In February, the Yankees offered a minor-league deal to Kevin Millwood, which got turned down because he was looking for a more guaranteed deal.

With the 2011 baseball season less than a week away, Millwood still didn’t have a contract, nor did he have any other suitors interested in his services.

So, according to SI and WFAN’s Jon Heyman, Millwood will sign with the Yankees for an incentive-laden minor league deal.

As of right now, it looks as if Ivan Nova will lock down the No. 4 rotation spot with either Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia winning the No. 5 spot and the other being a long reliever, which will mean the release of Sergio Mitre (about time!).

Millwood had a terrible 2010 with the Baltimore Orioles, pitching to a 4-16 record and a 5.10 ERA in 31 starts.

Before his time in Baltimore, he was a very serviceable starter for the Texas Rangers, posting a 48-46 record in four seasons in Arlington, his best being 2006 when he went 16-12 and 2009 when he went 13-10.

What Millwood can give the Yankees is durability and innings, plus valuable experience.

He did throw 190.2 innings while in Baltimore last season in the 31 starts and has never been an injury problem in his career.

Millwood just turned 36 this past December, so he is on the decline of his career and he’s not the same pitcher he once was when a member of the Atlanta Braves or the Philadelphia Phillies.

Millwood did throw a no-hitter back on April 27, 2003 against the San Francisco Giants when he was a member of the Phillies.

Millwood was also a part of the old Braves rotation that featured Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux that got to the World Series in 1999 and were defeated by Millwood’s new team, the Yankees.

But that was then for Millwood. Now, he’s just looking for an opportunity to pitch.

At first, it did shock me to see the Yankees still interested in Millwood after he rejected their initial offer, and with the great competition between Nova, Colon and Garcia for their spots in the rotation.

But, aside from Nova, you don’t know how long Colon or Garcia will hold up for the Yankees in 2011. Plus, there is the old saying “you can never have enough pitching.”

It will take some time for Millwood to gain his form, so he won’t begin the season in the majors with the Yankees, but if there is an injury somewhere, or if one of the other guys don’t live up to their promise from spring training, Millwood will likely take their place and get his chance.

Yankee fans shouldn’t be scared off by the 4-16 record or the 5.10 ERA because in fact, he was pitching in Baltimore last year, and most of that was before Buck Showalter’s turnaround of the team.

In fact, just look at his 2009 numbers in Texas: 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA, pitching a lot of his games in an unfriendly pitchers park. That still shows me that Millwood can be a very good pitcher.

If the Yankees can give Millwood run support and he can keep the ball in the park, there is no reason why he can’t have a decent season for the Yankees.

After missing out on Cliff Lee in December, the Yankees haven’t been panicking. They’ve more or less been bargain hunting in the free-agent pool.

A lot of people thought Yankees GM Brian Cashman was out of his mind when they signed Bartolo Colon, and it looks as if he could win the fifth starter job because of his outstanding pitching in the spring.

The same was said about Garcia, and he too might be on the roster taking over for Mitre as the long reliever.

Now add in an experienced vet like Millwood, who if he can stay healthy, can eat up innings and go deep into games for the Yankees and take the pressure off the bullpen.

This should turn out to be a decent signing, as long as Millwood doesn’t post another 4-16 record or 5.10 ERA. Anywhere between 10-12 wins and a 3.50-4.00 ERA would do just fine. 

It remains to be seen if the Yankees will still look to add more starting pitching as the season goes along. But for now, it looks like they are ready to go into the season with the arms they have now.

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