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Damn Prospect Huggers

Mike SteffanosFriday, February 24, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

There were a couple of excellent looks at Mets top prospect Lastings Milledge that I linked to below. John Heyman's Newsday column was very good. The one thing that I will nitpick slightly is the following statement:

If he's thrown into a trade, there will be an outcry completely out of proportion to his modest accomplishments. Practically no one in New York knows anything beyond the stats and reviews. Yet, everyone craves to behold him.

My problem is with this notion that lumps all of us together that would like to see players like Milledge actually play major league baseball with the Mets. There is this caricature of us, primarily perpetrated by the perpetually pompous Mike Francesa on WFAN, that we are so blindly excited by hearing anything good about a Mets prospect that we won't accept the possibility that said prospect might be of more value in a trade than wearing a Mets uniform. In other words, we get so attached to the idea of these youngsters that we value them beyond what they actually are. In fairness, I'm sure there are a small number of folks out there that would fit this description.

As for the rest of us, we're just plain tired of being patronized by media types and even some fellow Mets fans. For the record, I am not categorically against any trade involving Lastings Milledge -- or any other Mets prospect for that matter. What I am against is trading promising young players for mid-30s type aging superstars time after time. It's a philosophy the team has followed time and again, to very bad results. More on this soon.

All I ask of Omar Minaya, if he decides that Milledge can provide more value to the Mets in a trade than playing for them, is to please bring back a player whose prime years could be spent here in New York. We have enough guys on the team right now -- Pedro, Delgado, Wagner -- with big contracts that will be on the decline before those contracts expire. Let's balance the risk in our player portfolio with some youngsters who still have their futures ahead of them.

Bergen Record: SNY Update
John Brennan provides an update on what's going on with SportsNet New York. I get a lot of questions on this. It doesn't look like my local cable company in Connecticut will carry this channel. I'm not going to bother putting one of those on-line petitions together. My cable company is so small, and my area reeks mostly of the foul stench of Yankee and Red Sox fans. It wouldn't be worth the effort. I'm just waiting on whether DirecTv or DISH carries SNY to dump my cable. As Brennan reports, there is no word on an agreement with either satellite provider or Cablevision yet.

Matthew Cerrone at MetsBlog had an update on Cablevision yesterday that those of you affected can check out here.

Mets.com: The Lastings shall be first
Bryan Hoch has a really nice profile on Mets minor league phenom Lastings Milledge, who was named the ninth best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. Hoch quotes Milledge who is that rare player that admits to reading what is written about him:

I want to soak all of it up. When they say that's my weakness, I don't want it to be my weakness anymore. They can have some good stuff that you really need to know.

It might be that 90 percent of it is wrong. But what about that 10 percent? What if that can turn you around and makes you a Hall of Fame player? What if?

It might not be like that for the next player. But I know it works for me.

Newsday: More Milledge Time
Jon Heyman also has a long look at the Mets' wunderkind. An unnamed scout provides Heyman with a heads up on Milledge:

The word that comes to mind is explosive. He has explosiveness in his foot speed and explosiveness in his bat speed. He's got all the ingredients to be a big-time player.

He's going to be an exciting player and an emotional player. He's going to have peaks and valleys. But his highs are going to be very high. The power will play more in the big leagues than his speed. Some see him as a gap hitter. I see him as an extra-base hitter with speed.

The Journal News: Reyes a work in progress
John Delcos has a feature on Jose Reyes, who needs to make some progress as a leadoff hitter this season for the Mets to be all that they can be.

Daily News: Pedro and the WBC
Adam Rubin lays out a scenario for Pedro Martinez' possible participation in the World Baseball Classic, but then quotes Gene Orza from the player's union that any participation is unlikely:

My understanding is that Pedro, very frankly, is doubtful. He wants to play. Nobody wants to play more than Pedro does. So, if it's at all possible, he will play. I think it's kind of a day-to-day thing. Obviously his toe is still an issue. I know he's been working very closely with the people of Nike to try and address that. I spoke with a representative of Pedro in the last 24 hours. It's still possible he will play. I think at best it's 50/50 right now.

NY Times: Second Base
Ben Shpigel does a great job of looking at the battle for second base.

Mets.com: Odds and Ends
Bryan Hoch also fills us in on some happenings around camp, including Kaz Matsui going yard on Billy Wagner in batting practice. Hoch also reports that Jorge Julio and Anderson Garcia have still not reported to camp because they are having visa problems. This boggles my mind -- both of these guys have played in this country before. Julio has 4 full seasons in the majors. That's okay, though, it's not like he needs the work or anything...

On a lighter note, Hoch relates a funny story from Cliff Floyd, who was intimidated into a lie by a hall of fame pitcher.

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