The first priority for the Baltimore Orioles going into the off-season was finding a veteran starting pitcher. It took merely a week, and Andy MacPhail found his guy. During the Winter Meetings, MacPhail dealt reliever Chris Ray and Ben Snyder to the Texas Rangers for Kevin Millwood and $3 million dollars.
Some may ask what MacPhail sees in Millwood, and as too why the O's need him. Well, the O's were headed into the 2010 baseball season with a very youthful pitching staff, including Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, two former top prospects. Millwood not only delievers that expierence the staff has lacked in recent years, but also a solid innings eater that will take away the wear and tear of a young bullpen. Millwood also becomes the teachers in a situation where he was once a student. A dozen-plus years ago, Millwood grew up with the Braves in a rotation that was anchored with the names of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.
The lessons he once learned with them he will now carry over to guys named Matusz, Tillman, and Bergeson. Even if Millwood has an unsuccessful year in the stat lines, MacPhail didn't truely give up much for him. MacPhail dealt away Chris Ray, who was a fan favorite here in Baltimore for a few years, surfacing from the minors as the potential future closer. In 2006, Ray posted 33 saves in 38 chances, but before too long his career went downhill on a direct slant. He went through Tommy John surgery and in 2009 made his official return, however he ran into some trouble, posting a 7.24 ERA in 46 appearances.
All in all, MacPhail didn't get Millwood just for the stats. It's what lies beyond the boundary of stat and in the area of teaching. Millwood is the guy that MacPhail knew the O's needed, and he got his guy much like he has most of his career as the O's GM. With Millwood anchoring the staff, the potential for Tillman and Matusz will go up, as well as the potential for many happy Orioles fans all across the country.