While Kevin Millwood pitched well earlier in the season, he is 2-4 with a 5.92 ERA and has been walking a lot of guys in his past 11 starts. What’s more, as Baseball Time in Arlington’s Joey Matschulat notes this morning, Millwood has greatly reduced the number of fastballs he has thrown in the second half, which could suggest an injury.
Is he hurt or is he just ineffective? These aren’t merely baseball questions for the Rangers, they’re business questions too, because Millwood needs eight more innings to reach 180 for the year, and that would trigger his $12 million option for 2010. In light of (a) his performance, (b) Texas’ plethora of young pitching talent; and (c) Owner Tom Hicks’ severe financial problems and the impending sale of the team, there is at least a reasonable argument to be made that Texas should shut Millwood down.
Anyone willing to go on the record is saying that won’t happen, however. Millwood is slated to start tonight, and both GM Jon Daniels and team President Nolan Ryan are saying that they won’t consider sitting him in order to prevent his option from vesting. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, however, adds an ominous sounding note when he says “It may be
others besides the Rangers baseball people who decide that Millwood
won’t pitch beyond Friday.”
That seems like a very odd thing for him to just throw into an article like this. Sullivan is a good reporter and knows the Rangers better than anyone, so I can’t help but think that he’s heard something from someone suggesting that Millwood’s season could be over soon.
I suppose a lot of this depends on how he pitches tonight. If he’s effective, I can’t see how the Rangers could keep him off the mound without losing both the clubhouse and the fans. If he’s shelled, however, all bets are off.