It's not that I hate him....
Let me preface this by saying that I don't hate Shawn Green. It's not that I think he will be useless either. Sure, he may not have the reflexes of a cat and the speed of a mongoose out there in right field, but that will not hurt the team that much in my opinion. As for his offensive prowess, I do not think he'll particularly suck and there is a likelihood he'll actually be decent.
Now that is out of the way, Lastings Milledge should be starting in right field. For one, watching the Mets play 27 innings of errorless baseball truly outlines the importance of having airtight defense on the baseball field. Furthermore, I think the majority of baseball experts will tell you that there is a strong chance that Milledge should be able to produce more than Shawn at the plate right now. All this does not take into account the fact that he possesses a lot more speed. However, those are not even the only factors at play here. Looking towards the future, it really makes utmost sense.
The Mets have Moises Alou on a one year contract for this season and they have a one year option for the 2008 season. However, we do not know if Alou is going to come back in '08 or play well enough and be healthy enough to warrant them picking up the option. Also, it is entirely possible that he comes back in '08 in a more limited roll. He'll be 42 during next season and has not exactly been the pinnacle of health over the years. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that the Mets would be using both Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez at the corners in 2008. Also, it is not only a possibility, but highly likely that Fernando Martinez will be ready to go by 2009 which would mean the Mets need to figure out sooner rather than later who they want to keep out of three players and that is going to hard without a nice sample size in the bigs.
The idea that any contender would go with two inexperienced players at the corners is just not too realistic. Letting Milledge log some serious innings this year will give him enough experience that should let the Mets feel comfortable with starting both of them in '08 should that be necessary. Also, the depth of this 2007 team gives a tremendous haven for a young guy to play and learn in a relative stress free manner. He is not counted on to the be the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or even 6th option and all that ignores that he would in all likelihood add more value in 2007 than Shawn Green overall.
In the end, it is not that I think Shawn Green is not good enough, but in terms of setting themselves up to be better team not only today but in the future, it makes sense to have Milledge in right. In an ideal world, the Mets get Milledge experience in '07 so in '08 he's more of an asset, Gomez makes the roster in '08 and the Mets won't have two inexperienced guys in the outfield, the Mets figure out who stays between Milledge and Gomez and trades the other for a young stud that fills a need of theirs, and Fernando makes his Mets debut in 2009. There are just too many reasons to put Milledge out there and it really has nothing to do with Green producing or not. In the big picture, it just makes sense.
And just a quick side note, baseball tonight made two excuses for the Yankees on their broadcast. One for Jeter's error up the middle and then one for Pettite throwing to second while Ben Zobrist took off to third on a steal. As if that wasn't enough, they commented about A-Rod's pop up in the eighth and said, "you can't win 'em all the time". Am I the only one who thinks the Yankees do not need any sympathy?
Maine's obviously looking like a steal, now. So why did the Orioles let him get away? I think they were spooked by his numbers in 2005, when he went 6-11 with a 4.56 ERA in Triple-A, and 2-3 with a 6.30 ERA in the majors. But his previous track record in the minors was impressive, he's always had good enough stuff, and since joining the Mets he's done nothing but pitch well. All the spring talk about the shaky Metropolitan rotation seemed to miss the fact that Maine started 15 games in the majors last season and did quite well. Perhaps the improved slider and changeup -- he did have a changeup before, just not a particularly good one -- has made Maine a better pitcher. But I think he was already pretty good, and will continue to be, even if the refinements don't stick.
Which is what us Met fans have been saying. John Maine was getting treated like chopped liver like he never pitched in the bigs before. Now? Now is a different story, but whatever.
The comments on the piece were good as well. One encapsulates what it is like being a Orioles fan and the other just lays down the common sense.
siropsycho (4/5/2007 at 12:59 PM)
such is life as an Orioles fan, Kris Benson gave us one mediocre season and now we have to watch a couple of New York castoffs in Jaret Wright and Steve Trachsel all season
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paul_slinger (4/5/2007 at 1:00 PM)
Didn't Maine pitch well against the Cardinals in last year's NLCS too? He does seem to have been a bit overlooked, although the worry about the Mets' rotation was probably partially because El Duke got hurt in spring training (didn't seem to bother him much two days ago) and the rotation for awhile looked like Glavine, Maine and Joe the icecream vendor from row 12, section 14E.If El Duke is healthy, can stay healthy, and Maine keeps pitching well, I don't think the Mets are really all that worried, and will again be the best team in the NL. That's not even counting on Pedro coming back and being healthy.
So why is Reyes, an All-Star and MVP candidate, still waiting to be featured solo on the sides of buses and subway cars? Not because of his gleaming smile, infectious laugh or pure joy on a baseball field. Despite New York's love affair with the Dominican shortstop, there often can be a gap between the Latino or Asian player and the fan base, from both a marketing and media standpoint.
Why? Because Reyes didn't really arrive until a few weeks into the '06 season and it takes a month or two to realize that what he was doing is not a hot streak but him developing into a mega-star. Wright? He was more highly touted and Reyes had two injury ridden years. I do not want to say he was written off, but people were tentative about him and his '05 campaign, though healthy, raised doubts and showed significant holes in his game while Wright came onto the scene and never looked back.
Give Reyes some time and I'll guarantee he'll be in the spotlight. It is impossible to ignore the David Wright media train that was already in motion before his ridiculous first half last season, which by all accounts was perhaps more impressive than Reyes' simply because of the eye popping numbers in categories the majority of the public care about. If Reyes continues his onslaught this year, David Wright is going to have to take a backseat to him.
Labels: lastings milledge