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May 2, 2011

Transaction Analysis Blog

Millwood Opts Out

by R.J. Anderson

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

New York Yankees
SP Kevin Millwood exercises opt-out clause; becomes free agent. [5/1]

Millwood signed a minor league deal with the Yankees during the final week of March after spending weeks flirting with the Indians. After all the chatter about whether Millwood would accept a minor league deal or not, the Yankees floated a large enough carrot to persuade him. Amongst the benefits given, the Yankees guaranteed Millwood a $1.5 million salary (dependent on his arrival in the majors), various performance incentives, and the ability to hit the escape button should he not be on the 25-man roster come May.

With Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon producing in the rotation, the Yankees decision came down to Millwood or Ivan Nova—they implicitly choose Nova. Although Nova hasn’t pitched well—he has a 5.14 ERA and a 1.13 strikeout-to-walk ratio through six starts—it’s not like Millwood is guaranteed to pitch better, as he spent 2010 inside of the American League East and finished with a 5.10 ERA and a 2.03 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Even expecting a replication of Millwood’s 2010 might be beyond his means, as at least one report had the righty throwing in the mid-80s during a rehab start—as a reference point, PITCHf/x data suggests his fastball averaged 89 miles per hour last season.

For now, the Yankees next veteran in line for a shot in the rotation is Carlos Silva, who is still working on his conditioning in extended spring training. As for Millwood, he may garner interest from teams in need for an immediate rotation bandage. The Cubs come to mind, as they are currently starting Casey Coleman and James Russell, but they also have Doug Davis in tow. Perhaps the Indians will reignite a passion that went for naught, or maybe Millwood will just fade away.

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Kevin Millwood

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