Kevin Millar retires and joins MLB Network

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Kevin Millar was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training after failing to beat out Chad Tracy for a bench spot and the 38-year-old veteran of a dozen seasons has apparently decided to call it quits.
Millar has joined MLB Network as a studio analyst and will make his debut next week, which makes perfect sense given his reputation as an outgoing, media-friendly player.
If he’s indeed retired, Millar finishes his 12-year career as a .274/.358/.452 hitter with 170 homers in 1,427 games, which is remarkable for a guy who got his professional start in an independent league and didn’t become a regular in the majors until age 27.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.