I’m sure most Mets fans remember when Milledge was the highly-touted first-round Mets’ draft pick who made a big splash in the major leagues after an impressive climb through the minors. Milledge seemed to have it all plus that special charisma that should have made him a star in New York.
But it all seemed to fall apart rather quickly and soon Milledge was labeled as a self-centered, self-promoting rookie who “didn’t know his place” and was shipped to Washington for what at the time seemed like an underwhelming package of Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. None of the principals in the trade really did much with their new teams and Milledge proved a disappointment everywhere he went from Washington to Pittsburgh to the White Sox.
Before the 2012 season, his major league career stalled, Milledge signed to play in Japan. Back in May, I read how Milledge was unproductive and disillusioned and found it hard to adjust to life in Japan and figured this is the end of the line, but a recent post on NBC Sports’ Hardball site featured Milledge and noted he was “second in the CL in average and third in homers” as of August 31st.
I have to admit, I’ve always been a fan of Milledge. He was one of the few recent Mets’ #1 picks I was excited about and I loved his swagger and fan-friendly style even if teammates and the front office felt differently. He’ll be 28 years old next season and I think it would be fitting if he were given another chance with the Mets. Who knows? It could become a real feel-good story if he finally makes it and this is the kind of creative move I expected from Sandy Alderson and staff that they haven’t made so far.
I admit I don’t know Milledge’s contract status in Japan, but based on earlier reports, it didn’t seem like staying there was a life plan for him and I’m sure he’d welcome another shot to become the star in New York he thought he was meant to be.
I’m sure a lot of disillusioned Mets fans would laugh at this idea and consider it as tired and ill-advised as penciling Jeremy Hefner in next year’s starting rotation. Sure I’d prefer one of the Upton brothers or maybe even Delmon Young in the Mets’ outfield next year, but bringing back Milledge would at least create a glimmer of hope that the front office is trying improve the team however possible given its financial constraints.