In a recent poll, 58% of Mets fans don’t want the Mets to trade Milledge. I’m not exactly sure, but I bet that back in April less than half that amount would have voted to hang on to Milledge. I’m one of them.
I understand how important it is for the Mets to address their shortcomings in the bullpen and in the rotation, but trading Milledge to fill those holes may not be in the Mets’ best interest right now.
In many ways Lastings Milledge reminds me a lot of a young Jason Bay. Besides the similarities in their size and builds, their minor league career numbers and even their first cup of coffee in the major leagues are remarkably similar.
It took Jason Bay 170 more at-bats to get as many extra base hits (2B, 3B, HR) as Lastings Milledge did.
The organization traded Jason Bay in 2002 for Steve Reed and Jason Middlebrook, in an attempt to bolster their bullpen. One year later one of them would never pitch again in the majors, and the other would be waived. Jason Bay went on to win the Rookie of the Year award and become an All Star.
Lets not make that same mistake again.
What makes Milledge even more remarkable than Jason Bay is that Milledge was called up at the age of 21, a full two years before Jason Bay made his debut. Milledge put up his lofty minor league numbers by being the youngest player at each level as he moved along from A to AAA.
Milledge can be just as good a player as Carlos Beltran is today. He has the speed, the arm, the bat, and the glove to be a complete player. He may have looked pretty shaky in right field last season, but it was the first time he played a position other than center field in his career. Remember when he filled in at center field for the injured Carlos Beltran and you saw him make those two spectacular diving catches? That was the real lastings Milledge.
I opened this post with the question, "Is Lastings Milledge Ready For Prime Time?"
The answer is an emphatic yes!