Nats score big with Milledge
November, 30, 2007
Lastings Milledge is still one of the better young outfield prospects in the game. By dealing him for an awful player in Brian Schneider, the Mets sold low on a former first-round pick with a lot of upside and committed two years and too much money to a catcher who can't hit. The Mets get ... nothing, or close to it. Schneider will earn $10.3 million over the next two years to sit behind the plate when the rules call for it, and to make 300-odd outs at the plate while hitting .230/.320/.330 or thereabouts. He is the definition of replacement level -- his offensive production was roughly as valuable as what Guillermo Quiroz did in eleven plate appearances for Texas last year -- and paying him $10 million is bad enough. Giving up something of value to acquire that contract is horrible. It would be better to pay Johnny Estrada $3-4 million to be bad for one year than Schneider over $10 million to be worse for two years. There's a small silver lining for the Mets in the acquisition of Ryan Church, a capable platoon bat in left or right field if you have a right-handed caddy for him. Unlike Schneider, he has value on a big league roster, but even swapping Milledge straight-up for Church wouldn't make sense because of Church's struggles against lefties, his long history of minor injuries, his age and his expense as a super-two player this winter.