With 25 days until Opening Day for the Chicago Cubs, I would like to clear the air about one Cub.
Kevin Millar, owner of a World Series ring and scruffy facial hair, is, in the simplest form, no longer a serviceable major leaguer.
If he makes the team out of camp it will be because his image as a blue-collar "winner" preceded him, and likely not because he tore the cover off the ball in Arizona against AAA pitching (although he is hitting a robust .400 so far this spring...in five at-bats).
I'm not here to argue Millar's resume because it speaks for itself.
He was a valuable member of the 2004 Boston Red Sox and a key bat in their fierce lineup. He didn't have a great postseason for the Red Sox (.250 BA in the ALCS; .125 BA in the World Series), but was nonetheless a solid player worthy of a World Series ring.
But in the world of "What have you done for me lately?", Millar is lagging behind.
His 2009 batting average of .223 was downright sad, and because it came off the heels of a 2008 season in which he hit just .234, it is safe to say the 38-year-old is washed up.
His power numbers last year (7 HR, 29 RBI, .363 SLG) provide the nail in the coffin for Millar's career.
His 2008 campaign was at least tolerable for the Baltimore Orioles because it came with 20 home runs and 72 runs batted in.
It's not that I hate Kevin Millar (although I'll never understand why he is getting so much press this spring training); it's just obvious to me that he has no role on this team.
The man can not play anywhere but first base, where the Cubs have perennial All-Star Derrek Lee and left-handed bat Micah Hoffpauir already established on the club.
He can't play left field—his defense would be worse than Alfonso Soriano's—so scratch that idea, and he certainly can't be a designated hitter in a league that does not offer that option.
For Millar to occupy the 25th spot on this roster, it would strictly be to pinch-hit, and that is just not a feasible option.
The Cubs' bench won't be anything to write home about, but I'll take my chances with Koyie Hill, Sam Fuld, Tyler Colvin, Mike Fontenot/Jeff Baker, Andres Blanco, Xavier Nady, Micah Hoffpauir etc.
Millar has garnered attention on ESPN for his ability to "bust the curse" that was the Boston Red Sox' title drought.
However, anyone with a brain will realize that he was but one man on a very good (albeit steroid-filled) team and could be held responsible for only so much.
Millar has his best days in the rearview-mirror, but youngsters like Colvin and Blanco at least provide the glimmer of hope that they could improve.
But all is not lost for Millar.
He will no doubt be an analyst for ESPN in a year or two, so don't feel too bad for him if he doesn't make the cut this season.