What To Do About Kevin MillwoodPosted: April 28, 2011
This coming Sunday is somewhat of a big day for the Yankees. It is the day in which Kevin Millwood can opt out of his current minor league contract. The team has to decide whether they will let him opt out, bring him up to pitch in the bullpen, or bring him up and let him start. So, what should they do?
Well, I’m not really sure what they can do. Millwood was picked up to add some depth to the Yanks starting pitching situation and he has done just that. Although moving him to the pen would seem like a quick fix, his stuff isn’t a great fit for that role. However, I’m not sure who you would take out of the rotation.
CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett will not be taken out because they are being paid a lot of money and are both pitching very well. And as surprising as it has been, the Yankees have found diamonds in the rough starting pitching market with Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon for the time being at least. That leaves just Ivan Nova.
Nova has definitely been the most inconsistent of all of the Yankee starters. He has pitched to a 5.82 ERA, a 3.73 FIP, a 1.62 WHIP, and a 1.09 K/BB ratio. These numbers are not very good, but he has shown that he can pitch very well. In his last start he pitched into the seventh inning of a game for the first time in his career. This is a huge step for him because his biggest problem throughout his half-season in the Majors has been getting through the opposing lineup more than once.
Even if Nova continues his inconsistent trends, I would still keep him in the starting rotation. The reason for this is that he is still very young and he needs to endure his growing pains. The Yanks have not done a great job in their recent history of breaking starting pitching prospects into the Majors. The only way for him to become better is to pitch. They need to show him that they trust him. It also diminishes any value he will have during the trading season, which the Bombers will surely want to participate in.
Couple this with the fact that scouts are not impressed with Millwood, and that makes me want Nova to stay even more. ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports the following:
Scouts covering the Yankees system continue to report that Millwood “doesn’t look very good,” despite a 2-0 record and 1.29 ERA in two minor league starts. His fastball has averaged 85 miles per hour. His strikeout-walk ratio is just 6-to-5 in 14 innings. And it’s tough to argue he’s an upgrade on either Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon — for now.
Unfortunately for my theory, the Bombers philosophy has always been to win now and Nova is the weakest link. Millwood, despite the scouts reports, has been pitching very well down in the Minors and he is also a veteran who is hungry to win. Each will have one more start before a decision has to be made. I think that unless Millwood really sparkles again and Nova gets completely bombed, things will stay the same.