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Keep Lastings in Norfolk

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by user DNL

more "on the DL" opinions

All around the Mets fan universe, there are clammors for Lastings Milledge to make his Shea debut. Carlos Beltran is on the DL injured achy. Endy Chavez can't hit. Victor Diaz can't be called back up quite yet, and even if he could, a Diaz-Floyd-Nady may be the worst defensively since that rather awful "Todd Hundley, LF" experiment.

At MetsGeek, Jeremy Heit lays out the Case for Lastings. He assuages concerns over starting the arbitration clock and the fact that Milledge is not on the 40-man roster. It's worth a read.

But it fails to address two simple facts:

1) Milledge is the fourth or fifth best outfielder in the organization. He's clearly behind Beltran, Floyd, and Nady, and may not be as good (at least with the bat) as Diaz. That will change, and change quickly. But if Beltran is healthy, there is simply no way Milledge will be an every-day Major League player. That means that, no matter how well Milledge does, any trip to the bigs is going to be nothing more than a cup of coffee.

Let's assume the Mets DL Beltran and call up Milledge giving him 10 starts. If he stinks it up, all the progress he's made in his exceptional AAA start is for not. If he continues tearing the ball up, but now on a higher level, how do you justify sending him down? The ideal result, for his development at least, is mediocrity.

It seems no matter what the result, Milledge's development will be stunted by a short-term callup.

2) Even if he puts up exceptional numbers -- say, .300/.400/.600 -- how many added runs does that mean? Remember, we're talking a ten game stint at Shea, not a full season. Does this translate to 3 extra wins? Maybe, but that's optimistic. Given that the Mets have played .500 ball versus all teams not named the Florida Marlins or Washington Nationals (and have done so with Chavez or worse in the outfield), let's assume that the Mets are going to go 5-5 over the stretch in question. Does anyone really expect a Milledge callup to mean an 8-2 run? It seems like 6-4 is realistic, but let's call it +1.5 wins. Not a huge benefit.

The 2007 Mets will probably have Milledge atop the lineup and Floyd playing elsewhere. The Lastings-Wright-Reyes youth movement has Mets fans salivating. But we shouldn't let that get the better of us, and we shouldn't force 2007's ideals into 2006's reality.


Thu 04/27/06, 7:19 am EST

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