Talked to Kevin Millar tonight on my WBAL show and he confirmed that he has been told the Orioles definitely are going in a new direction and that he will not be coming back in a reserve role.
Not that it's a big surprise. It was fairly apparent that page had turned, but the Orioles had publicly left open the slim possibility they might invite him to spring training.
"Yeah, the bottom line is, obviously, they want to go in a different direction,'' Millar said from his home in Beaumont, Texas. "Now, what that means, I don't know. Are they going to win games this year? No. Obviously we know that going in. You've got to be realistic.
"I told Dave Trembley (with Millar at right) a month and a half ago, 'Listen, I'm 37 years old. I'm ready to make that transition and do whatever I can do to help the young guys. If that means playing against left-handers, coming off the bench, whatever.' I told him I'm ready to do whatever I need to do. They decided to go in a different direction, which is surprising to me. I'm not talking about this to sell myself. I'm low risk. I'm a one-year deal. I haven't been on the disabled list in awhile. I get along with everybody.
"To me, when a team says that, it's a little frustrating. I mean, what direction are the Orioles going in differently? If they sign Ty Wigginton tomorrow, or they were talking about Richie Sexson early on ... those guys are great players, too, but you have a guy who's already comfortable and knows the personnel inside, so what different direction would you go?
"Obviously, Aubrey Huff will play first base and they'll DH Luke Scott and whatever happens in the outfield. They didn't need me because they had Aubrey Huff and he said he's willing to play first base, and he deserves that job because of the unbelievable year he had last year, and I understood that. Was I frustrated? For a second, yeah, because I enjoyed my time in Baltimore and I enjoyed the group of guys."
Millar acknowledged that his struggles at the end of the season probably contributed to the team's decision not to bring him back for a fourth season.
"It gets tough,'' he said. "We lose every night. The last eight weeks it was tough to keep a good attitude. It's tough to maintain that mental toughness and what happened, I struggled my butt off the last eight weeks and I was at fault for that and that left a bad taste in my mouth and in management's mouth. I understand that it's a big-boy world and I have to move on."
So, where to now? Millar is believed to have at least a spring training invitation from the Toronto Blue Jays and has gotten some interest from the Giants and a couple of other teams. He said he's just waiting for more of the free-agent dominoes to fall and clear the way for him to find a job.
Associated Press photo