25 May 2010

What is Kevin Millwood Worth?

As has become all too apparent, the Orioles are going nowhere. What is also a given is that Kevin Millwood is unlikely to be offered arbitration as he is is earning 12MM (3 from Texas and 9 from Baltimore) and will not be offered anything near that amount. On the free agent market, he is probably worth about 7-8MM. If the Orioles offered him anything, he would most likely accept and leave the Orioles with a rather large price tag on a declining talent. His place on the squad this year made sense as it has given the rotation another veteran leader . . . and, perhaps more importantly, given the Orioles a dependable arm that can save the bullpen.

In AAA Norfolk, both Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta have performed well enough to audition in the Majors. One being promoted would push David Hernandez back into the relief role for which he is better suited. For the other to get into the rotation, it will require an opening. That might be accomplished by trading Millwood. So, this begs the question . . . what can we get for him?

Looking at deals for pitchers like Joe Blanton and Scott Kazmir, we may be looking at something a little less than the Blanton deal and on par with the Kazmir trade. Millwood is a veteran and performing well, but he is a free agent after the season and is an expensive addition on the short term. So, I think it is possible the Orioles could pull back a B/B- prospect along with a C+/C prospect.

After the jump, who may be in the market and what could they offer that the O's need?

1. Washington Nationals

PECOTA puts the Nationals at a 6% chance of making the playoffs. This ignores any effect Stephen Strasburg could have on the team. Strasburg's addition could potentially add three or so wins over Craig Stammen. The difference in talent is that great between the two. I have their playoff odds increasing to 12% with that move. Strasburg alone puts the Nats in the conversation, but leaves much to chance. Atilano is another pitcher in the rotation that needs to be replaced. Kevin Millwood would provide a major boost to this rotation and be what Jason Marquis was supposed to be. Trading for Millwood would also be a gain of two to three wins over Atilano. That would put the Nats at 19%.

The Nationals have a thin system, but they do have some redundancies. They have seemed to have found a starting SS in Ian Desmond. This could open up AA shortstop Danny Espinosa for being dealt. He certainly can stay at shortstop. He shows good athleticism and his hit tool should be good enough for that position. He has an outside chance of being above average. A second pitcher who could be offered would be someone like RHP Bradley Myers who would be similar to someone like Steve Johnson in our system. Myers' pitches are not special, but he seems to get the job done.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks are flailing, but they seem to believe they are a better team than I think they are. The NL West is very competitive, so any addition could make or break a team. PECOTA at this point has them sitting at a 2.5% chance of making the playoffs. Millwood filling in would increase the competitiveness of the team by about 2 games. That probably does not help them much. The Orioles could target someone like Brandon Allen here. Allen could immediately step into first base for the Orioles and solve that issue. The Diamondbacks might be able to just stick with Adam LaRoche who has performed well in the desert.

3. Cincinnati Reds

The Reds are in dire need for a pitcher to boost their rotation. Homer Bailey needs to heal and probably get some time in AAA. PECOTA has them at 52% making the playoffs. Millwood replacing Bailey would set the Reds at 60%. That would be very beneficial to that club and would probably make it worth it to spend the 4-5MM on Millwood. They do have redundancies where the Orioles need help. The two main names to focus on would be Todd Frazier and Yonder Alonso. Alonso is in AAA right now and could potentially play for the Orioles next year at first. He has a good eye and strong bat . . . he also has major issues hitting left handers. Having both him and Josh Bell in the lineup could spell trouble. Todd Frazier could fill in at third or potentially at second. He has a good eye and should be able to hit in the majors. The Orioles would certainly jump for Alonso, but they could probably make do with Frazier. That said, I think based on the Reds needs . . . Frazier is more of a long term fit for them since they have Joey Votto at first.

4. Los Angeles Dodgers

PECOTA has the Dodgers at 54% and I have a Millwood addition giving them a boost to 63%. Money seems tight with the organization, but a one year increase in payroll or if the Orioles throw in some cash . . . they might be able to add Kevin to their roster. The Dodgers have two shortstops in their system. Ivan DeJesus Jr. is considered to be less of a talent than Dee Gordon. He suffered a broken leg last year and lost some development time. He is back in AAA this year. He is probably the piece the Dodgers would be willing to deal in exchange for Millwood.

5. Detroit Tigers

This year the Tigers have Verlander and Bonderman . . . and a bunch of question marks. The addition of Millwood would settle down that rotation and give the Tigers much more stability. That move (~3 wins) would increase PECOTA's prediction of 43% to mine of 59%. The Tigers system has been thinned out over the years with a few uneven drafts and trades, but they do have some parts to offer. Ryan Strieby can play first base and might be an average bat there. He probably is not special and the Tigers have redundancies everywhere he can play. With such a low end pick, he would have to be teamed up with a higher level prospect like Casper Wells or Cody Satterwhite. This probably is not the team the Orioles would want to target.

6. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

LAAA is not a great fit either, but they do believe they have a shot at the playoffs. Replacing Kazmir with Millwood would probably get them a few more games and raise them past the 10% mark. The Angels' system does not match well up with the Orioles, but I could see something based on a solid arm like Trevor Reckling and then accompanied by probable bust Brandon Wood.

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