HOUSTON: Pitcher Kevin Millwood #40 of the Colorado Rockies throws against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Seattle Mariners have signed 37-year-old veteran starting pitcher Kevin Millwood to a minor league contract. He will probably make the rotation.
This is a tweet from Jon Heyman:
Millwood has deal with #mariners
Another way of reading this is "Kevin Millwood has joined his fourth organization since last March."
It's true. A free agent last winter, Millwood signed with the Yankees on March 25. He went to the minors and became a free agent again on May 1. He signed with the Red Sox on May 19. He stayed in the minors and became a free agent again on August 6. He signed with the Rockies on August 8. He went to the majors and posted a 3.98 ERA! Then he became a free agent again. Now he's a Mariner.
He's a Mariner on a minor league contract, Heyman says. But Millwood has to be considered a strong favorite to make the Mariners' rotation out of camp. There's uncertainty behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas, as Hisashi Iwakuma dealt with shoulder problems last season and will be transitioning from Japan, Hector Noesi started just seven games all year, and Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush are youngsters with their own questions.
Millwood's not a rotation lock, but he's a rotation probable. It doesn't hurt that Mariners manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis had him with the Indians in 2005. Veteran leadership and all that. Millwood could be expected to serve as a stabilizing force and mentor until or through midseason. He's a stopgap, but he's a stopgap who could conceivably be of use in the development of guys like Noesi, Beavan, Furbush and Danny Hultzen.
Millwood was effective with the Rockies last season in nine starts. Over the last three seasons overall, he's posted a 103 ERA+ with two strikeouts for every walk. To add a little color, the story of his signing with Seattle was first broken by his sister on Facebook:
So the Mariners' fan base just grew.