Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Chris Ray, 2009 Topps Gold #542
This photo of Chris Ray makes it look as if he's turning his back on us, preparing to make his exit. That's only appropriate, since he is now a Texas Ranger. Today, the Orioles made their first significant move of the offseason by trading Ray for veteran starting pitcher Kevin Millwood and $3 million (to defray the costs of his $12 million salary).
I wasn't crazy about Millwood when I first heard that the O's wanted him, but I've talked myself into him pretty quickly. The price was right: as good as Ray once was, relief pitchers are pretty replaceable - particularly ones with a Tommy John surgery and a 7.27 ERA in 2009. $9 million is still pretty steep, but the O's payroll is pretty low otherwise. Besides, the Orioles always need pitching. Even with their parcel of talented young pitchers, they're not completely stocked. A guy who makes 30 starts every year like clockwork is a valuable commodity, and by all accounts he's a model citizen who is willing and able to talk pitching with his less experienced teammates. By recent O's standards, a 4.02 career ERA is like a Cy Young Award. And even though his ERA has been high for most of his time in Texas, Baltimore's ballpark is actually less hitter-friendly. I don't think he's a panacea, but he'll be a solid addition to the team.
Oh, and he's not Adam Eaton.
Anyway, so long Chris Ray. I wish you nothing but good luck and good health, even if you imploded any time you came within sniffing distance of pinstripes. Welcome to Charm City, Kevin Millwood. Even if you might only be here for a year or less, I hope I have ample reason to root for you. It's nice to have a Kevin on the team again.