First baseman Kevin Millar agreed to a $2.1 million, one-year contract yesterday with the Baltimore Orioles, who hope the former Red Sox can provide leadership and some punch in the lineup.
''I see him playing a lot of first base, designated hitter, and in the outfield," Orioles first-year manager Sam Perlozzo said. ''We get a guy with playoff experience, someone who was part of a World Series team. We can use that kind of player in our clubhouse. It gives us a little chemistry."
The 34-year-old Millar, who can make an additional $2.6 million in performance bonuses, hit .276 with 25 home runs and 96 RBIs with the Red Sox in 2003. It was during that season that he coined the phrase, ''Cowboy Up!" -- which became Boston's battle cry in September and into the playoffs.
Millar batted .297 with 18 homers and 74 RBIs for the World Series champions in 2004, but his production dropped last year, when he hit .272 with 9 homers and 50 RBIs. He did, however, remain a leader in the Boston clubhouse.
''Kevin will be missed," Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield said. ''He was the guy that always kept things light and humorous and funny. Baltimore is getting a pretty good hitter and a great teammate, a guy that makes things fun."
Most of all, the Orioles want Millar's righthanded swing to bolster a lineup that struggled to score in 2005.
''It's certainly a piece that helps us along the way," Perlozzo said. ''We're starting to fill some holes."
Millar is a career .289 hitter over 932 games and exactly 3,000 at-bats. He has 111 homers and 471 RBIs. In six full major league seasons, he has averaged 17 home runs and 67 RBIs. He is a career .302 hitter with runners in scoring position, and has a career on-base percentage of .365.
Primarily a first baseman during his three years in Boston -- he made 102 starts at first base last year, with 12 starts each in left and right field -- Millar has played 425 games at first and 352 in the outfield.
Mateo stays put
The Seattle Mariners agreed to a $1.9 million, two-year contract with reliever Julio Mateo
. The 28-year-old righthander, who made $390,000 last season, his fourth with Seattle, was 3-6 with two blown saves, a 3.06 ERA, 52 strikeouts, and 17 walks in a career-high 55 games. He is 8-8 with a 3.56 ERA, 2 saves, 5 blown saves, 181 strikeouts, and 58 walks in 162 career games . . . Reliever Matt Wise
and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a $1.7 million, two-year contract that avoided salary arbitration. The 30-year-old righthander made 49 appearances for the Brewers last season, going 4-4 with a 3.36 ERA.
Phillies sign MyersBrett Myers
agreed to a $3.3 million, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. The 25-year-old righthander went 13-8 with a 3.72 ERA in 34 starts with two complete games for the Phillies last year. His 208 strikeouts were a career high and tied for third most in the NL. Myers is 42-33 with a 4.47 ERA in four seasons . . . Reliever Dan Miceli,
35, agreed to a two-year, $1.5 million contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Miceli was 1-2 with a 5.89 ERA in 19 appearances with Colorado last season. The righthander has appeared in 598 major league games with nine clubs, posting a 42-50 record with 35 saves and a 4.51 ERA . . . Lefthanded reliever Alan Embree
agreed to a minor league contract with San Diego, his second tour with the Padres. In 2002, he went 3-4 with a 1.26 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 appearances prior to being traded to the Red Sox. The 35-year-old Embree went 2-5 with one save and a 7.62 ERA in a combined 67 games with the Red Sox and Yankees in 2005 . . . Righthander Grant Balfour
agreed to a one-year, $340,000 contract with the Cincinnati Reds, who took a calculated risk on a pitcher still recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, and designated righthander Josh Hancock
for assignment. Balfour, 28, who pitched parts of three seasons for Minnesota, had ligament replacement surgery in April . . . Lefthander Terry Mulholland's
minor league contract was finalized by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mulholland, 42, was 0-2 with Minnesota last season, working 59 innings in 49 games with a 4.27 ERA.
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