Per John Heyman’s twitter, the Yankees are close to reaching an agreement with RHP Kevin Millwood on an “incentive-laden minor league contract.” A little over a month ago, it was reported that Millwood had rejected a minor league deal from the Yankees, and was seeking a major league deal worth several million. TYA’s own Matt Imbrogno counseled patience, writing: “Millwood is probably a better bet than Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon or Sergio Mitre or Ivan Nova, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees should just cave to his demands and throw money at their problem. Hold out for a minor league deal, Mr. Cashman and Co.”
The Yankees are not an organization known for patience, but it looks like Cashman played his cards well with this one by not panicking and giving Millwood more than he was worth. The lack of interest that Millwood received around the league is telling, as he was likely unable to get a major league deal from another team. The terms of the contract have not been released (and the contract has not been finalized), but assuming it’s a relatively affordable deal, it’s a good move for the Yankees to add another experienced arm into the mix for the back end of the rotation without guaranteeing a roster spot or millions of dollars.
Heyman also writes that Millwood would likely need a few weeks to get himself ready for the regular season, so the Yankees will likely start the season with Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia in the rotation, and Bartolo Colon in the bullpen as the long man. Once Millwood is ready, however, it will be interesting to see how the Yankees decide to integrate him into the rotation. Certainly, a rough start by Nova or Garcia will make the decision easier, but Millwood would likely be given a rotation spot once he is ready, which would bump either Nova or Garcia to Scranton or the bullpen.
Is the addition of Kevin Millwood going to make the Yankee rotation a strength? Of course not. However, it’s nice to be able to add another experienced veteran pitcher to the mix, and give them another option if Garcia or Nova flame out. Kudos to Cashman here for waiting this one out.
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