Rangers trade Millwood to O's, agree with Harden

BY foxsports • December 16, 2009

The Texas Rangers traded pitcher Kevin Millwood and $3 million to Baltimore for reliever Chris Ray on Wednesday night, then reached a deal to add Rich Harden to their rotation.

Texas also got a player to be named from the Orioles in a swap where money was a major factor.

Millwood is owed $12 million next season in the final year of his contract, a salary he guaranteed himself by reaching 180 innings this year for Texas.

The Rangers had cash flow problems this year, with Major League Baseball stepping in to provide assistance, and owner Tom Hicks is trying to sell the team.

Boosted by its pitching, Texas stayed in playoff contention until late in the season. The last-place Orioles, meanwhile, went 64-98 in their 12th straight losing season.

Baltimore is counting on Millwood's help on and off the field.

``We're satisfied he's going to be just the kind of guy we need to show our young guys the way,'' Orioles president Andy MacPhail said.

``Not just the innings we think he's going to eat,'' he said, but ``what it takes to be a successful major league pitcher.''

The Rangers quickly filled Millwood's spot, reaching a preliminary agreement with Harden on a one-year contract that guarantees him $7.5 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet final.

Harden went 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA for the Chicago Cubs last season. The 28-year-old righty is 50-29 with a 3.39 ERA in seven major league seasons.

Harden, however, has been on the disabled list seven times. He asked the Cubs to shut him down late last season because of arm fatigue.

Millwood, meanwhile, has been one of baseball's most durable starters.

He was 13-10 with three complete games last season. His 3.67 ERA was eighth-best among AL starters - in fact, it was the lowest by a Texas pitcher who qualified for the ERA title since 1997.

Millwood turns 35 in two weeks and has made at least 25 starts in each of the last eight years. The right-hander was the Rangers' opening-day starter in all four years with the team.

An All-Star with Atlanta in 1999, Millwood led the AL in ERA with Cleveland in 2005. He is 155-121 with a 4.02 ERA in 13 seasons.

Ray, 28 next month, was 0-4 with a 7.27 ERA in 46 games. He was one of the Orioles' bright spots when he posted a career-high 33 saves in 2006, but needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow the next year.

Ray made nine appearances on injury rehab in 2008 and last year was his first full season since the transplant surgery. He showed improvement in the second half with a 4.88 ERA in his final 26 games.


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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