The Mariners apparently will sign 15-year veteran Kevin Millwood to a minor league contract and invite the 37-year-old right-hander to spring training. When the Mariners officially announce the signing, expected this week, it will mark the 14th player the club has signed to a minor league contract this winter.
Unlike the others signed to minor league deals, such as RHP Aaron Heilman Jan. 10, Millwood stands a decent chance of making the major league rotation coming out of spring training, probably as the No. 4 starter behind No. 1 Felix Hernandez, No. 2 Jason Vargas, No. 3 Hisashi Iwakuma and ahead of (maybe) No. 5 Hector Noesi.
An innings eater, Millwood pitched 15 seasons for Atlanta (1997-02), Philadelphia (2003-04), Cleveland (2005), Texas (2006-09), Baltimore (2010) and Colorado (2011). He has a career record of 163-140 with a 4.10 ERA. For the Rockies last season, Millwood went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in nine appearances, all starts.
Millwood has twice won 18 games, with Atlanta in 1999 (18-7, 2.68 ERA) and again with the Braves in 2002 (18-8, 3.24). He led the American League in ERA in 2005 (2.86), and the National League in starts (35) in 2000. Millwood made his only All-Star appearance in 1999.
Millwood represents a nice, low-cost addition to the Mariners, who have yet to make a move that advances the club’s talent base in any significant way. While the Mariners acquired Jesus Montero from the Yankees, they did so by sacrificing starting pitcher Michael Pineda.
Mariners Offseason News/Transactions
- Nov. 1: Chris Gwynn named the organizations Director of Player Development with the responsibility of overseeing all aspects of the Mariners minor league system.
- Nov. 2: Outrighted INF Luis Rodriguez, who opted to become a free agent (Rodriguez appeared in 44 games for the Mariners in 2011).
- Nov. 3: Outrighted LHP Anthony Vasquez to AAA Tacoma. Vasquez, 25, made seven starts for the Mariners in 2011, going 1-6 with an 8.90 ERA (29 ER, 29.1 IP).
- Nov. 18: Added OF Chih-Hsien Chiang, INF Francisco Martinez and INF Carlos Triunfel to the 40-man roster.
- Nov. 28: Named infielder/outfielder Vinnie Catricala (High Desert/Jackson) Minor League Player of the Year, RHP Taijuan Walker (Clinton) Pitcher of the Year and Arizona League trainer Randy Roetter Player Development Staff Member of the Year.
- Dec. 2: Announced the 2012 minor league coaching staff: Returning managers Daren Brown (Tacoma), Jim Pankovits (Jackson) and Eddie Menchaca (Clinton); Pedro Grifol, the Mariners director of minor league operations in 2011, will manage High Desert; Jose Moreno will manage Pulaski after spending last season with High Desert; Rob Mummau will take over as manager for Everett; a Mike Kinkade will manage the Mariners in the Arizona League after coaching in Everett last season.
- Dec. 12: RHP Dan Cortes and C Chris Gimenez were not offered 2012 contracts.
- Dec. 13: Signed 11 players to minor league contracts for the 2012 season, including OF Darren Ford, RHP Matt Fox, LHP Steve Garrison, RHP Jarrett Grube, LHP Sean Henn, RHP Josh Kinney, RHP Jeff Marquez, RHP Scott Patterson, C Guillermo Quiroz, INF Luis Rodriguez and LHP Phillippe Valiquette.
- Jan. 30: Signed LHP George Sherrill, who previously pitched for the club from 2004-07, to a one-year contract.
- Jan. 3: Hired Jeff Pentland as hitting coach of the Tacoma Rainiers.
- Jan. 5: Signed Japanese right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as a free agent.
- Jan. 10: Signed right-handed pitcher Aaron Heilman to a minor league contract with an invite to major league spring training.
- Jan. 11: Signed Japanese infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.
- Jan. 14: Traded RHP Michael Pineda and pitching prospect Jose Campas to the New York Yankees in exchange for C Jeseus Montero and Hector Noesi.
- Jan. 17: Signed RHPs Brandon League and Shawn Kelley and LHP Jason Vargas to one year contracts; announced that former Mariners Randy Johnson (1989-98) and Dan Wilson (1994-05) would be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame July 28 at Safeco Field.
- Jan. 17: Signed LHP Oliver Perez to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.