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Wednesday, January 8
Updated: March 13, 5:33 PM ET
 
Hollandsworth agrees to one-year, $1.5 million deal

Associated Press

MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins addressed their need for an outfielder with left-handed pop, signing former Colorado Rockies outfielder Todd Hollandsworth to a one-year, $1.5 million contract Wednesday.

The move made Kevin Millar expendable, and the outfielder was sold to the Chunichi Dragons in Japan, the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida reported Thursday.

Hollandsworth hit .284 last season with 16 home runs and 67 RBI in 134 games for Colorado and Texas. His signing fills the void created when the Marlins did not offer a contract to outfielder Eric Owens, who later signed with the Anaheim Angels.

Fri., Jan. 10
Aside from Pudge Rodriguez, right now the best "available" hitter might be Kevin Millar, late of the Florida Marlins.

We put "available" in quotes because it's been reported that Millar's contract has actually been sold to Japan's Chunichi Dragons, which of course would make Millar something less than "available" to the other 29 major-league clubs.

However, nothing's official yet. With a player's permission, a major-league team can sell his contract to a team in Japan. Typically, the MLB franchise will receive a significant sum -- in this case, perhaps $2 million -- and the player will negotiate a new deal with the Japanese team.

There's a technicality, though: as a part of the process, Millar must pass through waivers, at which point another major-league team has every right to claim him. There is a gentlemen's agreement among GM's to not claim such players, but of course gentlemen's agreements are made to be broken.

So what happens if somebody -- the Braves, let's say -- claims Millar? Probably nothing. Claiming Millar would give Braves GM John Schuerholz only the right to negotiate with Millar, who is still free to head off for Japan if he chooses.

As of early Friday afternoon, the Marlins still hadn't put Millar on waivers. So for the moment, this is all academic.

"We're fortunate to get a quality athlete, plus that left-handed bat," Marlins manager Jeff Torborg said. "Those guys that were with us all last year heard me talk about needing a left-handed bat from the middle of the season on ... and this was the opportunity to do that."

The agreement reached Tuesday includes performance bonuses that would pay Hollandsworth $50,000 for each for 400, 450, 500 and 550 plate appearances.

"Most importantly this was a team that was moving in the right direction, a team that was going to compete and a team that had an opportunity to win," Millar said.

"I want the opportunity to play everyday and Florida presented me with that."

The National League Rookie of the Year in 1996 for Los Angeles, Hollandsworth, who will be the Marlins' opening day left fielder, is a .278 career hitter and can play first base and all three outfield positions

"I think this guy has a lot of untapped potential," Torborg said. "I was reading a scouting report ... projecting that he was capable of stealing 25-to-30 bases. That would really fit with us."

With the signing of Hollandsworth, the Marlins were unable to keep Millar. He had spent all or parts of the past five season with Florida.

Millar, 31, hit .306 with 16 home runs and 57 RBI for the Marlins last year. He also had a 25-game hitting streak.

"We were at or near our payroll," Marlins GM Larry Beinfest said. "What this does do is now we have some flexibility now. We saw Todd as an everyday guy for us and that would have made a very difficult situation. We fell like our extra people in the outfield are capable and ready to go."

"This was something (Millar) was interested in doing, that he had to approve."

With the acquisition of Hollandsworth, Beinfest said the team can now move on to addressing the team's other needs: starting pitching depth and a deeper bench.

"Pitching is very much a priority for us. You cannot have enough of it. We have some experience on the bench and we have some young people who are ready to step up and do it."






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