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View Full Version : Two years ago today



Tom Servo
12-27-2006, 11:26 AM
http://thepost.baker.ohiou.edu/layout/images/2006/05/17/S6_1.jpg

News broke that Dan O'Brien and Carl Lindner took $25.5 million and flushed it down the toilet. :bash:


CINCINNATI -- The Yankees came calling on Eric Milton, willing to peel some bills out of their bulging money clip. The big-budget Red Sox and Dodgers also were interested in adding the left-hander to their playoff-caliber clubs.

In the end, he made a surprising choice: the late-arriving, small-market Cincinnati Reds.

Milton agreed to a $25.5 million, three-year deal Monday with a team that was late into the bidding and seemed an unlikely match for a pitcher who yearns to get back to the playoffs.

"I wouldn't be sitting here today if I didn't think we have a real chance of winning," Milton said.

The Reds think so, too, and were willing to structure his contract so he can leave if they don't win during his first two seasons. Milton got a $4 million signing bonus and base salaries of $4 million in 2005, $8.5 million in 2006 and $9 million in 2007, matching the total value of Matt Clement's deal with Boston.

After the 2006 season, Milton has the option of staying for the final year of the deal or going somewhere else.

"I want to be on a winner," Milton said. "That was a big key for me going into this whole free agent thing. I think this team is headed in the right direction now, and hopefully in the next couple of years we'll keep improving."

The Reds have a long way to go before they're a contender in the NL Central with the Cardinals, Astros and Cubs, but their moves in the past two weeks should make them much more competitive.

The Reds have gone four straight years without a winning season, their longest such stretch since 1945-55. They lost 93 games in 2003, their first season at Great American Ball Park, and cannibalized the team during a midseason trading spree to save money.

They were a little better last season, going 76-86 despite injuries that cost them Ken Griffey Jr., Austin Kearns and Sean Casey. The biggest problem was the pitching staff, which by most measures was the worst in franchise history. The Reds allowed a club-record 907 runs -- most in the majors -- and 236 homers, only three shy of the NL record.

Milton, 29, was Philadelphia's most consistent starter last season, going 14-6 with a 4.75 ERA. The Phillies decided not to offer salary arbitration to Milton, who made $9 million last season, and Kevin Millwood.

The Reds were one of the latecomers in talks with Milton, who was contacted by about six teams.

"I was very surprised," Milton said. "They had not been very active in the past."

Once they decided to go after him, they did it all-out. Casey, closer Danny Graves and starter Paul Wilson called Milton, and manager Dave Miley offered to drive down to his home in Florida for lunch.

"Things changed from week to week," Milton said. "New teams came up, and teams dropped out and went in different directions. Once they got into the mix, they were pretty relentless. It just made me feel really wanted, that's for sure."

Milton gives the Reds a proven left-hander in a rotation that desperately needed one. He went 71-57 with a 4.76 ERA in 200 appearances with Minnesota and Philadelphia, made the AL All-Star team in 2001, and went 1-0 with a 1.65 ERA with the Twins in the 2002 and 2003 playoffs.

Milton also pitched the fifth no-hitter in Twins' history on Sept. 11, 1999, striking out a career-high 13 Angels.

The Reds went into the offseason with a lot of holes to fill, especially on the pitching staff. Milton waited to see if they were serious about improving.

They kept Wilson, their top starter, by offering a two-year, $8.2 million deal, acquired right-handed starter Ramon Ortiz from Anaheim, and upgraded the bullpen with David Weathers, Ben Weber and Kent Mercker. They also filled their vacancy at third base by signing Joe Randa to a one-year, $2.15 million deal.

At that point, the Reds felt good about their chances of getting Milton, who wanted to play near the East Coast to be close to his Florida home. He was convinced.

"He did his homework," general manager Dan O'Brien said. "He had a pretty good idea about who and what we were all about. So with that in mind, we felt very good about our chances. We were very aggressive in our approach and pursuit."

Degenerate39
12-27-2006, 12:06 PM
A sad day in Cincinnati history

Johnny Footstool
12-27-2006, 12:06 PM
I really wanted the Reds to get Clement.

He was actually pitching pretty well for Boston prior to that awful face-smashing line drive. He hasn't been the same since then.

gonelong
12-27-2006, 01:00 PM
What was the reason for a $4M bonus with this contract? Why not a $8M, $8.5M, then $9M salary?

They must have had $4M not yet spent under that years budget and wanted to get it spent that calendar year?

GL

RichRed
12-27-2006, 01:08 PM
None of that ever happened, you hear me? Milton did NOT sign with the Reds. He went to the Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda took him under his wing, after which Milton promptly threw out an elbow eating some linguine with clam sauce, and was never heard from again.

Glad we got that straight.

redsfan30
12-27-2006, 01:09 PM
Result aside, that was a fun day. We had recieved tips a few days earlier that something was going to be announced that Monday and the choices seemed to be Milton, Millwood, Odalis Perez or Matt Clement.

Sean_CaseyRules
12-27-2006, 01:18 PM
Well I for one think this will be one of those, "Lightning In A Bottle" years for Milton and he will look like an All-Star.

KronoRed
12-27-2006, 01:40 PM
Well I for one think this will be one of those, "Lightning In A Bottle" years for Milton and he will look like an All-Star.

...and we'll give him a 5 year extension :devil:

flyer85
12-27-2006, 01:46 PM
thanks, I needed a punch in the head and a kick to the nuts.

RichRed
12-27-2006, 01:53 PM
Well I for one think this will be one of those, "Lightning In A Bottle" years for Milton and he will look like an All-Star.

"Lightning in a Bottle" always gives me a hangover. Which is perfect because it's similar to how I feel when I think of that contract.

redsfan30
12-27-2006, 01:59 PM
This is a contract year for Milton, so it's not out of the question to see him have a good season.

The key if that happens is not to get blinded and offer him a new deal.

Will M
12-27-2006, 02:43 PM
This is a contract year for Milton, so it's not out of the question to see him have a good season.

The key if that happens is not to get blinded and offer him a new deal.

Same thing for Lohse.

registerthis
12-27-2006, 02:48 PM
Perhaps the Reds should simply make a habit of obtaining only pitchers in their contract year. Think of the possibilities.

George Anderson
12-27-2006, 02:53 PM
Perhaps the Reds should simply make a habit of obtaining only pitchers in their contract year. Think of the possibilities.

I think for most players contract years do matter, but in Miltons case he is going to suck no matter if its his contract year or not.

Red Leader
12-27-2006, 02:55 PM
So let me get this straight. Eric Milton was so concerned about playing for a contending team that he had an opt out clause put into his contract that would allow him to void the deal after 2 years if the team that signed him (Cincinnati) wasn't in contention?

Ok, first. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Second. Why didn't you opt out of your contract Mr. Milton? The Reds have not won or been contenders in either of the first two years you have been on the team and they most likely won't be contenders next year. If winning was so important to you that you had to have that clause put into your contract, why are you still here?

reds44
12-27-2006, 03:00 PM
At least he's gone after this year.

registerthis
12-27-2006, 03:09 PM
Second. Why didn't you opt out of your contract Mr. Milton? The Reds have not won or been contenders in either of the first two years you have been on the team and they most likely won't be contenders next year. If winning was so important to you that you had to have that clause put into your contract, why are you still here?

Hey, they won 80 times last year. That's probably more than enough to keep Milton around counting his $9 million.

Redsland
12-27-2006, 05:20 PM
I don't think it's possible to evaluate this signing yet.

You have to give it more time and see what happens.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Ron Madden
12-27-2006, 06:07 PM
I don't think it's possible to evaluate this signing yet.

You have to give it more time and see what happens.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

KronoRed
12-27-2006, 06:27 PM
I don't think it's possible to evaluate this signing yet.

You have to give it more time and see what happens.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Indeed, it could go from disaster to outright catastrophe.

Highlifeman21
12-27-2006, 07:19 PM
So let me get this straight. Eric Milton was so concerned about playing for a contending team that he had an opt out clause put into his contract that would allow him to void the deal after 2 years if the team that signed him (Cincinnati) wasn't in contention?

Ok, first. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Second. Why didn't you opt out of your contract Mr. Milton? The Reds have not won or been contenders in either of the first two years you have been on the team and they most likely won't be contenders next year. If winning was so important to you that you had to have that clause put into your contract, why are you still here?


When you realize you suck and are getting paid guaranteed money to suck, the money really starts to talk, and the W/L column is much more of an afterthought.

Newman4
12-27-2006, 08:49 PM
I always grit my teeth when people say : "yeah, but 9 million is a bargain in today's free agent market" :bang: