Apparently Lastings Milledge is available. Non-tendered by the non-serious Pirates, looking to extend their streak of losing seasons to a truly stupefying 19, LMillz is now a free agent.
How the mighty fall. Seems like it was not that long ago that WFAN loudmouths were speculating that the Red Sox might want Milledge in a trade for another current free agent, Manny Ramirez.
Milledge was a fan favorite for a while with the Mets and was once one of the jewels of the farm system. His major league career has been less than impressive.
Still, Milledge is just 25, and has never even been paid $500,000 in a year. In other words, he might be very, very inexpensive.
The Met outfield situation is quite unclear. Yes, opening day will surely see Bay, Beltran, and Pagan. Bay will play every day if healthy, pretty much regardless of how poorly he hits. Beltran, if healthy (surely always a big “if” at this point with Beltran) will as well. Pagan may or may not already have a wing being readied for him in Cooperstown by Met fans, and if he does decide to play this year and therefore delay his election into the HOF, he will play every day too.
But the backups? Evans? Duda? FMart? Loads of potential, but very little proven at the MLB level. These three will be given every chance to make the squad, but the likely reality is that FMart and Duda play every day in Buffalo, and Evans makes the team due to his versatility and experience.
So what about LMillz? Is he worth a shot, were he to accept a 1-year deal with something like half a million guaranteed? Would he want to return to NY and try to rebuild his career? Can we say for sure that his unfulfilled potential no longer exists?
If he did enough in Florida to win a spot as 4th outfielder, he certainly would get his share of playing time, as Beltran and Pagan staying healthy for 160 games is, well, not likely. Beltran also will definitely not be a Met longer than then last day of 2011, at the latest. Milledge might cherish the chance to return to NY, and be extra-motivated to have a chance to rebound, and basically audition for a starting spot on the 2012 Mets, if not the post-trade deadline 2011 Mets.
This is not a slam-dunk move, but all things considered (age, cost, previous Met experience, speed) this is a move which might really be a sleeper for the Mets.
Cheap, exciting, still young, liked by many fans—LMillz should be given serious thought as 4th outfielder for the 2011 Mets should he be interested in the position.