From the time he came up as a heavily hyped rookie with the Mets to his non-productive, now injury-ended year with the Nats, Lasting Milledge's (LM) ego and hype have eclipsed his actual production. Why should we expect that he'll suddenly mature and produce?
When he came up in 2006, a Mets fan – or a paid hack i LM’s entourage – produced the website http://milledgefacts.blogspot.com which included, among others facts about LM ....
1. Lastings Milledge isn't a 5 tool player. Lastings Milledge has more than 100 tools, many of which are unknown to most baseball scouts.
4. Lastings Milledge doesn’t hit 8th. Those seven other guys are just warming up the pitcher for the first real at bat of the game.
27. Lastings Milledge beat Jose Reyes in a race running backwards.
96. Lastings Milledge is his own species. His biological name is "Homerun Rakings."
Milledge proceeded to hit .241 (with a .689 OPS) with only 4 home runs. He apparently so annoyed his teammates that a "Know your place, rook" message was left on his locker. He was late for a game in Philly. He improved slightly in 2007, but was still traded, even though the Mets need some youth and speed in their outfield to go along with the youth, speed, and power they have with David Wright and Jose Reyes.
Part of the reason why he was traded to the Nats was his behavior – as noted by the NY Daily News at the time of the trade, “...although Milledge has long been considered one of the Mets’ top prospects... [he] has often caused headaches for the team and manager Willie Randolph. The 22-year-old outfielder was admonished after hitting his first career home run in 2006 because he gave high-fives to fans down the right-field line as he went out into the field for the start of the next inning. His performance on a rap song that used controversial language was also an embarrassment to the franchise.” The Mets released a statement: "We disapprove of the content, language and message of this recording, which does not represent the views of the New York Mets."
Another part, according to the NY Mets MLB.com spin-meister was that “LM wasn't a reliable outfielder in either corner position.” Milledge has a pretty strong constitution, which sometimes shows itself as defiance. The Mets lacked power from the corner-outfielder positions, but that “...probably wouldn't have been forthcoming had Milledge remained (with the Mets).”
And why was Lastings Milledge injured in a AAA game? It’s because he was “demoted” because he was off to a slow start for the Nats, batting .167 (4-for-24) with one RBI. Milledge was the leadoff hitter, but he didn’t take enough pitches. It was also an adventure for Milledge in center field early in the season. On April 6, Emilio Bonifacio hit a ball that went over Milledge's head for an inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning and the next day he hit a triple that went over Milledge's glove. In both cases, some people in the organization believe Milledge should have caught the ball. Milledge blamed the scouting report. The Nats apparently “... warned LM about a possible demotion since Opening Day because LM was late for a meeting held by Manny Acta the day before...”
We don’t need this. Is NyjMo the long-term answer in left? No. But he and McClutch have chemistry together and they build off of each other. Seeing the team react to last night’s win, the whole team is playing well together as a team. Throwing Milledge into that would be like throwing sand into your car’s engine.