Later today, Kevin Millwood will make his final start of the 2010 season against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. It will almost certainly be his final appearance as an Oriole as the veteran right-hander is a free agent after the season and the club isn't expected to resign him.
However, Millwood said yesterday that it will not be the final start of his accomplished career.
"The only thing I'm certain of right now is that I want to play again next year," said the 35-year-old who has pitched in 413 games over 14 big league season, and logged 2,498 innings. "I'm just going to go in the offseason thinking about preparing for next season."
Millwood, who was acquired by the Orioles from the Texas Rangers last December in exchange for reliever Chris Ray, admitted that this has been "as tough" as any season of his career. He enters tonight's start with a 3-16 record and a 5.29 ERA. He currently leads the majors in losses and is second in the American League to Tampa Bay's James Shields in earned runs (108) and home runs (30) allowed, and fourth in A.L. in hits allowed (221).
The numbers will undoubtedly scare some teams away this offseason, but Millwood said that he's not worried about what kind of market there will be for him, and he has no geographical or league preference on where he wants to play next.
"I'm not really concerned about it," he said. "It's not a situation going into the offseason where I feel like I need to get a big contract or make a ton of money. It's just a situation where I definitely want to play. My biggest [thing] is just wanting to go to a contending team."
Asked if there was any chance that he could return to the Orioles, who are interested in adding a veteran pitcher this offseason to pair with Jeremy Guthrie, Millwood said, "Right now, I wouldn't count anybody out for next year. … We have a lot of great guys here and a lot of good players. I think the clubhouse is in a good way right now. Everybody pretty much gets along and pulls for each other. The experience in that regard has been really good.
"I think it's definitely looking better [for the Orioles]. The biggest thing was making sure that there is a manager here that everybody knows is going to be here. Everybody knows that Buck [Showalter] is going to be here for the next three or four years or whatever [his contract] was. I think having a little stability is key."