Oh, the things you read online. It looks like the Cubs are going to sign Jim Hendry-favorite Kevin Millar to a non-guaranteed minor-league deal later this week. There's always an equal-and-opposite-reaction theme to every Cubs winter (last year it was "get Lou his 'left-hand' bat), and this year, it appears that if all else fails, the Cubs are going to "out-chemistry" everybody in the wake of getting rid of Milton Bradley. The Millar story first appeared on ESPN.com, with Millar telling writer Jerry Crasnick the deal is done:
In the story, Millar tells Crasnick: "It's been a very slow market as you've seen this off-season, but things have worked out. I'm excited to have a chance to compete for a spot with the Cubbies. I have a lot of buddies on that team."
You never know, but Millar doesn't appear to have a whole lot of baseball left in him, but boy, won't that clubhouse in Mesa be fun this spring as Millar and Ryan Dempster reprise their comedy routine and turn that sleepy little community in Arizona into the Catskills Southwest? A couple years ago, old friends Millar and Dempster had a back-and-forth (from Florida to Arizona) about Millar going to tear Dempster apart when the vaunted Baltimore Orioles came to Wrigley Field. I can't exactly remember what happened.
Anyway, Millar is a right-handed batter whose career splits are pretty even when facing righty and lefty pitching. Last year in Toronto, he had a hitting line of .223/.311/.363 for an OPS of .674 and an OPS-plus of 79. The wOBA was .302. He hit 20 homers for the O's in 2008, with an 89 OPS-plus.
Bill James projects 75 games and a line of .242/.342/.395 for an OPS of .737 and a wOBA of .321 for Millar in 2010.
Once Millar signs on the dotted line, he'll compete with non-roster men Chad Tracy and Bryan LaHair.
On to other things. The Cubs may indeed look at pitcher Noah Lowry as he throws this week, but there's little real interest on their part. They're still after a reliever, and one may not fall into their laps until the eve of spring training.