After a dozen consecutive losing seasons Orioles fans are always looking for a little spark of optimism that maybe this year will be the year the O’s get back to respectability. So as the Orioles management returns from the MLB’s winter meetings in Indianapolis with only Kevin Millwood (he turns 35 before Christmas) on the plane and minus Chris Ray, Steve Johnson, and their Rule 5 draft selection (traded with Ray for Millwood) it’s hard right now to be saying the glass of orange Kool-Aid is half full.
Trading for Kevin Millwood is similar to buying a Volvo. Both Millwood and a Volvo are reliable, safe, and yet both have enough under the hood to get you where you’re supposed to go. Just like a Volvo, Kevin Millwood isn’t cheap either costing the O’s around $9 million dollars (Millwood’s contract is worth $12 million, but the Rangers kicked in the additional $3 mil). After Andy MacPhail tried kicking the tires of some used arms like Adam Eaton and Rich Hill, MacPhail realized that he was going to have to pay the market price for what he has been looking for…a veteran pitcher that can eat innings and hopefully teach a few tricks of the trade to the O’s young staff.
Throughout his entire career Millwood has been nothing but consistent, nothing flashy, nothing bedazzling, nothing but consistent. Millwood has pitched 13 seasons and accumulated a 155-121 career record while pitching for 4 teams. While Millwood’s numbers are modest, they’re what MacPhail has been looking for; Millwood has averaged 29 starts per season throughout his entire career and has pitched well in some of baseball’s toughest pitching stadiums. So while MacPhail and the O’s are trying to keep the pressure off of their young arms, you can count on Millwood every fifth game to take the ball and get you six to eight innings. Millwood is that modest Volvo station wagon. You might not look twice at it if you pulled up next to it, but the good news for the Orioles is that packed into that Volvo is Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton.