Once the focus of spring training shifts from weighing all the players to watching them play baseball — in games, against other teams — the Yankees will start figuring out which two men will fill out their rotation. And there will be no shortage of candidates — perhaps as many as eight — ranging from returning arms like Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre to the likes of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, each past their prime and in camp on low-risk minor-league contracts. And while they’re long shots to open the season in the rotation, four minor-leaguers — a group that doesn’t include top pitching prospects Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos, both of whom are set to start the season in AA — are thought to be ready to pitch in the big leagues, as well.
The goal, as has been apparent for weeks, is to throw everything they can at the wall and hope something — well, two things, really — will stick. Being spurned by a big-name free agent and seeing a reliable veteran hang up his spikes can really limit a team’s options, apparently. So with this strategy established — and with so many question marks surrounding the pitchers already in the mix — it’s no surprise that the Yankees reportedly have interest in Kevin Millwood, as well.
Millwood, who turned 36 in December, went 4–16 with a 5.10 ERA in 190 innings with the Orioles last year, and as of today, remains a free agent. But he’d seem to fit the Yankees criteria for a rotation candidate: He is a starting pitcher, and he has a pulse. The problem, though, is that unlike Garcia and Colon, who agreed to minor-league contracts at very little risk to the Yankees, Millwood may want a more substantial contract. (He made $10 million last year, the final season of a five-year, $60 million contract.) The Yankees’ interest, reportedly, is “strong.” But considering that everything else they’re throwing at that proverbial wall will cost them very little money, how strong it is will depend on exactly what kind of money Millwood — who’s been working out in California — is seeking.
As many as eight Yankees pitchers could vie for two open rotation spots [Star-Ledger]
Yankees consider Millwood for rotation [NYP]