Texas Rangers Trade Kevin Millwood, Sign Rich Harden

What a last couple of hours for the Texas Rangers.

In span of what seemed like five minutes, the Rangers traded RHP Kevin Millwood to the Baltimore Orioles for RHP Chris Ray and a Player To Be Named Later. Then, in order to replace Millwood, the Rangers signed RHP Rich Harden to a one-year, $7.5 million contract with an $11.5 million option for 2011.

First, lets talk about the Millwood trade to the Orioles. I really like this move for the Orioles.

Millwood is the pitcher the Orioles needed

Since Millwood is on the last year of his contract and the Rangers will kick in $3 million of Millwood’s $12 million salary in 2010, the Orioles essentially have Millwood on a one-year, $9 million deal.

That is very fair for what Millwood is going to give the Orioles in 2010.

Millwood’s performance over the last two years has been worth around $13 million to the Rangers. For the Orioles to pay Millwood $9 million for one year is not a bad deal at all.

Will Millwood be an “Ace” for the Orioles? Probably not. At the age of 35, I am not sure Millwood has that ability anymore.

But what Millwood does have and what the Orioles need is someone to eat innings for them in 2010. In 2009, only one Orioles’ starter (Jeremy Guthrie) pitched more than 124 innings.

Millwood should have no problem reaching the 170-180 inning mark in 2010.

All the Orioles gave up was a useless Chris Ray. Ray showed flashes of potential in 2006 saving 33 games and posting a 2.73 ERA in 66 innings for the Orioles, but he has not been the same pitcher since Tommy John surgery.

Last year, Ray hit rock bottom posting a 7.27 ERA and a .977 OPS Against in 43.1 innings. His fastball was flat and his control was sub-par at best.

Good deal for the Orioles.

Once the Rangers sent Millwood to the Orioles, they used the $9 million they saved and signed British Columbia native Rich Harden. Harden can thank Brad Penny for this deal.

Penny’s one-year, $7.5 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals set the market for “low-risk, high-reward” pitchers. Harden might be the riskiest of the “low-risk, high-reward” pitcher.

Harden is the biggest tease in baseball

Harden is the biggest tease in baseball. He is the supermodel who has an STD.

Harden is an unbelievable talent, but is always hurt. I mean he is ALWAYS HURT. He has only pitched more than 150 inning in his career once–and that was back in 2004.

I am not going to be one of those people who say “If Harden can stay healthy, then…” He is not going to stay healthy. It’s just not going to happen.

He is a five-inning pitcher at this point in his career, who might make 25 starts for the Rangers in 2010. Does that make the Rangers a better team in 2010? I am not so sure.

While the Rangers ultimately saved about $1.5 million on this deal in 2010, they might have gotten rid of the better pitcher. Millwood’s posted a 2.4 WAR and a $10.9 million value in 2009. Harden posted a 1.9 WAR and $8.2 million value in 2009.

With Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, and now Harden, the Rangers are building quite the injury prone team in Texas.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg


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