Well, the Marlins made good on the threats to get rid of Kevin Millar. They must have so detested him that they sent him all the way to Japan, to the Chunichi Dragons, of Mr. Baseball fame. I commented on this yesterday when Florida signed Todd Hollandsworth and hinted that Millar's days in the Swamp State were ending.
Major League Baseball's site had this to say:
Millar, who led the Marlins in hitting with a .306 average last year, was eligible for arbitration.
The Marlins had been discussing trade possibilities with Millar, who informed the team that he had interest in going to Japan.
Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said if Hollandsworth had not signed, Millar would have remained the team's starting left fielder.
Beinfest said compensation received for Millar will go towards additional moves to upgrade the roster.
"There is a difference in the salary in what we projected for Kevin and what we signed Todd for," Beinfest said. "With these dollars, we will continue to try to improve this club."
Let's get this clear, Millar was signed to a two-year, $1.6 M contract prior to the 2001 season. He made $900K last season. He is arbitration eligible and would have had a significant bump up if he had gone through arbitration, but that had not yet come to pass.
Hollandsworth was signed for $1.5 M for one year. That is $700K more than the man he is basically replacing, Millar. There are no dollars saved except in bizzaro world.
Yes, Millar would have cost the Marlins around $2-3 M after arbitration, although it's hard to gauge given this offseason. That would have been more than Hollandsworth. So the Marlins anticipated this and proactively rid themselves of a slightly expensive player's contract. Soon we'll have teams trading Rookies of the Year because they will not be able to afford them when the players are arbitration eligible. I'm being facetious, but you get my drift.
Now, I understand Hollandsworth's signing. It wasn't about improving the club. It was entirely about cutting payroll. Hollandsworth was Johnny Bravo of Brady Bunch fame basically: he fits the suit. It's not how he plays. It doesn't matter which player is better. They were both acceptable for the position, but one was cheaper.
The more I hear these stories this offseason, the more I am convinced that there is no collusion, no secret agendas. The agenda is right there, out in the open for all to see. It's not about putting the best product on the field. It's about putting the cheapest acceptable product on the field. It's about the luxury tax and revenue sharing, at least for seemingly the vast majority of the teams If the last Collective Bargaining Agreement had required teams to invest the funds they receive in their teams, this would not be the case. But given the current environment, while that carrot is out there, teams will do whatever it takes to get their hands on it.