here's to hoping that pedro drills him with a fastball......
FORMER MET OF STARTING TO 'FIT IN' WITH NATIONALS
PERFECT FIT: Lastings Milledge believes
he is respected and fits in more with the
Nationals than he ever did with the Mets.
February 25, 2008 -- VIERA, Fla. - Lastings Milledge stayed out on the field for extra work yesterday and then when he finally came into the clubhouse he was pulled aside by a Nationals official who needed the former Met to shoot a commercial for the team. Milledge will be the starting centerfielder for the Nationals when they open a new ballpark this season.
Life is much different here than with the Mets.
"These guys believe in me and they figure I can get the job done," Milledge said.
Did the Mets believe in him?
"No," Milledge said. "Because I'm inexperienced, they like experienced guys, especially Willie (Randolph). Here it's good to have people really believe in you. I really didn't get any love over there. Which is fine, they're a big market and they are not going to wait around on young guys.
"The Mets have to win now," he said. "They haven't won a World Championship in (22) years."
But who's counting? Clearly, there is no love lost between Milledge and the Mets.
"I'm looking forward to playing New York, I can tell you that right now," said the former first-rounder. "I'll be ready. It's a business, I'm not mad at all that the Mets got rid of me, but I am going to have a little chip on my shoulder when I play New York, that's just how it is."
Milledge was traded for catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church. He said Randolph did not call at the time of the trade or any other time, offering, "We just never communicated."
Mets coaches and officials said Randolph often met face-to-face with Milledge and those meetings seemed productive. Randolph declined to comment. Coach Jerry Manuel was Randolph's point man in dealing with Milledge. "Jerry is my man," Milledge said.
Milledge, 22, rubbed some Met veterans the wrong way. He got himself in trouble in 2006 when he high-fived fans down the line after hitting his first career home run. Vets also criticized him for being "late" to the park on occasion and it became an embarrassing situation for the ballclub when Milledge was part of a rap song that had controversial lyrics.
Milledge said he learned from those situations but added he has no regrets. He would still have high-fived fans and is still involved in his music, "doing my thing," he said, noting the Nationals clubhouse allows him to be himself.
"Everybody treats everybody with respect here, everybody communicates with everybody, all the veterans communicate with the young guys. The clubhouse is great, (manager) Manny (Acta) will let me play the way I know how, the way I grew up playing," Milledge said. "We all fit in and it's good because I really didn't fit in over there with the Mets.
"The way that I played, the swagger I bring to the game didn't really go too well with the veterans," Milledge added. "That's just the kind of player I am. I don't disrespect the game. I don't play to lose. I play hard and I play to win."
Paul Lo Duca's locker sits just a few doors down from Milledge.
"This is a new start for (Milledge) here, it's a lot more low key here," said the former Mets catcher, who is getting his own new start. "He's not a bad kid. He works hard. The tough thing for him is he is going to have to learn how to grind it and he's going to have to learn to make adjustments."
Added Milledge with a Laugh: "I don't blame the Mets for getting rid of me and trying to get the team better because when I'm playing video games I don't wait on young guys either, I get rid of them and get veterans."
This is no video game. If Milledge does well he figures to be here a long time, smack in the middle of the same division as the Mets.
Lastings Milledge is no longer a Met, but he hasn't gone away
here's to hoping that pedro drills him with a fastball......
I love the hypocritical media. If Milledge made comments like that with the Mets they would be up in arms saying things like "He's such a cancer, get rid of his ass". But now that they did do that, they're sitting here writing articles like this trying to harp on how bad a deal it was.
What's done is done, get over it. I honestly believe Church will outproduce him in 2008 anyways now that he's outside of RFK, and possibly over the next 3-4 years as well. He might be older, but he's cheap, under team-control almost as long, and what he's done so far indicates he'll be a pretty good player offensively.
I dont think Lastings is going to turn into an All-Star, but that was a horrible trade
even if milledge turnos out to be a good player in washington, i don't think this was a bad deal. listening to him, it seems to me he's most likely not the type of player who can deal with new york. some guys just can't do it. he likely would have continued to be mediocre at best here.
Church is a career 113 OPS+ with a 114 OPS+ last year
100 would be a League Average hitter in that position BTW.
Granted, Church sat against most Lefties, but Milledge sat against most pitchers with a tough breaking ball which in the end evens out IMO.
As of right now, Ryan Church is a better Offensive player. Granted, Milledge has potential, but we're making this deal to compete for the next 3-4 years, not for who will be better 8 years down the road.
B) Church has played CF in the past, 837.1 Innings there over 95 GS (114 G). His range isn't particuarly great there, but he only had 2 errors. Yes, he's best suited for a corner, but there's little reason we couldn't put him out in CF for a few games if Beltran was to go down, for example.
As for Milledge, the consensus among scouts is that his Defense isn't what it was advertised to be and he'll likely end up in a Corner OF spot long-term anyways (Then again, the Nats don't exactly value defense so he might stick there, for better or for worse).
The difference between them defensively isn't much. One is a Okay CF Playing CF and the other is an Okay CF playing an Above-Average RF instead.
Listen, I'm not saying this is going to be a trade that Minaya is going to hang his hat on 5 years from now, but it's not as bad a trade as you're making it out to be either.
FYI: 'Church can't hit lefties' is a bit of an overstatement. He's hit .254/.331/.392/.723 against them in his career in 209 PA. That's not THAT terrible....and he's still young enough in his career that there's hope for him to improve in that area. If he improves marginally (To maybe a 750-775ish OPS), there will be no need for someone to platoon with him for the 30 games against Lefties.
Last edited by Ven0m; 02-26-2008 at 05:12 PM.
P.S. I almost feel like Milledge could be the next Kevin Mitchell.
Anytime we inquired on the Haren's, Johan's etc and mentioned Milledge as part of the package it was the same as when the Yanks thought Melky was viable trade bait.....teams said no thanks as Venom pointed out in hs post.
They are going to play him in CF and they didnít want to play Church there. Thatís why the offense doesnít have to be equal and another reason why we gave up too much in the trade. Oh yeah, he has work ethic issues too. Great.
8 years? Why would it be 8 years? Church is 29.5 now and probably exiting his prime as we speak.
Did anyone ever figure that one out? Like what years are considered your prime? I defiantly would think you are still in it at 29. Johan will be 29 next month. He's got a few "Johan" like years left in him, but I would think pitchers primes are a bit shorter than hitter.
Last edited by Tyler Durden; 02-26-2008 at 07:38 PM.