season, which will help the guys in the bullpen have a day off occasionally.
Adding Millwood to the rotation makes a lot sense for many reasons. This past season we realized that Guthrie isn’t a true number one starter, and that he needed help in the rotation. It is definitely nice adding a guy who can also go deep into games. It should help tremendously to take pressure off Guthrie and protecting him in the rotation. Who knows, if Guts goes back to his performance two years ago, it may be a nice 1-2 punch in the rotation. Millwood has also been known to help out young pitchers, which is a major plus with your young arms. Thankfully for one thing, he sure couldn’t be any worse than Adam Eaton.
Another plus for the trade is the fact that Millwood is eligible for free agency after the season. So, if the Orioles decide to offer him arbitration and he declines, we should get a first round draft pick. Millwood should be a type-A free agent, as it will go by this past season stats with the Rangers, where he had a very good season. It will be interesting to see how the Orioles will handle this situation after next season.
I’m sure though that many of us are a little sad losing Chris Ray. He always seemed classy guy and took his downfalls in strides. After the 2006 season, I believed that we had a future star in the making with Ray, but it all fizzled quickly. Once B.J. Ryan left after the 2005 season, Ray took over the closing duty in 06. He finished the season with 33 saves and a 2.73 ERA. In 2007 Ray had a down year statistically, and missing most the season due to injury. As it turned out, 2008 wouldn’t be any better as he missed the entire season. We were all looking forward to his return this past season, but it was full of disappointments. His performance and velocity was down, he once again missed time due to injury, and he was demoted to triple-A. I still believe that Ray can be a very good setup guy, and maybe all he needs is a new environment. I wish him the best.