|Wednesday, February 5
Updated: March 13, 12:04 PM ET
Chunichi unable to convince Millar to come to Japan
NEW YORK -- The Chunichi Dragons started talks Wednesday to release Kevin Millar after the team's general manager said it had given up trying to convince the outfielder to go to Japan.
"There's no point in wasting time with talks anymore," Chunichi general manager Kazumasa Ito said Wednesday in Japan. "It would be extremely difficult at this point to convince him to play for Chunichi."
Millar's agents then began telephone conversations with the Dragons, who paid the Florida Marlins $1.2 million for the player's rights last month.
The Boston Red Sox are hoping to sign Millar.
"The Chunichi Dragons have initiated negotiations to release Kevin Millar from a contract that was only agreed to in principle," agent Sam Levinson said. "The greatest concern the Dragons expressed to us is that they be made whole. Everyone is in agreement on that."
Sam and Seth Levinson, who represent Millar, claim there is no final agreement with the Dragons and that their client should be allowed out of what they say was a preliminary deal.
Kodama, still in New York on Wednesday, was speaking throughout the day with the Levinsons, through translator Yoshiharu Muto. Talks were to continue Thursday.
Sam Levinson said Wednesday night that Muto had told him the Japanese commissioner's office was taking the position that Millar would have to be posted -- put up for bid to the 30 major league teams -- rather than having his agreement voided, which would make him a free agent.
It was unclear if the major league commissioner's office would agree with that, since its agreement with the Japanese commissioner's office covers players under reserve to a team, not those whose rights are in dispute.
Millar agreed in early January to a $6.2 million, two-year contract with the Dragons. Florida then released Millar, who later changed his mind and decided he didn't want to play in Japan.
Among Millar's reservations about playing in Japan were his wife's fear of leaving the United States to live in Asia if the U.S. goes to war with Iraq.