Kevin MillwoodJune 9th, 2012 by terrybenish
So far in this year of open and unabashed, over-hyped rebuilding all the focus has been about the young players on the offensive side. Nothing about young pitchers, since none of note are in the major leagues. Lots of promise and praise in Jackson, with the Generals, maybe Ramirez down in Tacoma, but nothing at all about the future pitching in Seattle so far.
Kevin Millwood turns thirty nine on Christmas Eve this year, if the Mayans or String Theory doesn’t do us in before that. It is a cheap trick to summon visions of Faust and devilish bargains, but that would be an artifice and an insult to the effort and work of Millwood thus far.
So far using OPS Against as the yardstick Millwood is the best pitcher for the Mariners as of the morning of June 9th with a number of .655 which is very respectable and 8th in the American League. Jason Vargas is second with a .661 and Felix a distant third at .711, which is sucky from his historical standards.
He has not pitched this well since 2002 with Atlanta. People keep waiting for him to wither like an old balloon. I’m sure he’s thinking to himself that he should have come here ten years ago as this park and his command of his pitches are a marriage made in baseball heaven. Not to say that its a home and away thing, because he’s pitched just grand on the road.
Unlike Jamey Moyer who is still hanging on in Norfolk for the Orioles, Millwood is not a freak, somebody that trades on being radically different than the rest of the fish in the school. Fastball, slider, curve, change up are his stock and trade. At 90.5 mph, his fastball is firmer than it has been since 2007.
Baseball is really fun to play when you get good at it. Plus he gets paid to do it. Many guys would emulate Moyer and play till they’re fifty years old, but their body lets them down and breaks down.
There is an unspoken echo to this year’s performance that sounds like, “Trade him, trade him now!”
Right now the five starters in order of quality are Millwood, Vargas, Felix, Noesi and a distant fifth Beavan. If you want to bring somebody up, send Felix to the dl or return Noesi and Beavan to Tacoma, before you get rid of Millwood.
You know the KISS principle right?