Millwood Accepts Arbitration to Return to Phillies

Kevin Millwood apparently didn't feel that any of those supposed multi-year offers that his agent always talked about were very good. Instead of signing somewhere long-term, Millwood accepted the Phillies offer of salary arbitration, meaning that he is immediately back on the roster. The decision gives the Phillies one of the deepest rotations in baseball.

Whenever Scott Boras talked about Kevin Millwood, he talked about multi-year offers from a "number" of teams that were interested in Millwood. He never mentioned any of the teams and while the Braves and Mets were rumored to be interested in Millwood neither team admitted to making any official offers to the right-hander. You have to believe that if Millwood had other offers, they weren't very good because he turned them all down for a one-year arbitration offer from the Phillies.

Accepting arbitration means that Millwood is considered signed by the Phillies and will get a one year deal, the value of which will be decided by an arbitrator. It's also possible that the two sides could agree on a dollar figure for the one year deal rather than go to arbitration. It's also not out of the question that the two sides could negotiate a long-term deal that would keep Millwood in Philadelphia past the 2004 season. The most likely scenario though is for the Phillies and Millwood to go to arbitration to decide on the dollar figure for 2004.

Millwood's return gives the Phillies one of the deepest rotations in baseball. Randy Wolf, Vicente Padilla and Brett Myers will team with Millwood as the focal point of the 2003 rotation returns. Recently acquired Eric Milton will join the rotation to give the Phillies one of the deepest rotations in baseball. The move also puts Amaury Telemaco, Josh Hancock and Ryan Madson out of the competition for the fifth spot in the rotation and into a competition for a bullpen spot.

Manager Larry Bowa has said that if Millwood returned, he would likely be his opening day pitcher. The rotation figures to have Wolf, Padilla, Milton and Myers follow Millwood. Bowa had also said that if Millwood returned he would let all of the starters make their early season starts, rather than skip the fifth spot in the rotation when off days allowed. If all of that holds true, Randy Wolf would be the likely starter for the opening game at Citizens Bank Park.

Besides Millwood, the Phillies also have arbitration cases with Valerio de los Santos, Ricky Ledee, Vicente Padilla, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins.

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