There's a lot of interest locally in Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira, and understandably so. Teixeira is a switch-hitter with a sweet stroke and solid power numbers, and is a Severna Park native. Teixeira has hinted broadly that he would seriously consider signing here as a free agent, when his contract with the Rangers runs out at the end of the 2008 season.
There's been speculation that the Rangers may deal Teixeira before July 31's non-waiver trade deadline to get value for him before he walks. But there's another player on the Texas' roster that might make more sense for the Orioles to consider getting in a deal.
Yesterday's Texas starter, Kevin Millwood, is admittedly having a lousy season, with a 5-7 record and 6.54 ERA, with hitters batting a robust .309 against him. He has two full years left on a contract that pays about $11 million a year, with a club option for a third year, and he is a client of noted pariah/agent Scott Boras.
With all that as prologue, Millwood, who has now won his last two starts, is only 33. He has made at least 25 starts eight times in his 10-plus year career and has pitched at least 200 innings five times, narrowly missing a sixth. Two years ago, he won the American League ERA crown and he was 16-12 last season with a lousy Rangers club. At the front of the rotation, he could not only eat up innings, but serve as a mentor to pitchers on the Orioles' staff, providing a living example of what it's like to work deep into ballgames. Millwood's salary is admittedly steep, but he likely wouldn't cost the Orioles much more than a couple of prospects, as the Rangers would be happy to dump his salary. And the Orioles, having drafted Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters in the recent First Year Player Draft may have found rapprochement with Boras, who represents Wieters and Teixeira.
Most importantly, Millwood, a North Carolina native who rose through the ranks at the back end of the Atlanta Braves' rotation, won 70 games in five full years under the tutelage of Leo Mazzone, the Orioles' current pitching coach. In theory, if anyone could turn Millwood around and make him productive, it would be Mazzone.
Again, it was just a thought.