EDIT [Stacey, 11:08 PM]: This is officially a done deal. Ray and a PTBNL to the Rangers, Millwood and cash to the O's. Lots of feel good quotes and such in this Sun article
Per Jeff Zriebec at the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have a tentative deal in place with the Texas Rangers that would bring starting pitcher Kevin Millwood to the Orioles and send up-and-down relief pitcher Chris Ray to the Rangers. The Rangers would also send an undetermined amount of money to the Orioles to help offset Millwood's $12M salary. The deal is contingent upon review of medical records but could be finished by this evening.
I went on record just over a week ago with my belief that Kevin Millwood would be a bad pickup for the Orioles. I'm still not super excited about it, but the fact is that Chris Ray is hardly worth getting upset over. It's clear the Rangers needed to dump salary and this is how they chose to do so. It's clear the Orioles wanted to pick up a veteran starter and this his how they chose to do so.
In 2009 the Orioles desperately needed a pitcher who could pitch deep into games, and it's likely Millwood will give them that in 2010. In 31 starts in 2009, Millwood went at least 5 innings in all but two starts, one of which was due to a rain delay. He pitched at least 6 innings in 23 of his starts. In his 13 year career Millwood has averaged 178 innings/year and has that includes his rookie year in 1997 when he threw 51 innings over 12 starts. For his career he averages 6.133 innings/game.
I don't hate this deal. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. Best case scenario is that Millwood gives the Orioles more than 6 innings/start and is flipped for a few extra players after Jake Arrieta has established that he's ready to join the rotation. Mid-case he's with the O's all year, provides stability, and gives the bullpen a break. Worst case is that his 35 year old body will start to break down and the O's will have spent a load of cash on nothing.
So welcome to Birdland, Kevin Millwood. Treat us right and we'll like you ok.
As for the player leaving the birds, Chris Ray has had a few shining moments with the Orioles but in recent history has proven to be expendable. He'd been with the club since 2005, the only Oriole who could say that other than Brian Roberts. After a good rookie season setting up B.J. Ryan, Ray took the sting out of Ryan's departure by earning 33 saves with a 2.73 ERA (167 ERA+) in 2006. A substandard 2007 was cut short by injury and he missed the entire 2008 season after having elbow surgery. The O's had high hopes for him in 2009 but he couldn't deliver. He bounced between the O's, AAA Norfolk, and the disabled list, racking up a 7.27 ERA in 46 appearances.
I always liked Chris Ray, but it got so that I didn't like seeing him come into games. Godspeed, young man. Thanks for 2006.