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I Hate This Deal

Mike SteffanosFriday, November 30, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


Multiple sources are confirming that the Mets have traded Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for 32-year-old C Brian Schneider and 29-year-old OF Ryan Church.

I understand that Milledge's stock as a prospect has taken a hit over the last couple of years, but the mediocre return on this deal makes me wish the Mets just rolled the dice with Milledge in RF in 2008. This is one we could really regret.

Schneider is a defensive upgrade to Estrada behind the plate, but not a huge one. Offensively, his lifetime .252/.323/.377 batting line is anemic even for a catcher. Last season was even worse: .235/.326/.336, with 6 HR in 408 ABs.

Church is a good OBP guy, but his power numbers are unexceptional. I wouldn't be surprised if Milledge matched Church's production right now, given the chance to play a full season in the OF.

If this was all the Mets could get for Milledge, then I honestly believe it would have been a better gamble to see if Lastings couldn't increase his trade value next season. It will be impossible to defend Minaya on this deal if Milledge reaches anything close to his potential. Moreover, making this deal with a division rival only increases the potential harm to the Mets if Lastings does become a star.

I need a drink...

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 (20)

This deal makes me sick to my stomach. I'm sure 90 % of Mets fans agree. This is one of those deals like Kazmir/Zambrano that looks awful from the moment it's made as opposed to so many other Mets trades that didn't work out, but seemed OK at the time. I was against trading Milledge unless he brought back a proven ace starter. I will allow Omar a couple of weeks to show me that he can make the moves needed to make us look forward to the upcoming season. Right now, I have no enthusiasm for the team. Unfortunately, where I live in NC, all Washington home and road games are blacked out on the Extra Innings package, so I may never see Lastings Milledge until the All-Star game.

The Estrada deal looks more like a salary dump now, what with Schneider coming in. He'll probably be included in a trade or outrighted. Schneider's a better fielder and defensive catcher by far than Estrada ever could be. Let's stop thinking for a second about the great offensive catchers we've been dealing with (and let's face it, we've been spoiled with Piazza/Lo Duca) and start realizing that most of the league has defensive guys that help you win.

The really good part of the deal is that they got Ryan Church, who's got FAR more upside than Milledge has. His numbers will improve in the Mets lineup- keep in mind, he was in the weak hitting Nationals lineup. This is the equivalent of getting a (probably better) version of Xavier Nady. While we're at it, let's look at the fact that he's a potential extra-base hit machine. 43 doubles last year and 15 home runs. I'll take that. He's also a better fielder than Milledge is, and probably ever will be.

This deal also looks to be the precursor to another deal. I don't think the Mets are done just yet.

Spare me this drivel about upside potential. Milledge is 22yrs old forG-ds sake...his attitude, which might be a product of media overkill, will be modifies by the good example of the surrounding veteran players...Mill will be a good player for years to come but Church make any appreciable difference comapred to a incredibly young and malleable outfield corps...Omar appears lost and vulnerable...desperate even. What is the meaning of giving up a fledgling prospect for 31 and 29 yrs old players who are absolutely mediocre??...how does this improve our future...Mets Inc. must decide whether its all or nothing now, or de we build for the long term...Im disgusted...and borderline apathetic...what happened to us??

My heart sank today the exact same way it did when we traded Kazmir. This was clearly a horrible horrible trade. Massively dissapointed. Not only that but we have to see 19 games a year of Milledge succeeding, because lets face it he will. He is 22 and never even been given a chance to play full time and showed flashed of greatness. Soon the phrase "pulling a Milledge" will replace "pulling a Kazmir"

I don't like this trade but I'm not going to go crazy over it. I never loved Lastings but I did expect good stats from him nest year. Obviously, his stock fell significantly (if you follow trade rumors) and who really knows what he does in the clubhouse. I would like to wait-and-see before I condemn Omar.

I don't like this trade but I'm not going to go crazy over it. I never loved Lastings but I did expect good stats from him nest year. Obviously, his stock fell significantly (if you follow trade rumors) and who really knows what he does in the clubhouse. I would like to wait-and-see before I condemn Omar.

Unless Omar is packaging Church in another trade to a team that needs a CF and didn't like Milledge, I really don't understand the move at all. What happened to not wanting to waste chips before getting a pitcher? Omar is the only GM in baseball who didn't read Moneyball. Church is another guy who strikes out too much (107 k's last year in only 440 ab's, he isn't a power hitter and only 3 sb's) and Schneider hit .235 with only 6 hr's!!! What am I missing? Was Milledge not a Met's top prospect just two years ago? Do the Mets now have to add them both to the 40 man roster and subject another player to the Rule 5 draft? That is how the Nat's got Flores who put up better numbers than Schnieder this year! Another lefty just makes the Mets more vunerable against lefty pitching. Milledge hit 7 homeruns in only 184 at bats and hit .272 and he is still only 22 years old!!! If Milledge's value was so low I agree with the other comments, why not keep him?? It is always a mistake to sell low. This may be the worst trade Omar has made so far.

Mike, I'm on a diet and on the wagon. I can't even get a drink. I wonder what pictures Bowden or Acta have on Omar/Willie to force this fire sale deal. Just read this piece from another site:

Milledge was the Mets 1st round pick (12th overall) of the 2003 amateur draft. The Lakewood Ranch HS product is considered to be a five-tool talent and the Mets best outfield prospect. Baseball America ranked him as the No.1 prospect in the Mets organization for 2004. He was also given the award for Best Athlete and Best Defensive Outfielder for 2004. Played in the Arizona Fall League in 2005. It was a banner year for Milledge in 2005 as BA awarded him the award for No.1 prospect in the organization for the 2nd year in a row. He also earned the Best Hitter for Average, Best Athlete and Best Defensive OF awards as well. Milledge quickly moved through each level, contributing with both his bat and his speed. In 2006, Milledge was the youngest player in the Major Leagues when he was called up to the Mets. Lastings Milledge is a native of Bradenton, Florida.

ugh

ugh

ugh

ugh

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ugh

ugh

... sigh ... the life of a met fan

I don't like the deal, but it's def not Kazmir for Zambrano. Kazmir had superstar written all over him, and that deal had panick written all over it, as it was made like 20 min before the deadline in 04. Although not everything Minaya has done is smart, hes no idiot. The mets could have gotten a ton for Scott Kazmir, I dont think the same can be said for milledge. I think it says something that GM's that were once enamored with Milledge's ability (ala Beane) don't have interest in him anymore. But I have to agree with Mike on this, if this was all you were gonna get for him, why not keep him as your rf in 08. So I don't like this deal, but its no Kazmir trade.

Harlan, I understand Milledge has been our organizations most touted prospect over the last 3 years. But just remember he was not as highly regarded compared to other prospects around baseball. Young,Maybin,Bruce,J.Upton and a few others were all rated as better OF prospects than Milledge. I understand why people are upset, but he is/was not on the same level as Kazmir/reyes/wright. Those guys were regarded as top players in all the minors, not just the mets minors. I think Milledge will be good, but he will not be a superstar like Reyes Wright and Kazmir. If I were going to have to project stats for milledge I would say in his prime he'll put up Jose Guillen type numbers 280-20/25 hrs and 90-100rbi. Thats good, but def not a superstar. Still for Ryan Church and a defensive catcher this seems like selling pretty low.

I CAN'T SAY "NOTHIN".........I hope I wake up and see the headline of a blockbuster trade the Mets pull off and then understand why this one was made?..... Its a very little hope. Omar you let me down. I would have liked the same team of 2006 instead of this one. we screwed everything up.

I don't think this is THAT bad of a deal. Especially compared to the Kazmir for Zambrano brain fart by Jim Duquette / Rick Peterson. #1, they didn't give up their top OF prospect, that would be Martinez, followed by Gomez. #2, they didn't give up any pitching, which is always a plus. I will say this, had they given up a pitcher in this deal, then I'd agree that it's bad. But they got a catcher who can handle a pitching staff and throws decently (which, btw, is more important that catcher offense) and a decent lefty swinging OF'er who can play all three spots. I guess my point is that they have not hurt their chances of getting a frontline starter, i.e., Haren, Blanton, etc.

Nothing like a deal to bring the fannies home to roost. This one would actually be a great deal for the Mets if it included Jon Rauch and sent a Collazo or Burgos to the Nats. Church is a very good platoon guy in rightfield and a cheaper, younger and better upgrade over Shawn Green, especially defensively. Schneider is one of the best backstops in the game, but leaves much to be desired as a hitter. Perhaps akin to Jerry Grote and that was never a bad thing from the Mets point of view.

With Schneider, Reyes, Castillo and Beltran, the Mets are among the best up-the-middle teams in baseball, if not THE best, and that can do nothing but help the pitching staff. No doubt about it! But my guess is that this opens the door for other deals. They have three quality catchers and need two. They have two excellent defensive rightfielders who hit lefthanded and have slightly different batting styles (Church and Chavez), both of whom can play the other two outfield spots.

Milledge has talent and should have a good career. Key word is "should." Minaya knows what these two players are capable of and Church could still improve. Cutting down his strikeouts would be high on the list.

A 2009 outfield of Beltran, Church, Chavez, Gomez and Martinez, still means someone is expendable. And they have not dealt any of their young pitching as of yet. If the parlay is in play, then lets wait and see.

dear hysterical met fans, please take some reality medication..have u all forgotten the embarrassment of milledge almost getting hit in the head by a flyball in fenway park?the next time he hits a breaking pitch will be a first.have u forgotten him running at half speed (rickey henderson like)to run down a extra base hit in game 162 against the marlins?? please stop the comparisons to kazmir.they are ludicrous.remember the last 5 tool talent we kept hearing about..alex escobar..i guess i missed all the all star games he's been in since we got rid if him.the only thing i can fault omar for is he didn't dump his overrated behind a year ago, when we probably could have gotten a starter for him.schneider is a upgrade over loduca defensively and church probably will match or exceed anything milledge probably does.omar still has to get starting pitching, but obviously milledge was not going to get any kind of a starter in return.i'm also happy we'll have one less guy dancing outside the dugout when he does something he's paid a lot of money to do.WHEN THE METS WIN A WORLD SERIES, THAN WE CAN DO A SAMBA LINE!!!UNTIL THEN, PLEASE NO MORE DANCING..

What really urks me about this deal is the timing more than the value. Why isn't this a deal Omar could have pulled in February or March if Milledge was still around?

With that said, I'd like to say a few things in defense of the deal:

1. Church's power numbers are understated. He hit a ton of doubles last year (43 in 470 ABs) and he should be able to do the same at Shea with a little more HR pop. His numbers actually stack up fairly with Xavier Nady (who he'd make a devestating platoon with btw). He hit .287 / .360 / .506 against right handed pitching last year, and also hit .278 / .342 / .506 away from RFK. He's basically an upgraded Shawn Green, which is fine for me in RF. Plus he's got a good proven glove, and can play all three outfield positions well. He'll be one of the better #7 hitters in the NL, if not the best.

2. I liked Milledge a lot, but one of the problems I had with the Mets last year was a lack of prime-aged players. It seemed they a bunch of youngsters feeling their way to success and making the occasional crucial mistake (Wright excluded, although he had that cold start) and older veterans who were not only constant injury risks but also complacency risks. Church, Schneider, and even Estrada provide age upgrades at their positions.

3. Omar is saying to all the GMs who are spitting on his prospects simply because they can than he's not going to sit around and wait while they placate the Red Sox and Yankees power struggle. This deal really shouldn't hurt the Mets THAT badly. Even if Milledge hits his age ceiling the next two seasons, is it likely he'll outperform Church? Probably not. This affords Omar a chance to find a big bat to upgrade in LF if one becomes available to him, and Church can cheaply and effectively hold down RF until Gomez or F-Mart are ready.

4. Omar may have to get creative this offseason. Everyone's talking about moving Estrada, but I think the real chip at that position might be Castro. He gave the Mets a really solid deal when he could have probably got something closer to starter money elsewhere. He could be very appealing for a team looking for a good, cheap, high risk high reward solution at Catcher. Plus if anyone bites, the Mets could use the deadline to Tender Estrada a contract as pressure, since Castro would no longer be expendable if the Mets let Estrada walk.

Another thought might be the Brewers. They desperately need someone with closer potential, right now its probably between Riske and Turnbow. They have an excess of young starters. Maybe Omar could fleece someone like Manny Parra away for Aaron Heilman and a prospect.

I have to disagee (at least to a point) with the majority opinion. I just don't view Milledge as highly as most Mets fans. A lot of my concern with Milledge has to do with the intangibles. There are players that do the little things that help you win and players that don't. Milledge consistently hurt the team in this area. He made constant base running mistakes, swung for the fences when he needed to move runners over, got poor breaks on fly balls, over threw the cut off man on regular basis, etc. To me he did not show significant signs of improvement in these areas over the course of the year. Although Milledge was a better hitter than Green or Gomez, when looking at the complete picture, the Mets were simply not a better team when Milledge was on the field.

I realize that Milledge's field awareness will improve some with experience and maturity, but the natural instincts don't seem to be there. I feel his attitude and work ethic will continually hold him back in this regard. He is a flashy player with little substance.

I can certainly understand the feeling that the Mets did not get equal value for Milledge, especially given what they could have gotten for him two years ago. In that way, it is frustrating to come to terms with the extent that his stock has fallen. But at this point in time, Milledge is not an elite prospect. One can argue that it would be smarter to keep Milledge this year in the hopes that he rebuilds some of that value. And I do not necessarily disagree with that argument. However, the Mets have made the determination that they want to compete for a championship in 2008. In my estimation, the Milledge of 2007 was a liability to the Mets. Consequently, gambling on him improving in 2008 might not be worth the risk for a team with the aspirations of the Mets. To me, it seems reasonable to expect the combination of Schneider and Church (when factoring in the positive impact they make on the intangibles of the game) will translate into more wins in 2008 than Milledge would have.

I've been mulling over the trade for a few hours now and I keep coming back to how ballsy a move it was by Omar. This very clearly is not a sexy trade. With how highly regarded Milledge has been to the Mets' fan base, Omar must have known the expectations of the return on a Milledge trade would be much higher than Schneider and Church. He surely had to have anticipated the harsh reaction the trade would receive. Likewise, this is one of those moves that has very little prospect of earning Omar admiration in future analysis. There is the chance that Milledge will become a star and, undoubtedly, Church and Schneider don't have that potential. If Milledge does reach his ceiling, Omar will be judged very harshly for this move. On the flip side, even if Milledge bombs out completely, it seems unlikely that the trade will earn kuddos for Omar. Church and Schneider are not going to put up glamorous numbers (their impact will never translate to statistics). If it ends up in the Mets favor, it will likely be seen as a minor move or just simply forgotten. It is really a no win situation for Omar.

However, that does not mean it is a bad move for the Mets. In fact I could really see Schneider and Church being integral should the Mets have success next year. Like the trade or not, one has to admit Omar really put himself on the line for this one. It was a very selfless move on his part.

Horrible deal.

Yes, Church isn't a bad ballplayer, but he is exactly the type of player who should be available without giving up a potential star. He didn't make it to the mojors to stay until he was what, 27? I think of Chris Jones, who had a pretty good season as a part timer for the Mets in 1995; Church is about that good or possibly slightly better; maybe Danny Heep territory. Certainly not good enough to warrant a 22 year old burner who has shown he can hit in the major leagues.

Actually this is just the sort of deal that losing teams historically make, sending the best player in the deal to a winning team in exchange for a bag of parts. Cleveland sending Graig Nettles to the Yankees for Charlie Spikes and John Ellis, that sort of thing. The talent typically goes the other direction because 1) the weaker team has need of help in several positions, and 2) the good team usually has that sort of players in abundance; what they want is an upgrade, and they are willing to sacrifice bodies to achieve it. It's how Roger Maris became a Yankee

The Mets find themselves in the position of needing help in the outfield and at catching, among other places, in part because they have stripped the system in recent days without moving to replace the players such as Jesus Flores, but also all the pitchers like Lindstrom, Bannister, Owens, Bell, et al. They were servicable players dealt away for what proved to be lesser values; and now we are running dry, too dry to compete with the REALLY good teams for the services of Johann Santana, and aparently too thin at some positions to avoid givaways like this one in the need to address those shortfalls.

It's a great way fpr a team to become mediorce, and to stay mediocre once you get there. Omar is looking less and less like the guy who brought in Carlos Beltran to me, more and more like the Montreal GM who gave up Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore in exchange for three months of Bartolo Colon.

Come on over, Mike. I'm pouring.

Hoo boy, it gets moreso.

I just clicked onto Baseball Musings, to read a self-justifying comment from Omar Minaya regarding Lastings Milledge.

It seems that in his discussions with the other teams for a starting pitcher, none of the teams were that anxious to take on Lastings.

So, from that I gather either that Omar had little use for Milledge, which surprises me since it sure looked to me like he turned a corner last year; or that Omar is ready to subsitute those other GMs' evaluations for his own.

Hell, if all we need is someone to collect other people's opinions, I can do that! I thought we had a decision making, talent evaluating team in place here. Where is Tony Bernezard's input on this blunder?

here's my predictions for 2008 on the trade..schneider .248 ba,7 hr's 48 rbi's, gold glove, church .277 ba, 22 hr's 78 rbi's.milledge becomes first baseball player to win abc's dancing with the stars competition after he retires from baseball in spring training to become a full time rapper.STOP CRYING ABOUT MILLEDGE..player's who don't hustle,pout,can't field and are head cases at 22 are a dime a dozen.he's just another high draft choice of the mets who has been spun as a future star.the new hot star outfielder to be is carlos gomez.he was totally overmatched last year against mlb pitching.i have serious doubts about his "5 tool talents" also.if we can get package him for eric bedard, please omar make the deal and i'll drive gomez to baltimore at my own expense..

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