Remember our first teenage hitting machine? No, not F-Mart, the one before him, Lastings Milledge.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Milledge is currently the youngest free agent on the market. Of course that alone would not be a good enough reason for putting Milledge back in a Mets uniform, but there are some compelling reasons to consider such a possibility.
As Mike Axisa points out, it wasn’t that long ago that Milledge was one of the game’s very best prospects. Baseball America ranked him as the ninth best prospect in baseball prior to the 2006 season, a year after they dubbed him the 11th best.
His attitude and ego definitely impacted his stay with the Mets and not long after his first cup of coffee, he was shipped off to the Nationals in return for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church, neither of whom made a significant impact during their time with the Mets.
Milledge is only 25 and one could argue that his best days are still ahead of him, but more important than that comes the hope his attitude and respect for the game has changed. There’s a great chance that he can still blossom into the type of player many scouts expected him to be in the coming seasons.
Considering how little it would take to sign him, it might be a worthy gamble for the Mets, and if he did step up his performance, how fitting would it be if he did it with the team that selected him in the first round of the 2003 Amateur Draft?
Milledge can play all three outfield positions, which is exactly what the Mets need from their fourth outfielder. He has a nice combination of some speed and some pop and in about three seasons worth of at-bats he has posted a .269 average and a .723 OPS. Numbers that are certainly not bad for a fourth outfielder, but also numbers that can get even better given he is still a player with great upside.
He’s certainly worthy of consideration when you look at the Mets current options of Jason Pridie or worse.
What do you think?
Here is a video from SNY, of an interview Kevin Burkhardt did with Milledge at the end of last season.