Jays nearing deal with Millar
Veteran would likely be in contention for a reserve job in Toronto
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are close to reaching an agreement on a Minor League contract with free-agent first baseman Kevin Millar, according to a report in the New York Post. The deal would include an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club.
Due to financial limitations, the bulk of the Blue Jays' acquisitions this offseason have come via Minor League deals. In fact, Toronto is the only club in baseball that has not added a free agent with a Major League contract this winter. That doesn't mean that the Jays aren't still looking for help, especially on offense.
"We're looking every day to try to bring someone here who can help us," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said recently. "Obviously, money is a concern this year and we'd have to get someone who fits what we want to spend. We're maybe looking for someone who can augment our lineup a little bit from the right side."
Millar, 37, would seem to fit that description. Last season with the Orioles, the right-handed-hitting Millar posted a .234 average with 20 home runs and 72 RBIs in 145 games. Vernon Wells, who finished the 2008 campaign with 20 homers, was the only player to club at least that many long balls for the Jays last year.
As things currently stand, though, Millar might have a hard time earning a full-time role with Toronto. Last season, he spent 130 games at first base and 14 as Baltimore's designated hitter -- two roles that are already filled with the Jays. Toronto has the left-handed-hitting Lyle Overbay as its regular at first base, and outfielder Adam Lind, who also hits from the left side, is slated to be the team's regular DH.
This winter, the Blue Jays have used Minor League deals to acquire pitchers Matt Clement and Mike Maroth, catchers Michael Barrett and Raul Chavez, as well as outfielder Jason Lane and infielder Brandon Fahey. Toronto has also agreed to terms on a Minor League deal with Japanese left-hander Ken Takahashi.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.