Bonderman, Millwood remain on Tribe's radar
Indians hoping to add veteran starter to mentor youthful rotation
CLEVELAND -- The Indians' search for veteran rotation help continues, and the ballclub is known to have had recent contract discussions with free-agent right-handers Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood.
A Major League source indicated Saturday that Cleveland doesn't anticipate adding two starters to the mix and the club is not even sure it will head into camp with a new addition to the staff. So it might be down to Bonderman or Millwood, but not both for the Indians.
Indians general manager Chris Antonetti has maintained throughout the offseason that the team has interest in adding a pitcher capable of providing innings and veteran leadership for the Tribe's young rotation. While a Minor League contract is preferable, the Indians have not ruled out signing a pitcher to a big league deal.
Antonetti declined comment on Saturday.
As recently as Tuesday, it was learned that the Indians were in talks with Bonderman and it was believed that the sides were nearing an agreement. The Indians have been silent on the issue, making it appear as though the talks may have hit a snag in recent days. It is not immediately known if Bonderman underwent a physical with the club.
The Indians are surely keeping alternatives in mind, though.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported via Twitter on Saturday morning that the Indians were "making progress" in contract talks with the 36-year-old Millwood. It was recently reported that Millwood was seeking a deal in the $4-5 million range, which would require approval from Indians CEO Paul Dolan.
Cleveland is more than familiar with Millwood, who pitched for the Tribe in 2005 and went 9-11 with a league-best 2.86 ERA over 30 starts, finishing sixth in balloting for the American League Cy Young Award. Millwood's numbers dipped to 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA over 31 starts with Baltimore last season.
One thing Millwood does bring is innings. Dating back to 1998, the right-hander has averaged 189 innings over 13 seasons spent with the Braves, Phillies, Indians, Rangers and Orioles. The Yankees have also reportedly been interested in the Scott Boras client.
Bonderman, who appeared in just 20 games between 2008-09 due to injury woes, turned in a decent comeback campaign in 2010. The right-hander went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA over 30 games (29 starts) -- more importantly logging 171 innings. It was an admirable showing after missing time with a right shoulder issue the year before.
As things stand, the Indians' rotation projects to include Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson and Mitch Talbot, with Carlos Carrasco having the edge for a fourth spot on the staff. Candidates for the vacant fifth job include Jeanmar Gomez, Josh Tomlin, David Huff, Anthony Reyes, Zach McAllister and Alex White, among others.