Orioles outfielder/designated hitter Luke Scott - or maybe it should be the other way around, and I don’t mean Scott Luke - labeled the Kevin Millwood acquisition at the Winter Meetings as being a “great trade, if you ask me.”
Scott also posed his own question. Then he answered it.
“Does it fix our problems? No.”
He’s a virtual one-man interview.
“We need more than just one starter,” he said. “We need a dominant No. 1 if we want to compete in the AL East.”
He also added, “At least a dominant No. 1,” meaning it will likely take more than that to keep up with the Yankees and Red Sox, but we weren’t discussing dominant cleanup hitters or closers.
“We have a good group of young guys that have come up and done a great job. That’s true,” he said. “But it helps whenever you can get a solid No. 1 to put everyone down a slot, so you don’t have Chris Tillman going against CC Sabathia.
“Tillman is a great talent with tremendous upside, but you’re talking about a Cy Young winner. And if you play your cards that way as a team, you’re running a Mustang up against a Porsche 911. Your Mustang is still a good car, a fast car, but it’s going to lose every race. You just don’t have the horses.”
The Orioles were more along the lines of a ‘97 Cavalier this year, but point taken.
We both conceded that John Lackey isn’t coming here, and how many teams have a legitimate No. 1 at the top of their rotation? Baseball isn’t overflowing with them.
Millwood should ease some of the burden on the pitchers behind him, and hopefully the bullpen, by working deep into games and giving the Orioles a chance to win on most nights. (It’s not just about eating up innings. They need to be quality ones). He would be slotted lower on a better team, but at least he’s a more legitimate matchup against the aces on other staffs. And perhaps soon, a member of the “cavalry” will emerge as that true No. 1.
Scott offered up an idea that would actually put someone like Tillman against the CCs of the world.
“In my opinion, you take your No. 5 starter and match him up against their Cy Young guys,” he said. “You want to play the odds. If you catch him on a bad day and score a ton of runs, great, but more times than not, the guy’s going to shove. Why waste your bullets when their guy has a more high-powered rifle than you do?
“Sometimes, you’ve got to concede the advantages. And the next two games give you a greater advantage to win them. You’ll be in a better position to win.”