I guess Bill Ladson was just preparing Washington fans when he dropped news of the New York Mets interest in Nationals catcher Brian Schneider onto the end of his article, "Make do with what you've got" on 11/28 which certainly caught my attention...
Mr. Ladson wrote:
"According to a media report, catcher Brian Schneider is
rumored to be on the block, with the Mets as a possible
...I thought it seemed unlikely at the time that the Mets would want another catcher in Schneider, considering that the Mets had just acquired catcher Johnny Estrada from the Brewers for reliever Guillermo Mota recently, and then yesterday I noticed another story on yahoosports.com entitled, "Mets may acquire another catcher," which provided a newsday.com article by David Lennon entitled, "Estrada just a bargaining chip for Mets?" as it's source.
In the article, Mr. Lennon writes that Mets GM Omar Minaya was still looking for catchers after acquiring Estrada, and reasoned that the Mets may have acquired Estrada simply to rid themselves of Guillermo Mota's contract with the intention of letting Estrada walk or trading him if the team could acquire another backstop, with the names of interest listed as, "...Rangers' Gerald Laird, the Orioles' Ramon Hernandez and the Nationals' Brian Schneider (and)...even the Giants' Bengie Molina."
Omar Minaya is familiar with Brian Schneider from his time as the Montreal Expos GM, so his interest was no surprise, but it was still somewhat shocking to read the reports this afternoon...
washington.nationals.com's Bill Ladson's article, "Nationals acquire Milledge from Mets":
newyork.mets.mlb.com's Marty Noble's article, "Mets land Church, Schneider from Nats":
What the reports say...
...The Nationals, as it is now widely reported, have traded Brian Schneider and Ryan Church to the New York Mets for outfielder Lastings Milledge. The fact that the Nationals would trade Schneider and Church was did not surprise me after the recents reports about Schneider, and two years' worth of rumors about Church, but what did, was how quickly Lastings Milledge had fallen out of favor in NY.
Milledge, OF, 22, the Mets 1st Round Pick (12th overall), in 2003, posted a .305 AVG in 5 Minor League seasons with 86 doubles, 34 HR's and 163 RBI's. In two stints in the Majors in '06 and '07, Milledge put up a .241 AVG with 7 doubles, 4 HR's and 22 RBI's in 166 at bats.
Milledge was essentially an everyday player for the last three months of the 2007 season, during which he hit .272 with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 7 HR's and 29 RBI's while playing defensively in center, right and left field, but reports during both seasons questioned whether Milledge was as mature personally as he was athletically with several instances of trouble interracting with teammates and the young star's onfield antics surfacing over the years.
The Washington Nationals were in the market for a starting center fielder following the end of the '07 season which saw neither Church or his fellow Nationals outfielder Nook Logan claim the starting spot.
Twenty-three year old Justin Maxwell was called up in September and was successful in his first 15 games as a National, batting .269 in 26 at bats, with 2 HR's and 5 RBI's, and Maxwell was told he would be competing for the starting spot in Spring Training, though some in the organization were said to believe he needed more time in the Minor's before he was ready.
Maxwell and Milledge will probably both be on the Nationals roster this season, which, if I had to guess today, will see Wily Mo Pena (LF), Milledge(CF) and Austin Kearns(RF) starting in the outfield, with Maxwell, and maybe Chris Marrero, or Roger Bernadina as fourth outfielders.
With Brian Schneider gone, another young player, twenty-three year old catcher Jesus Flores is the most likely candidate to be starting behind the plate for the Nationals in '08.
Twenty-six year old Wily Mo Pena in left. Twenty-three year old catcher Jesus Flores. Twenty-three year Ryan Zimmerman at third. Twenty-three year old Lastings Milledge in center. Twenty-four year old Matt Chico, twenty-two year old Ross Detwiler, and twenty-six year old Chad Cordero on the mound. The Nationals seem to be getting younger and better everyday.
That is, taking for granted that the Nationals are not going to turn around and now trade Chad Cordero to the Mets as well. Cordero would have been included today if there was any chance of his going to the Mets, right? Does this mean the Flat-Brimmed Closer is staying in DC? Or is Washington GM "Trader-Jim" Bowden just getting started?
*Links and Links and...*
washington.nationals.mlb.com's Bill Ladson's article, ""Make do with what you've got":
newsday.com's David Lennon's article, "Estrada just a bargaining chip for Mets?":
Lasting Milledge's stats at thebaseballcube.com:
Lastings Milledge's stats at baseball-reference.com: