Indians “making progress” in talks with Kevin Millwood

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Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this morning that the Indians are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Kevin Millwood. Indians CEO Paul Dolan would have to approve the signing if it’s a major league deal.

We heard the other day that Millwood was looking for $4-5 million, but that seems highly unlikely. The 36-year-old right-hander went 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA over 31 starts with the Orioles last season.

On the bright side, Millwood has logged at least 190 innings in each of the last two seasons and would likely benefit with a return to the pitcher-friendly Progressive Field. Remember, he led the American League with a 2.86 ERA as a member of the Indians back in 2005.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com notes that the possible addition of Millwood could impact the market for right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who has also been connected to the Indians in recent weeks.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.