Just to recap a few things, in the aftermath of the Millwood press conference and the news that the signing was finally official...
Someone named Steve Davis with the DMN has a piece on the press conference...your typical boilerplate press conference stuff, mostly, although he does characterize the contract as a four year, $48 million deal with a vesting option, rather than a five year, $60 million deal with a voidable year. I thought that was interesting, and probably more accurate...
T.R. Sullivan hits on the Millwood press conference, but also goes on to talk more about the likely construction of the team come Opening Day:
Unless Roger Clemens falls into the Rangers' lap, Millwood goes right to the top of a rotation that -- at least right now -- includes Vicente Padilla, Adam Eaton, Kameron Loe and Juan Dominguez.
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Loe and Dominguez are not locks for the rotation. They'll get competition in spring training from John Wasdin, R.A. Dickey, Josh Rupe, C.J. Wilson and Edison Volquez.
The Rangers are also looking to add Brian Anderson as depth even though he's still recovering from elbow surgery.
Daniels said the Rangers will be interested if Clemens decides to pitch again next season. But otherwise, Daniels said the Rangers are probably done making major moves this winter unless they can find a little more offensive help.
The player they really wanted was Bill Mueller, who could have played multiple positions, but he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So right now, the Rangers plan on having both Rod Barajas and Gerald Laird at catcher and Ian Kinsler and Mark DeRosa competing for playing time at second base.
The Rangers have five outfielders -- Kevin Mench, Brad Wilkerson, David Dellucci, Gary Matthews and Laynce Nix -- competing for three spots, and Showalter said he has yet to decide who will play where.
But Dellucci at least could share time at designated hitter with Phil Nevin.
Some thoughts on the above...the rotation makes sense, although I do tend to think that the final two rotation spots are Loe's and Dominguez's to lose. I don't think any of the other options Sullivan lists are really viable candidates...
The news of the failed Mueller pursuit is awfully curious...Mueller is primarily a third baseman, although adding him may have signalled the end of Phil Nevin's tenure with the Rangers, since Mueller would have made Nevin superfluous.
And Sullivan suggesting that Dellucci "could at least share time" with Nevin at DH is troubling...I don't see any reason for Phil Nevin to be on the 25 man roster in 2006.
The most notable part about the contract is the Rangers can void it after four years unless Millwood pitches a certain amount of innings in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
There are three ways that Millwood can extinguish the Rangers' ability to void the contract. All he has to do is one of the following:
By pitching a combined total of 540 innings in 2007-2009.
By pitching a combined total of 360 innings in 2008-2009.
By pitching 180 innings in 2009.
If Millwood fails to meet any one of those three criteria, then the Rangers can void the fifth year. But they could also elect to keep him.
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Millwood's contract calls for a base salary of $6 million in 2006, $7.5 million in 2007, $8.5 million in 2008, $11 million in 2009 and $12 million in 2010.
Because there is significant deferred money, the Rangers are computing the annual average salary to be $10.8 million.
Sullivan's article does contradict itself in regards to the fifth year, as he says initially that Millwood has to meet only one of the three criteria for the final year to vest, but later says that Millwood has to meet all three conditions.
Nevertheless, this is revealing, and makes me a little more reassured about the size of the deal. At an average annual salary of $10.8 million over five years, that would make the deal a 5 year, $54 million contract. With the fifth year at $12 million, the contract appears to actually be a 4 year, $42 million deal (when factoring in the discount for the deferred money), with a $12 million vesting option.
A 4 year, $42 million deal is a lot more palatable than a 5 year, $60 million deal.
Finally, if you haven't checked out the Bill Conlin article linked by doolindalton in the diaries, you should definitely check it out. One of the worst columns I've ever read, both in terms of stupid comments:
There are baseball men who will tell you that ERA is the most over-respected pitching stat
because it depends so much on the skill of others. Roger Craig was 10-24 for the 1962 Mets with a 4.51 ERA. "Do you know how good I had to pitch to lose 24 games for that team?" Craig used to deadpan.
But Millwood led the American League with a 2.86 ERA for the Indians last season. It would appear a lot of pitcher-hungry clubs, including the Rangers, were so blinded by the ERA they overlooked the 9-11 record that left Millwood at a so-so 32-29 since leaving the Braves.
and in factual errors, which are plentiful and blatant. I sent the following email to Conlin:
Some rather glaring errors in your column...
Scott Boras never represented Pudge Rodriguez when Pudge was with the Rangers, so he couldn't have "burned" Hicks "big-time" with Pudge Rodriguez's contract.
Also, Tom Hicks never signed Pudge Rodriguez to any contract. Pudge signed his last Ranger contract -- a five-year deal -- late in 1997, before Hicks bought the team.
The Rangers finished in last place the season before they signed Alex Rodriguez, so he couldn't have "launched the Rangers to last place." And given that the Rangers spent over $80 million per season on all the players other than ARod while he was in Texas -- an amount that would have still put the Rangers in the top 10 in payroll in the majors each of those years -- the idea that his contract is what "launched the Rangers to last place" would seem to be pretty ludicrous anyway.
You said that "After Scott Boras burned him big-time on the Pudge and Alex Rodriguez contracts, Hicks swore up and down he would not lavish any more 5-year deals." Not true. The team said that they would stay away from 5-year deals for pitchers...they did five year deals for Hank Blalock and Michael Young, and have been willing to go 7 years for Mark Teixeira.
Kevin Millwood didn't have a "heavy contract" that the Braves needed the Phillies to take off their hands when they traded him to Philadelphia...Millwood didn't have a contract at all. He hadn't even been offered arbitration yet, so the Braves could have non-tendered him, if they wished.
You also appear to be the only person reporting that Millwood gets a seven-figure buyout if the fifth year is voided.
If I get a response, I'll post it...