It appears the Yankees biggest move this offseason will be to add Rafael Soriano to their bullpen, but they are still trying to add somebody to their rotation and according to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated they are considering Kevin Millwood.
Yesterday the rumor of the day was that the Yankees were considering Freddy Garcia. When discussing that scenario, among other names like Bartolo Colon, Jeremy Bonderman and Justin Duchscherer, I wrote that the Yankees may like Garcia because he is more likely to pitch at least 150 innings than any of them. I did note that the one exception was Millwood. Now Millwood seems to be the rumor of the day.
Unlike the other pitchers that have been named in this article, Millwood has never had shoulder surgery and over the past few years piling up innings hasn’t been a problem for him. If the Yankees are going to sign one of these pitchers, they would probably be better off signing Millwood. Not because he’s the best, but because there is no use signing a guy if he can’t even be counted on to pitch at all. If a guy goes down for the season in May that’s no good to anybody.
So Millwood, who averages 186 innings with a 4.58 ERA and a 97 ERA+ over the past three years may be the best of the group by default.
The problem is, that means he could ask for the most amount of money. On top of that, the Yankees don’t seem interested in getting 200 innings from these guys (otherwise they would not be interested in them). In reality they are just looking for somebody to hold down a rotation spot until one of the kids is ready (Hector Noesi, David Phelps, and Andrew Brackman probably can’t win a job out of spring training, but maybe could after 75-100 innings in Triple-A).
If the Yankees have to pay Millwood at least $5 million or more in 2011, they are going to have a hard time trying to justify taking him out of the rotation if he’s mediocre. But they did do it with Javier Vazquez last year so that may not be a deal breaker for them.
So the only reason the Yankees may not prefer to sign Millwood is that even though you can count on innings from this guy, it is possible that somebody like Garcia or Colon could provide better quality for the innings he does give you. We’ll have to see what the Yankees prefer.