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Kevin Millar on MFB: Derek Jeter ‘cannot not play’ this weekend at Fenway 09.26.14 at 12:58 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss whether Derek Jeter should play in his final series this weekend at Fenway Park. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Following Thursday’s walkoff single against the Orioles in his emotional final game at Yankee Stadium, Jeter said he will serve as designated hitter but not play shortstop when he faces the Red Sox this weekend.

Some have said Jeter should allow Thursday’s dramatics to go in the history books as his final sendoff and skip the Sox series. Millar does not agree.

“The one thing Derek knows is he’s got class. And he knows how important it is for him to play in this series,” Millar said. “I get you, it’s a great argument, it’s a great debate. Last night, storybook, you just ride off into the wind. The best thing for him would be if they won the World Series. … At the end of the day, it’s important for the fans, it’s important for the ownership of the Red Sox, it’s important for Red Sox Nation.

“It’s just, the rivalry. He cannot not play. So he’s going to do DH some, get out and they can say goodbye to him also. But that’s my point, is that: Get out there and appreciate this, because it’s over after Sunday. And then there’ll be another shortstop, they’ll go out and sign Hanley Ramirez or whoever their next generation’s going to be. … But we get a chance to see Derek Jeter, pretty cool, one of the greatest to ever play the game.”

Added Millar: “I think Jeter’s chapter he wrote, it’s already signed, sealed, delivered, that book’s closed. Now this is just a favor, a favor for the Red Sox fans and this rivalry over 20 years to play these next three days.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘I don’t think you give up on a Will Middlebrooks’ 09.05.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network’s Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Red Sox following Thursday’s disappointing loss to the Yankees. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

In Thursday’s game, Sox closer Koji Uehara continued to struggle, allowing a pair of solo home runs in the ninth inning as New York walked off with a 5-4 decision. There has been discussion that the team might shut down Uehara and let him rest up for next season.

“There’s nothing to lose now,” Millar said. “It’s kind of an odd season, guys, let’s get it straight. From last place, first place, last place. You’ve got things to address, go ahead and address them. He’s given up big-time home runs this year; last year he was invincible. It’s pretty funny how the years are different. Everything went right last year and now he’s in the scuffle mode. I’m a big fan of Koji, but he’s had a tough time getting some outs late in the game.”

The Red Sox have expressed an interested in having Will Middlebrooks play winter league in order to be better prepared for next season. It’s not clear that Middlebrooks is on board with that idea, but Millar supports it.

“He’s still got to look in the mirror and say, ‘Listen, I’ve got to get something done. I’ve got to get something right.’ Whether that’s your swing, whether that’s your defense, whatever you’ve got to work on,” Millar said. “I think winter ball’s great. I played it a lot. I played it everywhere but Venezuela. It gives you the chance to basically get that confidence back. Because you see the talent, you see the ceiling. This is a guy, if he hits 25-30 home runs at some point in his career it wouldn’t shock you. But he hasn’t produced. He produced his first three, four months up in the big leagues, and got everybody fired up. But it’s been a struggle-bunny since. So I think winter ball’s a great call.”

Added Millar: “I don’t think you give up on a Will Middlebrooks. I like the size, I like the talent I see. ‘€¦ I don’t think you give up on a kid, because corner guys, right-handed power right now, aren’t out there. Will hasn’t shown a whole lot of consistency at this level, but you also understand if something clicks he can become a guy that’s above average to a star. And it wouldn’t shock you, would it? We’ve seen a little bit of it.”

There has been some speculation that the Red Sox might considering trading Dustin Pedroia as part of their move to a younger lineup.

“No, you don’t trade Dustin Pedroia. You don’t even mention trading Dustin Pedroia,” Millar said, adding: “I’m not saying he’s untouchable, but he’s your makeup of the club. So if he has an off year this year, yeah, OK, now we’re going to trade Dustin Pedroia? He’s the only makeup and the grit and everything about the Red Sox.”

For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Millar, Koji Uehara, Will Middlebrooks
Kevin Millar on MFB: Rusney Castillo part of ‘dynamic of the Cuban influence in baseball’ 08.22.14 at 1:14 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss the Sox and their reported contract agreement with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the 27-year-old Castillo, who is known for his speed and his range in the outfield.

“I don’t know a whole lot about him. I don’t think any of us do. But you’re looking at the dynamic of the Cuban influence in baseball, starting off with Jose Abreu,” Millar said. “I think it’s a great thing. I think you’re starting to see that gap come closer because there’s some great players over in Cuba and they’re dynamic players and hopefully this thing pans out well for the Red Sox.”

The years and money makes for a heavy investment for a relatively unknown player in Castillo, but Millar said the Red Sox had to have known enough good things about him to take the chance.

“You have to have scouts up there. Someone had to see him other than a workout. But at the end of the day, you go with your heart,” he said. “I’m using an example of Jose Abreu of the White Sox. We didn’t have a whole lot of things on him, but did you know he was going to have 32 home runs coming into the middle of August?

“Sometimes it’s for your gut. And not everything works out. It’s just like a draft. Yes, $72 million is a lot of money, but it was a lot of money for Yu Darvish back in the day, then the [Masahiro Tanaka] situation happened for the Yankees and it was a lot of money then, but it looked like it was about worth it until the injury. So this money is a lot of money but there’s a lot of money out there to be made and spent and hopefully you get that dynamic-type player that a lot of these Cubans have turned out to be.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: Roger Clemens should be in Hall of Fame 08.15.14 at 1:00 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB to discuss Roger Clemens‘ Hall of Fame candidacy and Rob Manfred being elected commissioner. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox inducted Clemens, Pedro MartinezNomar Garciaparra and Joe Castiglione into the team’s Hall of Fame Thursday. The induction of Clemens sparked debate over whether or not he deserves to be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame despite his link to performance-enhancing drugs.

Millar is one of those who would like to see Clemens inducted in Cooperstown.

“I think the Hall of Fame is a museum,” Millar said. “At the end of the day I want to take my kids to a museum and show them [Barry Bonds] and Clemens and [Sammy Sosa] and [Mark McGwire].

“Who knows is the ultimate question. We can assume, but at the end of the day nobody knows and it’s one of those places where we’re trying to say, ‘Who morally did right?’ There’s guys in there that drank alcohol, that did other things that are in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know.”

He added: “In my opinion, I just want to take my kids and show them the best players of our generation. That was an era that we lived in and there’s questions. If you want to put an asterisk, fine. But my goodness gracious, there’s some great players there, whether there’s questions or not, it’s a museum and I want to take my kids there to show them.”

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino was hesitant to say whether or not he believes former Sox slugger Manny Ramirez deserves to make the team’s Hall of Fame when asked about it on Dennis & Callahan Friday morning. Millar, on the other hand, thinks Ramirez is deserves to be in both the team Hall of Fame and Cooperstown despite the sour end to his tenure in Boston. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: Red Sox ‘have a star now’ in Yoenis Cespedes 08.01.14 at 12:59 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar checked in with Middays with MFB to discuss the Sox’ trade deadline activity. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Red Sox were busier than any other team at Thursday’s deadline, making four trades by the 4 p.m. mark. The most notable losses were pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey, which brought in A’s slugger Yoenis Cespedes and the Cardinals’ Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in return.

“I love what the Red Sox did,” Millar said. “At some point if they’re going to trade Jon Lester, it’s never going to pacify anybody, it doesn’t make sense. But you know what they got? They got three major league players. They traded Lester and Lackey, and they got three major league players immediately to help this club out.”

They biggest name acquired by the Sox was Cespedes. The Cuban has had a tough year at the plate, hitting just .256 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs, but Millar said he expects him to be a big presence in the Sox’ lineup, especially hitting at Fenway Park.

“At the end of the day, aren’t you tired of looking at the outfield’s offensive production?” Millar said. “Say what you want, we got to see him on the big stage in the Home Run Derby. I know it doesn’t mean anything, but we had a good time watching him last year at Citi Field, had a good time watching him this year at Minnesota, but at least he’s dynamic. I’d put him like kind of a star. He’s going to be a presence behind David Ortiz now. It immediately makes this team kind of like, ‘Whoa, that’s a 3-4 combination.’

“I’m looking at a guy and it’s kind of like you can lean your hat on somebody. We have a star now. Last year’s Red Sox World Series win, we leaned on the whole team because of the whole dynamic of the Boston bombing and the city and everything that went around it.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: David Ortiz ‘not going to fake an injury because he’s scared of somebody’ 07.25.14 at 1:39 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar joined Middays with MFB on Friday to discuss David Ortiz‘s injury speculation, Jon Lester‘s contract talks and Dustin Pedroia‘s struggles. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Ortiz left Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays in the ninth inning with spasms in his back while checking his swing and was listed as day-to-day by manager John Farrell. Since then, there’s been speculation about whether Ortiz faked the injury in order to avoid Rays pitcher David Price, who drilled Ortiz in their last matchup, leading to a heated exchange and a benches-clearing incident.

“That’s by no means in his makeup. Let’s get that straight. If anybody knows David Ortiz, that’s not his makeup,” Millar said. “This guy is not going to fake an injury because he’s scared of somebody. He’s been a bad man in that batter’s box since day one when he joined the Red Sox in 2003.

“Believe me, Price is probably just as happy he doesn’t have to face him.”

The Sox lost three of four to Toronto this week to fall back into last place in the American League East with just over a week before the trade deadline. Millar said it’s becoming clear the Red Sox will have to be sellers.

“I’d be really intrigued to see what goes on behind the scenes,” Millar said. “I’ve never been behind the scenes, I’ve never been in the front office, but I think you’re at a point now, 9 1/2 games is a tough, tough task. By any means can they go on a run of, say, 30-5? I don’t think this team is capable of doing so.

“You can’t sell out for the fans. But I think the writing is on the wall. They had a great run. They shocked the world last year with a World Series championship and it was a great run. This year things just haven’t come together. They’ve had a lot of injuries, a lot of non-productive seasons from different players.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Kevin Millar on MFB: ‘If you have a problem with [A.J. Pierzynski], address it’ in clubhouse 07.11.14 at 1:15 pm ET
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Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar checked in with Middays with MFB to discuss A.J. Pierzynski, Jon Lester and other Red Sox news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox designated Pierzynski for assignment on Wednesday. Since then, multiple reports have suggested his negative presence in the clubhouse likely led to his early departure.

“When this thing happened from the immediate signing, it was an odd signing to me, because you had [Jarrod Saltalamacchia], Millar said. “There were some question marks with his back, but I thought Salty was a good scene in that clubhouse.

“The thing with A.J., backing up his career, a lot of money for a year, had a nice year with the Rangers. But there’s always been that little egg. Guys don’t like him at times. For sure playing against him guys didn’t like him.”

Millar added: “It’s typical when a season doesn’t go your way that there’s always going to be a scene, and this is just part of a scene. Maybe part of it was lack of production, swinging at first pitches and not playing the Red Sox way. All that in mind, see you later, A.J.”

Millar said issues regarding Pierzynski’s personality should’ve been addressed by the players before it became a problem.

“That’s my point, A.J. Pierzynski is a veteran,” Millar said. “If you’re around A.J., he’s not a bad guy. If you have a problem with A.J., address it. What I can’t stand in clubhouses, and shame on the Red Sox’ clubhouse, quit whispering and gossiping and address it.

“The articles come out, the Red Sox player gets kicked to the curb and all these bad articles come out, which I think is not fair because if it’s not addressed, how does A.J. know that he’s been staring at his phone for three months and that’s not cool in the Red Sox clubhouse?” Read the rest of this entry »

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