Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kevin Millar IS the Weakest Link

The Cubs made it official today.  They believe that Chad Tracy's relative youth (30 years old as opposed to Millar being 38), left-handedness (here we go with THAT again), and defensive versatility (DeRosa-like) is more valuable to the team than Kevin Millar's old, slow, bad-joke-making ass.

Bruce Miles ran down the moves today in his blog:

Millar was given his release. Sam Fuld and Micah Hoffpauir were optioned to Class AAA Iowa and nonroster catcher Chris Robinson was assigned to minor-league camp. The roster:

Catchers: Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill

Infielders: Derrek Lee, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez, Chad Tracy

Outfielders: Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome, Xavier Nady, Tyler Colvin

Starting pitchers: Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny

Relievers: Carlos Marmol, John Grabow, Esmailin Caridad, Justin Berg, Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall and James Russell

The Cubs keeping Chad Tracy over Millar for the "last" spot on the bench doesn't necessarily speak volumes about what the Cubs really think about Millar's realistic contributions to the team, but the fact that they also chose Jeff Samardzija's flowing locks and Ol' One-Armed Xavier Nady over Millar does.

If the Cubs REALLY thought that Kevin Millar could help the team on the field, one of those two guys would not be on the Cubs Opening Day roster.  Samardzija is the twelfth pitcher and a team really only needs eleven pitchers early on in the season because of all the off days.  If the Cubs had felt Millar would be useful, there is no reason why Samardzija had to make the team out of camp.

But let's say that Samardzija DID have to make the team because Hendry is going to shove that one-pitch wonder down our throats simply because he handed the kid eight figures to concentrate on throwing a baseball poorly.  Is there any reason why Xavier Nady can't start out on the disabled list?  As of right now, the man would come in last in a throwing contest with Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, and any random fourth grader.  He is, for all intents and purposes, the last player on the bench because he has the least use on a team that doesn't play in a league with the DH rule.

Again, if the Cubs really wanted to keep Kevin Millar and his rootin' tootin' good clubhouse chemistry around, they could have easily put Nady on the DL for 15 days and made a decision about the roster again two weeks into the season.

My hope is that Millar never really had a chance to make the Cubs team.  My hope is that the front office was savvy enough to bring in a dope like that to give the beat reporters something to write about during the boring month and a half of Spring Training that did not involve Zambrano's temper, Lou's contract status, Lee and Ramirez's contract status, Silva's weight problem and sketchy history, Soriano's knee, Soto's weight, Lilly's recovery, Marmol's erratic performances, and any of the other scary questions they could have written about exhaustively.

Instead, they all wrote primarily about team chemistry and what a joy the clubhouse is without a certain someone who is getting ejected for a team in the Pacific Northwest now.  Those other topics were mentioned, but none ever really gained any traction.  If that was intentional, whoever pitched that at the brainstorming session needs to get a bonus check and a raise.

Good luck, Kevin.  Perhaps you can live in an RV outside of Wrigley and make dick jokes with the players as they walk from the parking lot to the locker room.


Baseball Fan 41 said...

It is OK that you are glad that Millar did not make the opening day roster, but I am sure you have no idea what you are talking about. Read an excerpt for the article that was on the Cubs website yesterday. No one is more serious about the game than Millar, he just knows how to keep it into perspective. I wish him luck and hope he is able to find a place to play for one last year. Who wants to end your career having played for Toronto. I for one would have enjoyed watching him and Dempster this year. What a duo!!!

"The way [Millar] was in the clubhouse, there aren't many guys you can say are like this guy," Gorzelanny said. "Kevin brought a lot of laughter to the clubhouse but he was serious. He wasn't just joking around, he was there to work. He's a gamer.

"I think he brought the fact that we're here to have fun, this is a game, this isn't a job -- well, it is a job, I guess," Gorzelanny said, catching himself. "I think I should rephrase that, that this isn't work, it's a game and we're out here to have fun and enjoy the game but also take it seriously. He was a great influence on a lot of guys, and the way he went about his work and being a good teammate, there's a lot for guys to learn from."

Aisle 424 said...

There are any number of guys that can be good guys and work hard and say encouraging things to their teammates as they slap them on the ass. Those guys are all over the place. The key is to find one of them that is good at baseball.

Kevin Millar is old, he is slow, and he is a statue no matter where you place him on the diamond on defense.

Besides, it isn't like they chose an asshole for that last spot. Chad Tracey may not wear a KFC bucket on his head, but I've read plenty of things about how he is a good guy and a good teammate, blah, blah, blah. The bottom line is that Chad Tracey is conceivably useful to the team in a few ways, whereas Millar would be around primarily to keep guys from taking things too seriously.

Besides, as I mentioned, the Cubs had a number of ways they could have kept Millar AND Tracey by putting Nady on the DL or going with 11 pitchers instead of having Samardzija. They chose none of the options. That should speak to how confident they were in Millar's usefulness as a player.

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