Jeremy Guthrie will start tomorrow night’s series opener in Chicago, bringing an unimpressive 7-12 record and a serviceable 3.97 ERA. That’s the same ERA as his counterpart, Severna Park’s Gavin Floyd, who gets a lot more love in baseball circles.
Guthrie is a veteran who currently figures into next season’s plans, though he’ll draw interest on the trade market. I know a few rival general managers wish they had pulled the trigger on a deal before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
Another veteran doesn’t figure into those plans, and his contract runs out after the season.
Should Kevin Millwood be allowed to finish it up here?
The easy answer is “no.” He’s 2-14 after yesterday’s 6-4 loss to the Rangers. His ERA is 5.63 (the league average is 4.11). The Orioles are almost certain to bring up Chris Tillman when rosters expand next month. They’re giving serious consideration to doing the same with left-hander Zach Britton. And manager Buck Showalter suggested not long ago that Rick VandenHurk could make a few starts after abandoning his long relief role - which is as necessary for survival on this club as an appendix.
Remove it and let him start.
You did the math. You know that’s too many starters. And we all know that Millwood still hasn’t beaten an American League club this season.
It’s not all his fault, which you also know if you’ve been paying attention. His offensive support is pathetic. He allowed one run over eight innings in his most recent start before yesterday and still took the loss, which is almost impossible to do. But he also has surrendered 38 runs in the first inning, so he’s often down before the Orioles have swung at their first pitch. He went through a stretch where he allowed 20 runs and 31 hits over three starts covering 16 2/3 innings.
He also turned in three straight quality starts before yesterday. And he’s never complained or pointed a finger at somebody else after another hard-luck defeat. He’s been the ultimate good soldier who embraced his role as mentor and set the example in spring training by being the first player on the field each morning for drills, and the first to arrive at each station. He’s a popular figure in the clubhouse, and with good reason.
It’s not as simple as just giving Millwood his walking papers and suggesting that he not let the door hit him on the way out.
It’s also not simple to provide innings for the young starters currently in the minors and the bullpen. Millwood is the guy who needs to go. It’s just a matter of how the Orioles choose to do it.
It’s believed that he’s cleared waivers, but that’s only half the battle. They actually need a trade partner. And they won’t ask for much, considering his numbers and contract status. We’ve got about six weeks left. It makes no sense to keep handing him the ball when you have the second-worst record in baseball and are evaluating starters for next season.
You pretty much give him away and wish him the best of luck.
Then you watch him win 16 games next season and slap your forehead.
I’ll close this entry with a trivia question that came to me courtesy of The Sun’s Dan Connolly, and it almost gave me a headache trying to figure out the answer.
Which active player has homered for the most major league teams?
Hint: He’s done it with 11 teams.
The active runner-up has homered with 10 clubs. Consider that one a bonus question.
As always, no fair looking it up.
I actually guessed the leader’s current team, but not the actual player. I have no idea how that happened.