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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rangers - Signed Millwood

Texas Rangers - Signed P Kevin Millwood to a 5-year, $60 million contract.

We were talking about the Royals needing scaffolding over in the Reggie Sanders thread and while I don’t think it applied to the Royals, it does apply to the Rangers.  While the Rangers’ offense is clearly overrated, the team still has a lot of core talent and neither the A’s or Angels are juggernaut teams.  Millwood doesn’t give the Rangers the dominant starter they could really use, he’s a better bet than Kenny Rogers and that’s enough to stop some of the bleeding and help the Rangers more comfortably work in pitchers like Loe.

Unlike the Burnett deal, only $48 million over 4 years is guaranteed and the Rangers will be able to void the 5th year if this signing is bomb.  Of course, I still think I would rather have A.J. Burnett at his price - Burnett still has the drool-inducing upside that Millwood doesn’t.  If this contract doesn’t work out, it’ll be entertaining to see how the sportswriters blame this one on A-Rod.

The other thing I find entertaining is how this pretty much ends the gleeful crowing about how Scott Boras lost big with his Millwood negotiating tactics.  With the mutual option exercised, Millwood would have made roughly $40 million from the Phillies for the 2004-2007 seasons.  Now, for the 2004-2007 seasons, Millwood will have made roughly $42 million.  And still have another 2-3 years at $12 million a pop in the big.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Kevin Millwood
————————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
————————————————————————-
12   8 30 30 188 197   86 21 54 137 4.12
————————————————————————-

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 27, 2005 at 03:09 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Vance W Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:45 PM (#1795668)
The Rangers have now completely retooled their starting rotation without losing any of their better prospects. They have filled a long-running hole at Centerfield and, in ridding themselves of Soriano, will have surely improved their defense. This must be one of the most improved teams over the off-season.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:47 PM (#1795671)
I liked this deal better the first time when it was called "Chan Ho Park."
   3. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 27, 2005 at 05:49 PM (#1795677)
The other thing I find entertaining is how this pretty much ends the gleeful crowing about how Scott Boras lost big with his Millwood negotiating tactics.

Scott Boras need never fear, as long as Tom Hicks has access to his checkbook.
   4. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 27, 2005 at 06:17 PM (#1795718)
"This must be one of the most improved teams over the off-season."

I think the biggest arguement against that is getting rid of Chris Young for Adam Eaton.
   5. Spivey Posted: December 27, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1795866)
The Rangers have now completely retooled their starting rotation without losing any of their better prospects. They have filled a long-running hole at Centerfield

Chris Young would still be the second best SP on this team, and he's locked up for half a decade.

If Wilkerson starts in CF, I don't think their defense will really be improved.

I think their alignment should be: Wilkerson and Mench in the corners, Nix starts in CF, and Dellucci is the DH. Against RHP, of course. Against lefties...they'll struggle. I don't think Wilkerson has the range to play CF well. Nix is a terrible hitter, but Matthews isn't that good either, and if they don't have Nix out there there's going to be a lot of fly balls that aren't caught.
   6. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 27, 2005 at 09:35 PM (#1796044)
The other thing I find entertaining is how this pretty much ends the gleeful crowing about how Scott Boras lost big with his Millwood negotiating tactics. With the mutual option exercised, Millwood would have made roughly $40 million from the Phillies for the 2004-2007 seasons. Now, for the 2004-2007 seasons, Millwood will have made roughly $42 million. And still have another 2-3 years at $12 million a pop in the big.

Sure, it definitely worked out in the final analysis very nicely for Millwood and Boras. But only because Millwood remained healthy and effective for 2004-05. Millwood assumed a great deal of risk to get that extra $24M over 2 years; it blows out his arm in 2004, then he's only made ~$10M or whatever. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but I'd rather have the $40M in the bank and then look at anything post-2007 as a nice little bonus, rather than risk $30M to get an extra $24M.
   7. Darren Posted: December 27, 2005 at 10:52 PM (#1796235)
I cannot believe how little credit Millwood gets. He's a very, very good and consistent pitcher. He has consistently put up K/BB ratios in the 2.5/1 range, while keeping HR below 1/9 IP. The guy's only recent, bad ERA was 04, a year in which he maintained his good K/BB and low HR in a great hitter's park and in front of some pretty lousy defenders.

As far as all the drooling over Burnett, Burnett has not been as healthy, and he walks more batters. He surrenders less HR and Ks more, but he has pitched in a much more pitcher friendly park. His best ERA+ was 4 years ago, and it was only 121 for 203 IP. Millwood's bested that 3 times, and one of them was his 143 last year.

A 4/48 deal for Millwood is a superior option to a 5/55 for Burnett
   8. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 27, 2005 at 11:22 PM (#1796285)
I cannot believe how little credit Millwood gets. He's a very, very good and consistent pitcher.

Millwood's ERA +'s since 1998 -

1998 - 104
1999 - 162
2000 - 100
2001 - 102
2002 - 127
2003 - 103
2004 - 90
2005 - 143

I don't think that ERA+ is a be-all, end-all statistic when it comes to individual pitchers, but it pretty clearly shows that consistency isn't Millwood's strong point.

Now, an ERA+ of 100-105 for 200 innings is nothing to sneeze at, but that's pretty much what you're counting on from Millwood, with the hope that he can put together one of his occasional outstanding seasons.
   9. Vance W Posted: December 27, 2005 at 11:26 PM (#1796291)
A league average ERA for big innings is a valuable commodity. The occasional bursts of greatness make him a very valuable commodity. Given the available options this was the best case scenario acquisition for the Rangers this winter.
   10. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 27, 2005 at 11:42 PM (#1796301)
A league average ERA for big innings is a valuable commodity. The occasional bursts of greatness make him a very valuable commodity.

No question.

But $12M/year valuable? That's a bit harder to swallow.
   11. Kyle S Posted: December 27, 2005 at 11:51 PM (#1796311)
No question.

But $12M/year valuable? That's a bit harder to swallow.


He's no Paul Konerko...
   12. JPWF13 Posted: December 27, 2005 at 11:52 PM (#1796312)
I don't think that ERA+ is a be-all, end-all statistic when it comes to individual pitchers, but it pretty clearly shows that consistency isn't Millwood's strong point.

It's not all Millwood- his peripherals, K/9, K/BB etc tend to be more consistent than his ERA, his BABIP fluctuates wildly for some reason (and that drives his ERA swings)
   13. Excel Hearts Choi Posted: December 28, 2005 at 12:17 AM (#1796334)
Given the available options this was the best case scenario acquisition for the Rangers this winter.

The best case scenario would have been to keep Chris Young. I don't know what Daniels did, but I like the fact that Hicks is finally willing to spend some money again. The best window for the Rangers is the next few years where Teixeira, Mike Young, and Blalock (assuming he lives up to his potential) are still under contract for a reasonable price. Now is the time to collect the pieces to make a run, but Eaton is not one of them.
   14. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: December 28, 2005 at 12:22 AM (#1796339)
He's no Paul Konerko...

On Konerko -

(1) He's overpaid, yes;

(2) Position players are, as a whole, more valuable than pitchers;

(3) He's a fan favorite and someone viewed as integral to a championship run, which drove up his cost considerably vis-a-vis the White Sox.

It's not all Millwood- his peripherals, K/9, K/BB etc tend to be more consistent than his ERA, his BABIP fluctuates wildly for some reason (and that drives his ERA swings)

Okay, but his peripherals point to him being a slightly-above-average pitcher (as ZiPS suggests above). Is that what the Rangers think they're getting here? If so, that's fine, but if they think that they're getting an elite pitcher, or even someone that can give them a lot more than what Kenny Rogers gave them over the last four years, they stand a really good chance of being disappointed.

Is this a Chan Ho Park signing? Probably not, but it's not a great signing, either.
   15. Excel Hearts Choi Posted: December 28, 2005 at 12:32 AM (#1796348)
"Is that what the Rangers think they're getting here?"

That is certainly how he was portrayed in the Dallas media the day they found out Millwood was visiting. On the ESPN affiliate, the people asked listeners to call in and make a sales pitch to Millwood. Almost everybody, the hosts included, saw Millwood as the "ace" pither the Rangers have always lacked.
   16. Darren Posted: December 28, 2005 at 01:18 AM (#1796372)
Okay, but his peripherals point to him being a slightly-above-average pitcher (as ZiPS suggests above).

Millwood's FIP of 3.77 last year ranked him 5th in the AL, just 4 points behind #4 Sabathia. He put up a FIP of ~3.80 the previous year, and around 3.70 in 03 (not sure where those would rank). Those numbers suggest to me that he's a very good pitcher, at least as likely as Burnett to be worth his salary.
   17. Randomly Fluctuating Defensive Metric Posted: December 30, 2005 at 10:45 PM (#1800436)
That Chris Young trade was atrocious.

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