For the past couple days, I’ve been getting e-mails wondering what I’ve heard about the Indians and Kevin Millwood. I know about as much as you guys; I don’t have any super-secret sources that send me rumors. Anyways, these rumors involving Millwood are gaining steam, as most of the local beat writers (via the AP) have been repeating them. It looks like Millwood, if he passes a physical, is going to get around $7M over a year. Given the market, that’s not too bad at all. I generally have no problem whatsoever in handing out one-year deals no matter how big the payout; in cases like this, the player is taking the most risk. Millwood, who could have signed a multi-year deal last offseason, took the Phillies to arbitration instead. This year, the Phillies weren’t going to get fooled again and didn’t even offer arbitration, so the Indians don’t cough up a draft pick.
Contrary to what some of the local media personalities think, adding payroll is not the gold standard for team improvement, for once the team gets on the field, their talent is all that matters. That being said, If the Indians do sign Millwood, the rotation gets better. A lot better, considering the internal alternatives. Millwood’s 3-year VORP average comes to 49.6+37.4+9.3/3 = 32.1. Jason Davis’ 2-year VORP average:11.0+(-1.8)/2= 4.6. That’s quite an upgrade. For some context, CC Sabathia’s 3-year VORP average is 39.9, and Jake Westbrook posted a VORP of 54.4 last season. Granted, the reason Millwood hasn’t got as much interest as, say, Matt Clement is because he was ineffective last season and because he suffered two seperate injuries, one of which involved his throwing elbow. But with a one-year deal, it’s a low-risk/high-reward type of acquisition.
So if this deal happens, and the monetary aspects are as speculated, it’s a nice signing for the Indians, given the free agent environment and the team needs.