By Mike Steffanos
When something big happens, whether it's with the Mets or anything else in my life, I like to give it a day to percolate through my thoughts before I really try to explain how I feel about it. In the case of yesterday's trade with the Nationals, I still stand behind my initial position; I just don't like the deal. Just a few added thoughts.
While I'm not a fan of this trade, I don't put it on a level of the Kazmir trade as some have done. One thing, though, Kazmir was traded to Tampa Bay, whereas Milledge was traded to a divisional foe. I'm not a big fan of inter-division deals, particularly when the player with the big potential upside is the one leaving the team.
I think I saw enough from Milledge last season to feel fairly confident that he will be at least an above-average player on this level, with a decent chance of being a star. In my opinion, great teams find a way to leverage talent, even if it comes with some baggage as young Lastings does. I think the baggage is somewhat overblown anyway. Milledge has been compared at times to Gary Sheffield, who brings his own baggage along, but also has been a winner.
I don't believe that solid defensive/no hit catchers like Schneider are as important today as they were when pitching dominated the game in the sixties and seventies. I think their lack of offense hurts a club more than throwing out a few extra baserunners helps. I also think that, at 31, Schneider is at an age where I expect his defense, the one plus he really brings, to decline. Indeed, that already seems to have happened. I honestly believe that even in a best-case scenario that what upgrade Schneider brings over a Castro/Estrada pairing is minimal at best, when it comes to the bottom line of winning games.
Church brings some skills, both offensively and defensively. While I don't agree with my colleague John Strubel that he is a fourth outfielder, I think his R/L splits show clearly he needs to be platooned with a solid right-handed bat in RF. My worry with the Mets is that instead of doing that, they will stubbornly try to play Church everyday, even against LHPs, with predictable results.
Omar claims that this is like the Benson trade, which fans (including me) initially didn't like. I don't agree. In that one, the Mets were trading away a known quantity -- Benson -- in return for the potential of Jorge Julio and John Maine. In this one, the talent is going the opposite way.
I had hoped that we had ceased to be the team that traded away talent for lesser talented, more experienced players. I can't kill Omar for this deal. It's not as bad as some of you think it is. It's disappointing, though. Will Milledge be yet another in a long line of players who became stars elsewhere while the Mets had little in return to show for the deal? Only time will tell. I can only hope that deals like this one become the rule, rather than the exception.
Lisa's stepfather passed away. It wasn't unexpected, but I will be occupied with supporting her rather than this blog. I probably won't have time to answer all of the great comments and emails about this deal, but know that I appreciate them.