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Welcome 2007

Mike SteffanosMonday, January 1, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

It's late and I'm tried, but I couldn't let the first day of the new year pass without checking in. I wrote yesterday that I was leery over rumors of a deal of Lastings Milledge for Oakland's Joe Blanton. Baseball Prospectus' Nate Silver makes a compelling case for not doing the proposed deal.

No doubt that Milledge has gotten a lot of bad ink, and wasn't able to produce much in his first taste of the majors, but it's amazing that so many seem to be willing to give up such a big talent for so little. Blanton is a fifth starter in a good rotation. Milledge has a good chance of being a star. If the Mets can't get value in return -- and Blanton doesn't qualify -- they're better off holding onto him. Some Bay area writers have speculated that the A's could receive Milledge, Aaron Heilman and another prospect for Blanton, and that's just plain insane.

We keep hearing that Billy Beane loves Milledge. If that's true, than he can stop trying to steal him and offer up real value. I don't blame him for testing just how desperate the Mets are for pitching, but Silver is right, this one doesn't make sense even short-term.

Mets.com's Marty Noble has a 2007 preview online, which, interestingly enough, hypothesizes a starting rotation of Tom Glavine, Orlando Hernandez, John Maine, Mike Pelfrey and Jason Vargas that doesn't include Oliver Perez. I guess Noble isn't a big believer in the erratic lefty, who so many of us (including me) have developed a man-crush on. I find it odd that he placed Vargas, another erratic lefty who really struggled in both the majors and minors last season, in the rotation rather than Perez.

I'm sure they will do the same as last year, which means that Noble will pen a piece previewing every aspect of the team. When he does the pitching staff I'll be curious to read what he has to say. And for what little it's worth, I'd still bet on Oliver Perez starting the season in the rotation unless he is traded away.

Finally, FoxSports.com's Dayne Perry thinks Omar has proved himself to be really smart. Perry thinks the move that makes sense would be for the Mets to take a flyer on Mark Mulder. I don't know, I like Mulder but I think if they sign anyone, it should be someone ready to pitch in April.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (6)

To be honost, I know we all want Milledge to hit like .300 with 25 homeruns and 100 RBI in his first season, but to be honost, I don't understand this whole "not producing" in his first taste of the majors. Milledge was THE youngest player in the National League in 2006. And he hit .240. JUST 5 more hits that happened to drop in and he's a .270 hitter. We may not have noticed it but he did hit for power he had 4 dingers.
I just don't understand what fans are expecting from him. Everything about this kid is negative and most of is not even his fault. Its the over-reaction people are having to his production and to his imaginary and fake "attitude" problems.

And I wouldn't read too much into Noble not mentioning O-Perez. He's old man, he probably just forgot. The other day he said that ERA K/9 H/9 and all those things are not adequate enough to judge a pitcher, its gotta be W-L on how you judge pitchers. Whatever...

"IF" Mulder would be signed, it would be like getting a pitcher at the trading deadline, Pedro also, it could be a strong second half. I would not trade milledge for a 500 type pitcher. Willis or a Josh Beckett would be more to my thinking. I feel Perez could be a #3 or #4 in our rotation, he can be a real gem in the rough.

Benny - That's not fair. I've been defending Milledge on this site consistently since last year, and you been around often enough to know that. When I said that he wasn't able to produce much his first time around I wasn't knocking him, just acknowledging the truth. It's not my fault that most of the beat writers have an agenda to drive the kid out of town. Take your frustrations out with them. As I've said, the kid has a real chance to be a star. Trading him for a rotation-filler like Blanton doesn't make sense.

I'm also not reading anything into Noble leaving Perez out of his projected rotation. I found it interesting, and am curious whether he did forget or he honestly thinks Perez won't be a starter here. I don't need Noble to tell me what to think any more than you or the rest of my readers need me to tell you what to think, but I'd be interested in reading his reasons why if if he really thinks Perez doesn't make it. I like hearing what other people think. Noble is old-school in his thinking, and I don't agree with everything he says, including giving Trachsel way too much credit for 15 wins last year, but he knows baseball, and I find him interesting whether I agree or not.

As for me, I think Perez is in the rotation, and I'm sticking to that.

Rev - I still think they need someone early in the year. Besides Pedro, I think you have Pelfrey, Humber and possibly a guy like Vargas ready to step in later in the year. If you go after anyone at all, it's someone who can pitch in April -- at least that's what I would do.

Good buzz on MetsBlog: This time last year, Oliver Perez was expected to be the Pirates #1... Dave Williams the Reds #2 or #3.... Jason Vargas the Marlins #3 or #4 or #5....somebody should shine out of that bunch, I hope.

Hopefully a couple of them.

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