Kevin Millwood is headed east to Baltimore after the Orioles and Rangers made a splash in the trade market today.
The Rangers receive former closer, Chris Ray and a player to be named later in the swap.
Ray, 27, closed for the Orioles in 2006, saving 33 games. He started the 2007 campaign as the closer, but underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2007.
He missed all of 2008 while recovering from the surgery and didn’t rebound as the club had hoped in 2009, putting up an abysmal 0-4 record with a 7.27 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched.
Although he wasn’t effective in 2009, he still possesses a fastball that is consistently in the mid-nineties. It is, however, a very hittable, very straight fastball.
The hope is that Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux can help straighten out the youngster and get him back into the form that made him a late-inning dynamo back in 2006.
If Ray is healthy, he could be the right-handed setup man that allows the Rangers to move Neftali Feliz or C.J. Wilson to the rotation.
Millwood, 34, figures to take on the same role he did in Texas, ace by default.
Millwood doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he gets the job done on the hill and has proven to be a reliable innings-eater, which is exactly what the Orioles need.
He has made at least 25 starts for eight consecutive seasons. In fact, he’s started at least 29 games in ten of his twelve full-seasons in the big leagues.
Currently the only other “sure thing” in the rotation is Jeremy Guthrie, and that ain’t saying much.
The rest of the rotation is stocked with young talent and Millwood’s ability to eat up innings and provide stability atop the rotation will be a great asset as the rest of the staff matures.
Millwood has spent the last four of his 13 major-league seasons with the Rangers. He is 155-121 for his career with a 4.02 ERA.
Last season he posted a 3.67 ERA in 198.6 innings with a 5.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9.
The Rangers will pay approximately $3 million of Millwood’s $12 million salary for 2010, after which he’ll become a free agent.
Both teams walk away from this deal with exactly what they need.
The Rangers were able to shed some payroll and add a power arm to the back of a bullpen, which should allow them to improve the rotation internally. They could also used the money they’ve saved to sign a free agent starter.
The Orioles, who have money to spend, acquired a solid, albeit pricey, front of the rotation starter to provide much-needed stability to a very young rotation. Additionally, they were able to acquire Millwood without giving up a major piece of the farm system.
In the end, this deal is a win-win for both parties.