Mets Trade Lastings Milledge
We traded 22-year old Lastings Milledge for a 31-year old catcher who can’t hit and for a 28-year old right-fielder worse than him. We traded him within the division. This is a nightmare scenario.
Unless there is something that I don’t know about him behind the scenes, this is a horrible trade. There is literally no way around that.
Comparison to the Kazmir deal
This is not as bad for a couple reasons. Kazmir’s deal was made for even dumber reasons than this – the Mets thought they were in the playoff hunt when they were not. Kazmir was a better prospect than Milledge, and we got less in return. Zambrano was worthless. Church and Schneider are at least okay.
Is going to start every day. This isn’t awful. He’s supposedly a great game-caller and will allow Castro to be a super-sup. However, he can’t hit. He really can’t hit, even for catchers. He also is old, will deteriorate defensively, and due $10 million dollars in the next two seasons. We already had a player just like him – Johnny Estrada. I liked the Estrada deal – no, I loved it. Estrada isn’t the best, but he isn’t the worst either. He’s younger and has some upside. Schneider is more expensive and done.
He’s alright. Unfortunately, he’s older than Milledge and not as good. Certainly, he’s not even as good as Milledge today, and Milledge has serious upside. He’s got doubles power, and plays decent defense. He also bats left handed.
Even if Milledge is a failure and does not progress one inch beyond where he is today, the trade is bad. But… that’s ridiculous. This is a kid who hit .300 in his minor league career despite being two to five years younger than everyone at his level. He was the top prep talent in the country and the best position player available in his draft year. Best case scenario the trade is bad – worst case scenario its an absolute disaster.
I don’t think Milledge is the next coming of Gary Sheffield – but he’s a good player. He’s a natural centerfielder and he hit .275 as a 22-year old. He made huge strides in between 2006 and 2007, despite missing a huge chunk of time with a broken foot bone. As I said before, I see Lastings’ upside as an above-average centerfielder who can hit .330 with 20 home runs a year. I see him as a Tony Gwynn with more power and less walks. Like Andruw Jones with less power. Like a miniature Sheffield with good defense. He’s not a Hall of Famer, but he might be the best player on the Nationals as soon as next year.
It's a bad trade, there's no other way to cut it. It is a clear indication of our organizational philosophy and of Omar Minaya's thinking. Just because you have two other highly-regarded outfielders coming up, doesn't mean that you should get eighty cents on the dollar for the one who is already established.