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Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.



Posted by Mike on Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Where's My Scratch?

Nick Johnson lost his arbitration case. Too bad, I guess he will have to wait until next year to buy that new Porsche. This will likely be the story for a number of the arbitration cases that will be settled in the next few days. In the current down baseball economy players generally overvalue their present day worth by judging themselves against contracts created during the market's peak a few years ago. Seemingly, baseball is experiencing some sort of contract value correction. In any event, Johnson will still receive about a $900,000 raise over the salary he received last year while on the Yankees.

Millwood Militia
Kevin Millwood signed a one year deal with the Phillies worth $11 million. Millwood is a well known and desired commodity because of his days in Atlanta, but is he really as good as some people think he is? Not really. He's above average but really nothing more than that. How about a little ERA+ to prove it:

..................ERA+
1997...........104
1998...........104
1999...........162
2000...........100
2001...........102
2002...........127
2003...........103
Career.........114

That is Millwood's career summed up with just one stat. Two good years and five where he was the definition of an average pitcher. His career record of 89 wins and 58 losses makes him look a little better but that was partially the result of being on a very good Braves team for all but one of those years. He is something of a workhorse and aside from his injury year of 2001 has made most every start since his rookie year.

Millwood is an above average pitcher who can be relied on to make it through a season without a major injury but is he worth $11 a year? Normally I would say that he is not, but given the circumstances I believe this is good for the Phillies. They need some stability on an otherwise young starting rotation that includes Randy Wolf and Vincente Padilla, for this Millwood is exactly the type of pitcher they need. He will not exceed their expectations but he should produce exactly as advertised. This is a short term contract as well. It's not like they will be paying him this type of money for the next few seasons, they only have to worry about him being on the books for 2004.


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