Miller gets $8.75M contract, pending physical

MILWAUKEE -- Damian Miller and the Milwaukee Brewers reached
a preliminary agreement Tuesday on a three-year contract that would
guarantee the catcher $8.75 million.

The deal is subject to Miller passing a physical. He would get
$3.25 million in each of the next two seasons, and the Brewers
would have a 2007 option at $3.75 million. If the Brewers decline
the option, Miller would get a player option at $2.25 million.

"Nothing's finalized yet. We hope to get it done [Friday],"
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "I'm optimistic things
will get done."

Miller, 35, a native of West Salem, Wis., made $3 million last
year in Oakland, where he batted .272 with 25 doubles, nine home
runs and 58 RBI in 110 games.

He committed only one error in 751 chances for a .999 fielding
percentage. Miller is a career .264 hitter with 68 home runs and
301 RBI in 716 major league games.

Miller would be an upgrade at catcher after Chad Moeller and
Gary Bennett had poor offensive statistics last year, combining to
hit just .215 with eight home runs and 47 RBI.

Bennett is a free agent. Moeller would serve as Miller's backup.

"He's a veteran player that fits a position of need for us and
would be an upgrade from last year," Melvin said.

The Brewers top catching prospect in their farm system is Lou
Palmisano, who played at Class A Beloit last year.

Miller graduated from West Salem High School in 1987 and played
for Viterbo University in La Crosse. He was drafted by the
Minnesota Twins in 1990 and played for them in 1997 before Arizona
selected him in the expansion draft.

"The Brewers outbid the Red Sox and Dodgers," agent Bob Garber said.
"Maybe the haves and have-nots are bridging the gap."

After five seasons with the Diamondbacks, he was traded to the
Chicago Cubs, where he played in 2003 before he was dealt to the

He also played in the 2002 All-Star Game at Miller Park.

"Miller playing at Miller Park was too tough to pass up,"
Garber said.