With New Additions on Bench, Milledgeís Days Numbered?|
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Over the last two seasons, the New York Mets have made a habit of signing some of the best players available during the off-season in an effort to bolster their club. Despite not making any splashes in the free agent pool this season, with players the likes of Jason Schmidt and Barry Zito signing with and the Dodgers and Giants, the Mets have found a way to bolster a bench that already had proven commodities like Julio Franco and Endy Chavez there.
While itís obvious that the additions of Ben Johnson, Damion Easley and David Newhan arenít as important to the teamís success as the resigning of Tom Glavine or the acquisition of Moises Alou, they do give the Mets added depth on the bench and will make sure that the team wonít be forced on making waiver deals for journeymen like Ricky Ledee or calling up over the hill outfielders like Michael Tucker if theyíre forced to deal with injuries during the course of the season.
As well, the additions of Johnson, Easley and Newhan may also give the Mets an opportunity to deal Lastings Milledge, whose weekend in Fenway last summer proved to be enough for most fans in Flushing. Currently ranked among the top ten prospects in the game, dealing Milledge could possibly nab New York a number four or five starter to help cement a rotation that is currently facing a myriad of concern. Also considering the fact that the organization seems to think Carlos Gomez may be the next big time outfielder to come out of the organization, itís easy to conclude that Milledge may not be in Queens much longer.
Even if Milledge wound up making the team out of spring training, it would be hard to find playing time for the youngster with the likes of Shawn Green, Carlos Beltran and Alou patrolling the outfield and the uber dependable Chavez on the bench. If the Mets do decide to carry five outfielders, it would be someone more like Johnson, who seems to have more poise and power than Milledge, or the left-handed hitting Newhan, who has better than average speed and has played every infield position in his career, in addition to the outfield.
Either way you think about it, it seems almost obvious that Milledge isnít going to figure in any plans the team has for this season and with the Mets still looking for a way to bolster their starting rotation, a deal almost imminent at this point.
The only question is who can Omar Minaya get for Milledge?
That answer may come a lot sooner than most people think.