Kevin Millwood pitched decently for the Mariners this this season before a sore shoulder put an early end to things this month, but the impending free agent told Greg Johns of MLB.com yesterday that he’s not sure whether he wants to come back for another season.
“I’m going to go home and just relax and play with my kids and see what happens, see how I feel and see what pops into my head,” Millwood said Friday. “I don’t have any definite plans right now on next year, but I’m sure at some point in the offseason it’ll hit me on what I want to do.”
“I knew I wanted to play this year,” he said. “But like I said, now I’m just trying to figure out physically if I can do it. I still definitely believe I can get people out, but whether it’s time to stay home and spend more time with my kids or try it again, I don’t know the answer to that yet.”
Millwood signed a minor league deal with the Mariners last offseason and made the team out of spring training. The 37-year-old right-hander ended up posting a 4.25 ERA and 107/56 K/BB ratio over 161 innings in 28 starts. And he wasn’t just a Safeco Field creation either, as his ERA was only slightly higher on the road (4.35) than it was at home (4.15). Still, it’s unlikely any team will give him much of a guarantee at this point, so he’s understandably thinking about whether it’s worth trying to put his body through another season.
Millwood has a 169-152 record and a 4.11 ERA over 16 major league seasons. While he has averaged an unspectacular 6.9 K/9 for his career, he ranks 59th all-time with 2,083 strikeouts. He is the active leader in strikeouts among right-handed pitchers.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: