MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli picked up on something adorable down in spring training this weekend. According to several Rangers, 23-year-old right-hander Tommy Hunter included, veteran starter Kevin Millwood is sorely missed in the Texas clubhouse.
“I miss him,” Hunter said Saturday. “I’m not going to lie, I miss him. I might give him a
call this afternoon and see how he’s doing. He’s not good at returning
calls. He might be on the golf course. If he is, you know he’s not going
to return calls.”
Whether the Rangers will miss his presence on the mound is a different matter. Millwood, 35, posted a 3.67 ERA and 1.34 WHIP last season while compiling a 13-10 record, but he wasn’t all that great after the All-Star break and was sidelined for a few weeks with a left gluteus injury. The Rangers have a bevy of young starters, thus Millwood was dealt to Baltimore this winter for reliever Chris Ray and a Rule-5 Draft pick.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.