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Orioles: Making sense of Millar

Let's get one thing out of the way up front. I'm a big fan of Kevin Millar, who made my job as a baseball writer and columnist easier every day and made three lackluster Orioles seasons a lot more entertaining than anybody had a right to expect. But I've got to admit that there is some method to the Orioles' reluctance to bring him back for one more season, and it has nothing to do with his personality or production.

Kevin, at 37, still has something to offer on the field and in the clubhouse of the right team, but the Orioles are truly going in another direction. They want to put Felix Pie in left field every day and they want to get Luke Scott as many at-bats as possible in the DH slot and they're going to play Aubrey Huff at first base full-time. Millar might not get 100 at-bats in that equation, or he might play just well enough to tempt the team to put him back him in the lineup.

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Now, that might seem on the surface to be an OK problem to have, but the O's obviously don't want to get in a position where keeping Millar gives them a ready excuse to deviate from their blueprint for 2009.

If you want to take the issue into the clubhouse, you could make the case that it's time for the leadership mantle to pass to the club's younger stars, particularly Brian Roberts -- if he stays -- and Nick Markakis, who just signed a six-year, $66 million contract that makes him the face of the new Orioles generation.

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Of course, since I'd personally like to see Millar come back, I could probably come up with a pretty good argument for that, too.


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