Millwood Experiment Nearing An End


Adding Kevin Millwood was a nice thought. It was an idea that worked in theory; bring in an aging pitcher who might be able to eat a few innings, all the while posting decent numbers in a pitcher-friendly park. But a theory is all that it has been, as Millwood has been nothing short of  terrible.

As stated, the primary reason for bringing in this once exceptional pitching machine was to swallow a large portion of innings throughout the first half of the season. To date, it hasn’t worked out as planned. Millwood has gone 6, 4, 5.1, 7, 6.1, and 5 innings, amassing a total of 33.2. Not exactly your prototypical innings eater which would be plenty acceptable had he been decent in those starts. At the conclusion of the All-Star Break, the team might have hoped that Millwood would have been decent enough to flip him.

I don’t foresee that happening now.

There have been some “encouraging” signs with regards to the journeyman. FIP doesn’t hate him, though xFIP is less of a fan. His walks are double his career average, so unless Millwood has just forgotten how to throw a baseball, that is likely to stabilize at some point. However, his strikeout rates are down – an indication of his age – and his HR% is down, which is a stat you won’t want to see stabilize. So while his walk rate is likely to return to normal, so is his home run rate which doesn’t bode well for the veteran.

It’s not as if Millwood has been entertaining to watch either. The Mariners are blocking several other pitchers who could easily duplicate his production or even provide a slight upgrade, and would also provide some sort of interest on the mound. Furbush, Ramirez, Iwakuma, Hultzen, Paxton, and Snow all provide a bit of a significant upgrade in the “watchable” department. Millwood isn’t slow to the plate or anything like that (no one is slow to the plate after you have endured the tediousness of Miguel Batista), but as a pitcher with no real future in the organization it is nearly impossible to become invested. Without investment, it lacks meaning, and no one enjoys watching something meaningless.

Millwood probably could pitch well enough to be an acceptable addition on this roster, but it might just be a better plan to let him go. If the Mariners plan on calling up Hultzen, then you’ll probably see Millwood stick around until June or so. But if they don’t, then you could see the him gone much sooner. It just isn’t working out as planned. Such is the world of baseball.