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12/27/05 7:33 PM ET

Millwood, Rangers reach deal

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have found the ace of their revamped rotation.

Baseball sources have confirmed that free agent pitcher Kevin Millwood has agreed to a five-year deal with the Rangers for an annual salary between $11 million and $12 million per season. The contract calls for a vesting option for a fifth year based on performance criteria.

The club has scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to announce the deal. The two sides agreed to terms on Christmas Eve, Millwood's 31st birthday.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels could not be reached for comment Monday but has repeatedly said acquiring pitching either through trade or via the free agent market has been the club's top priority this winter.

"Our internal discussions, from Day 1, were to do what it took to acquire a front-line pitcher," Daniels said earlier this month. "That was our top priority and still is."

Mission could be accomplished.

Last season, Millwood went 9-11 for the Indians, leading the American League with a 2.86 ERA. An All-Star in 1999, Millwood won at least 17 games in three of five seasons while with the Atlanta Braves in 1998-2002.

For his career, Millwood is 107-75 with a 3.76 ERA.

He joins a rotation that will feature the newly acquired Adam Eaton and Vicente Padilla. Young right-handed pitchers Kameron Loe and Juan Dominguez are also candidates for the rotation.

Earlier in the winter, the Rangers nearly acquired right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett from the Florida Marlins in exchange for a package of players that included Hank Blalock. Beckett was eventually traded to the Red Sox. The Rangers also made an offer to free agent right-hander Matt Morris, but he declined and signed with the San Francisco Giants.

In addition to Dominguez and Loe, R.A. Dickey, Joaquin Benoit, Josh Rupe, C.J. Wilson and Edison Volquez are among the group of pitchers that will compete for the final two spots in the rotation.

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.