Kevin Millar Coming Back in 2005

The Herald today offered the warning that Kevin Millar was about to trigger his 2005 option. This option is mutual, for $3.5 million. This means that if Millar’s option was not automatically triggered (more on that later), Millar and the team would have to agree to have Millar return to the Red Sox in 2005. If Millar did not want to return, he would become a free agent and the Red Sox would pay nothing. If Millar accepted his part of the contract but the Red Sox did not want to have him return, they would decline the option and those teams that do so (usually) pay a small buyout. Millar would then become a free agent.
However, per Blue Manc’s contracts, Millar’s option is automatically triggered if he has 800 plate appearances.

In baseball, plate appearances is the number of times a batter has gone to bat resulting in any outcome making the batter safe or out. The is as opposed to at bats, which do not count bases on balls, sacrifice flies and hits, and times hit by pitch.

Last year, Millar had 618 plate appearances, and through May 20th, he had 161. That adds up to 779 plate appearances. This means Millar will trigger the option if he plays in the next 5.25 games and recieves 4 plate appearances.
Millar (career) is batting .259 with a .338 OBP through May 19th, so that does not include tonight’s game, which we lost 9-6. Trade Lowe! Anyways, back on topic. His slugging is not spectacular either – a horrid .353. For comparison, Pokey Reese‘s slugging percentage is .360. Yes, higher than Kevin Millar.
I would much rather sign David Ortiz, truth be told. I would also prefer to have Brian Daubach on the bench. The two of them could provide more production than Millar, and also replace him defensively. Ortiz can take care of the 1B and DH duties while Daubach could fill in at 1B, DH, and fill in for the games that Millar would start in lieu of Trot Nixon. Ortis has a .266 average with a .335 OBP, but his slugging is .557, a big difference from .353. Daubach is at .250/.327/.455. In other words, they all have similar batting averages and OBPs, but Millar’s SLG is in the tank.
Clearly, there is no way to stop this option from triggering. You are not going to keep Millar from making less than 21 plate appearances the rest of the way. You cannot call it a foolhardy decision when the contract was signed – no one expected he would fall this far this fast. He is certainly nothing like his Florida days, and we need to readjust our expectations for Millar. Perhaps Millar will be worth the triggered option because he is de facto captain of the team and also the face of the team. But lest we get carried away with emotion, contributions on the field do stand for something, too.
All we can do is hope that Millar turns it up soon, or we will have a $3.5 million bench player next year and no Brian Daubach.

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