POTD Kevin Millwood, 1


Q.  How do we organize our thinking about the 'bridge starter'?

A.  The Mariners want a bridge starter who keeps them in the hunt ::blinks:: during the 1H 2012.  You want a bridge starter who can be swapped out for James Paxton on one week's notice.  Let me read those last four words again.

The Mariners have one of the best Big Threes in baseball now, rich team or not.  You're talking about the #4 and #5 starter slots here.  That could be Hultzen and Paxton, and if not both, it certainly could be Charlie Furbush and one of them.  And if not either, it certainly could be Furbush and Beavan until one is ready.

This is where "don't lose sight of the rebuild" fans should be bringing their drive-thru Quarter Pounder orders back into the lobby for the Happy Meals they requested.  

You know for a fact that Jeff Suppan and Jamie Moyer and Kevin Millwood aren't in your plans.  They wouldn't be in your plans even if they had great years.  

If all your dreams came to pass, Arwen, and Jeff survived this war, and posted  3.25 ERAs the next two years ... you would still be parted.  The Golden Land of Taijuan, Paxton, Hultzen, Pineda, Campos, and next year's #2 await.


Q.  Why not Charlie Furbush?

A.  SSI does not grant it to any human being to be considered free of error (as Zduriencik is) or free of wisdom (as Bavasi is).  Human beings are mixed bags.

Doug Fister would make one whale of a bridge pitcher, even if you didn't care for him, which Wedge and Zduriencik didn't.

But now you've invested one (1) Doug Fister in Charlie Furbush, plus a platoon outfielder.  Furbush is a young, hard-throwing lefty who needs his release point -- like, ummmmmmmmmmm, GIO (echo) GONZALEZ?   :: dana carvey church lady ::

Why would a very young team in transition not give Charlie Furbush ten more starts?  Why must it cast about for somebody, anybody, gimme some random 37-year-old starter so Furbush can't pitch?


Q.  Why not Jeff Suppan?

A.  It is one thing to say that Danny Hultzen may not be ready.  I completely agree.  Danny Hultzen absolutely: may not be ready.

But supposing he's not.  Don't you want to position yourself to switch over to him?  On one week's notice.

Jeff Suppan signs here, he's getting 60-65 starts the next two years.  You might do that if you didn't have four of the minor leagues' best starting pitchers.  

Did the 1980's Royals, with scads of talented pitchers arriving, go out and get a 35-year-old mediocrity to block them?  Did the 1970's Dodgers do that, go out and trade for Jack Billingham to block the ten flamethrowers they had banging the door down?


Q.  Why not Jamie Moyer?

A.  Same thing.  Jamie says he just wants a chance to pitch.

But of course he is going to want MLB(TM) Entitled Vet treatment from the Mariners.  If Danny Hultzen blasts away AAA in his first six starts, but Jamie Moyer has a 3.88 ERA, you ain't changing over on one week's notice.


Q.  Why not Kevin Millwood?

A.  Ah, now that's another subject.

Kevin Millwood pitched a lot of 2011 in the minor leagues.  Was willing to, and able to.  Kevin Millwood was not an Opening Day starter for the 116-win Mariners and Kevin Millwood isn't going into the Mariner Hall of Fame.  You bring Kevin Millwood in, you've got some agility still.


Q.  Can Millwood still pitch?

A.  He can pitch far, far better than Jamie Moyer, and maybe better than Jeff Suppan.  

Here is where you're talking a sweet spot on the "Bridge" strategy.  Millwood would actually provide a sturdy amphibious bridge, and he could actually be disassembled on one week's notice.




Mesully's picture

And the angel  line up is right hand hitting heavy! He makes sense in that way also, even for just a short 1/2 season.


Did the 1970's Dodgers do that, go out and trade for Jack Billingham to block the ten flamethrowers they had banging the door down?
Dang straight!
But in a perverse sort of way I like the Millwood strategy.  Sign him cheap.  Be straight up with him:  He may get 8 starts, he may get 28...and it won't be based on his performance probably.
Vargas must start and I think you have to see what Furbish has.  Beavan, then?  What to do with him?  Tough one for me, because I'm higher on him that most around here.
Best case scenario?  Millwood is actually decent!  Swap him out, sell high.
Low risk, high reward:  Hold down the fort for the young guns.  Win/Win.
I like.

ghost's picture

I'd rather get Iwakuma than Millwood.
Millwood has no upside at all..Iwakuma is just as cheap to get, most likely, but has plenty of upside still.

ghost's picture

...I didn't know that B-Ref had Japanese league data...some of it, anyway.  They have five years for Iwakuma...his last five.  In which time he's posted a JPPL 7.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 with miniscule HRs.
That would probably translate to a Chien-Ming Wang-esque profile.  Meaning he'd have a few years before the league booked him and he blew up.  That's fine with me.

RockiesJeff's picture

Millwood was pretty consistent for the Rockies after they signed him last summer. And for that staff that was pretty good. If Millwood pitched well, he could be trade bait if not in contention. Hopefully that won't come into play!
Happy New Year!

M-Pops's picture

Leo Gomez at MC provided this linkhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgLjgoIf4CY
To my eye it shows Iwakuma showing great command of all his pitches. The pitch I am most excited about is the forkball that seems to drop in to RH hitters.
His shoulder issue last season combined with general non-star NPB trepidation could make Iwakuma a value as a #5 SP bridge. Iwakuma's great control, slight frame and Japanese heritage remind of Uehara and Hasegawa who also succeeded in the bullpen. The M's could move him there to preserve his health and make way for Hultzen/Paxton.
Perhaps Iwakuma, like Team Japan teammate Kawasaki, is also motivated to play alongside his WBC captain and HOFer :-)

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