Yesterday we heard that the Yankees went to UC Irvine to watch Kevin Millwood pitch from Joel Sherman of the NY Post. Sherman didn’t have much more information than that and he also made it sound like one of a few teams to watch Millwood.
As it turns out, the Yankees were the only team on hand to watch Millwood yesterday and they clocked him at just 85 mph. That’s important because we know that there really isn’t a lot of other interested parties for Millwoods services. The velocity is a concern, but it’s early and Millwood hasn’t been to spring training so that may explain at least some of that.
The thing is though, the two sides may be no closer to a deal than they were before spring training started. Millwood wants a guaranteed major league deal and the Yankees don’t want to give it to him. To attach a dollar figure to it, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reported that Millwood wants $4 million and that the Yankees were not willing to go that high, but were willing to offer a seven-figure deal.
So essentially nothing has changed. Millwood has always wanted about $4 million on a guaranteed deal and the Yankees would prefer something like they gave to Freddy Garcia, a non-gauranteed minor league deal with incentives that could bring it to about $1-$2 million.
It’s hard to say if either side will give in to the other one’s demands, but the Yankees do have options. Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Sergio Mitre, and Ivan Nova are battling for two spots. It’s possible that all four of those pitchers are at least as good as Millwood although Millwood may be a good bet to reach 200 innings. On the other hand, Millwood doesn’t have a lot of options. Right now it seems to be join the Yankees on a minor league deal or retire.
We’ll see over the next couple of weeks if one side gives in.