Report: Orioles offer up young arms for Millwood

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MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that the Orioles offered Brandon Erbe and David Hernandez to the Rangers for Kevin Millwood, but that talks have now “cooled off.”
Judging by the fact that the Orioles were prepared to surrender two intriguing right-handers, they must have been expecting Texas to pick up a significant portion of the $12 million that Millwood is owed next season. Even if the Rangers were willing to go that route, it’d sure make a lot more sense for the Orioles to keep their arms and go out and sign a Jon Garland or Doug Davis for their rotation.
Millwood is likely a better pitcher of those two, but it’s well worth remembering that he did post ERAs of 5.16 and 5.07 in back-to-back years before rebounding to 3.67 last season. Even his 2009 was marred by a mediocre second half. April and June were the only months of the season in which he posted a sub-4.00 ERA.
Plus, Millwood would likely be nothing more than a one-year option for a team likely to finish in fourth or fifth place. He might not even bring any draft picks as a free agent, considering that his generous salary would make offering him arbitration a risk. Taking Millwood and his salary while giving up nothing in return would be an acceptable move for the Orioles. There’s just no good reason to give up young talent for him, though.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.