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The Milledge Deal -- The Day After

Mike SteffanosSaturday, December 1, 2007
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.

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 (9)

Mike...I think this trade impacts the 'chemistry' of the squad in a positive way...let's see what develops in the next two weeks...we are a trade away and I really believe it IS going to happen!

I think Omar has a reason to obtain those players so he could use them for trading baits for upcoming new pitcher from other teams.... I would love to have Kris Benson back if he can just leave his wife in Baltimore and vows not to attend any of Mets' home games.

It is not the trade itself which is so bad, but the THOUGHT process behind it- History proves that most players are done at age 34(look it up-pick players at random on baseball reference, so trading youth for age is usually a foolish enterprise-I didnt like the Jacobs trade for that same reason- yes we got a very good year out of Delgado in 06, last year not so much-this year he will probably be.270 25HR 90RBI, but in 2 more years when he is done, Jacobs will still be playing and producing(granted 1B are not that hard to find). I fear that Omar is following the path that led top the disasters of the 90s-trade youth for "veteran presence"(if it was THAT important, we should still have a staff of Seaver Koosman Ryan Gentry-that would be some serious veteran presence). When DOc was 19, I dont remember anyone saying he needed "seasoning", When Wright came up (he should have been in the bigs to START the season), only WIllie thouhgt he needed to "earn his chops".While experience helps,TALENT wins, not experience. ANd in trading Milledge, the mets gave up more than they received

I would think the mets have to include Ryan Church in a trade, lets say , for Bedard. Just to satisfy the fans, for letting Milage go.maybe sweetten it with Bradford and all would be forgiven?

"Trading baits" as Tropp put it, seems to be the way that Omar thought of the Milledge deal. My smelt for your minnows....

How about xnady and Church platoon the of. lh/rh/and then we could trade any of the prospects left? for pitching.They can fill in at 1st also.

Luis- the Jacobs deal is why the Mets have Matt Carps in AA and Chad Tracy in AAA. They're both potential replacements after this season for Delgado. And let's not forget that the Mets won't say no to the free agent market as far as 1B are concerned in the future, as well. Think the Mets won't be offering Mark Texiera a big contract down the line? Also, Jacobs is just an average player; he's got power, but he's also prone to alot of slumps, and strikes out alot. If it wasn't for injuries last year, the Delgado of 2006 would probably have been in order.

Rev Al- Nady might be released by the Pirates; that would be a move I'd do as well. The only thing is, is that I think Church's a better defender than Nady is. And as for the other Mets prospects, I'd include only one of the major OF prospects along with at least one major pitching prospect for a deal, along with some lesser talent.

I get the feeling plan "B" is going to take place: sign Livan, sign Silva, sign Dotel and save the kids for Citi field. or July trading deadline? I think I can live with that.

Please express my sympathy for Lisa and her family. I will keep you all in my prayers.

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