Mets Trade Milledge to Nats

OK, everyone who saw this coming, put your hand up.

Um … all right … let’s try this again. ANYONE who saw this coming, please RAISE YOUR HAND!

Huh. No one raised their hand.

So for those who missed it, the Mets traded Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church.

On the one hand, the deal almost obliterates any chance of the Mets making a play for an ace pitcher such as Dan Haren or Johan Santana — we think. Of course, other teams might be higher on Carlos Gomez than we thought — though, I’m not comfortable dealing Gomez after trading Milledge.

On the other hand, the Mets were able to get one of the top defensive backstops in all of MLB, plus a legit starting outfielder, in return for a player who has not yet established himself at the big league level — that’s nothing to sneeze at. Naturally, we all thought that Omar Minaya would be using Milledge as bait in a deal for a big-time pitcher, but the Mets were able to get pretty good value in this exchange with the Nationals.

Brian Schneider

In an interview a few years ago, when Minaya was still in the front office for the Expos, he said that nearly every time an opposing GM called, the first question was “what do you want for Schneider?” Indeed, Schneider was a hot property back in the early part of this century (that’s a crazy thing to say, ain’t it? boy time flies … ) — good enough to push out Michael Barrett and be considered a future All-Star. However, Schneider is no longer an up-and-comer but a veteran, and just turned 31 a few days ago (nice birthday present!). While he continues to garner respect as one of the best defenders of the dish, his bat never quite came around after an inspiring .275 average and 19 doubles in his first half-season of MLB duty. His average has dropped steadily from year to year, plummeting to .235 in 2007. His power is nonexistent, though he probably will collect more extra-base hits than, say, Jason Kendall (which isn’t saying much). He did hit more than ten home runs in consecutive seasons — at age 27-28, a time when most players hit their prime. Who knows, maybe a change in scenery — to a winning team — may spark his offensive production.

However, it doesn’t matter, does it? Schneider is pretty much penciled in to the #8 spot in the order, and won’t be expected to do much. He batted anywhere from 6th to 8th for the lowly Nats, and there is one aspect of his game that has improved — his ability to draw walks. He drew a career-high 56 last year, and struck out an equal amount of times. So that’s something.

Schneider will be in the lineup for his defense, plain and simple. He’s a throwback backstop, and may remind some oldsters of Jerry Grote. Lord knows he’ll hit like Grote.

Ryan Church

Church had his first opportunity to play everyday as a 28-year-old and did well — not great, but far from bad. He was one of those guys who you probably had on your fantasy team if you played in a deep NL-only league, because he gave you a decent OPS. Is he an All-Star? No. Is he the traditional power hitter you expect from a corner outfielder? No. But he is a very strong defender, handles the bat fairly well, and is fundamentally sound. The lefty swinger batted anywhere from cleanup to the #7 spot for the Nats, and though he finished the year as a leftfielder, he started it as their everyday centerfielder — so he should be able to add some range to the Mets outfield. Two big things about Church’s offense — he’s patient, and he has gap power, witnessed by his 43 doubles in 470 ABs last year. Looking at his stats and his defensive ability, he compares favorably to Aaron Rowand at the same age. Here’s the bottom line: if Lastings Milledge won the RF job (as expected), he’d probably hit between 15-20 HRs, with a .275 average, a bunch of doubles, and spend most of the time in the #7 hole. We can expect nearly identical stats from Church in the same position of the order, plus offer a higher OBP and better defense. In the short-term, the players are a wash. Of course, Milledge could be an All-Star in future years, but the Mets are concerned with the present.

Bottom Line

From a PR perspective, it’s not a great deal. The litmus test is, does your wife have any idea who Ryan Church or Brian Schneider are? It doesn’t help that there were two very strong factions of Mets fans — those who loved Milledge and think he’ll be a superstar, and those who didn’t care much for his attitude and are happy to see him leave. In that vein, at least half the fans are ticked off. But when you look at the deal at face value, and consider the short-term — which is what the Mets are concerned with — then this is a pretty strong deal, and a fair one for both teams.

Let’s also consider that the dealing is not over; for all we know, one or both of these new acquisitions could be a piece in a trade to go down next week at the winter meetings. We’ll wait and see.

*** FYI, if you posted on this trade before this article went live, please be advised I moved all the relevant comments from the previous post to this one ***

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. skibolton November 30, 2007 at 1:56 pm
    Omar just traded Milledge to the Nats for Schnieder and Ryan Church. I’m not a big fan of either of them. I know many teams weren’t as high on milledge as the mets, but I have to think that they could have gotten more for him than this. At this point, I think it’s the worst trade that Omar has made.
  2. JIMMYJ723 November 30, 2007 at 2:15 pm
    Everyone is ripping this Millege trade but I love it. Milledge is overrated. Brian Schnieder is an excellent defensive catcher and Ryan Church has a lot of upside.

    “In Minaya I Trust”

  3. isuzudude November 30, 2007 at 2:15 pm
    i want so badly to comment on this trade but i will wait until joe posts an article, of which i’m sure he’s in the process of doing now.
  4. sincekindergarten November 30, 2007 at 3:45 pm
    Well, it looks as if Dan Haren or Joe Blanton to the Mets is done . . .
  5. Micalpalyn November 30, 2007 at 3:54 pm
    I will not enjoy see Millz elsewhere. I was high on Terry Long too who had a similar career. This strikes me as a forerunner to another trade.

    I am stunned. But then it has been widely stated that Gomez is the better talent and F-Mart is one of the top 15 propspects in baseball. so who knows.

    Joe: U had it (so did many) when you figured Omar had his eyes on a different catcher,Schneider has been rumored to the Mets since Monday ..

    Its the Ryan Church element that intrigues me. Does the Ryan Church addition signal that Beddard could be coming on board?

    Yes it is written that the O’s turned down a Gomez, Heilman, Humber package. But one site said that was a starting point another that Baltimore were not done trying to negotiate. One site suggested the Mets could sweeten the package. Maybe Church is insurance in RF.

  6. Walnutz15 November 30, 2007 at 3:57 pm
    Schneider’s the defensive catcher they’ve been looking for…but most of us know that already.

    Really, this trade is all about Church — from a Met standpoint. Will he be Shawn Green from 2007; or will he bust out into a 25 Homer, 90 RBI guy in a solid lineup?

    I seem to remember many Met fans loving a certain outfielder named Mike Cameron, and going apespit when they traded him for Xavier Nady.

    What happened when Xavier Nady became a Met and performed relatively well before being dumped?

    Met fans endeared themselves to him, and once again cried when he was traded in another solid deal for the franchise.

    Let’s give this one a chance here, and really — I completely understand the sentiment of “we gave up on Milledge too soon”….but this organization has seen the best and worst of Lastings Milledge.

    They know what his value is, and what the full story is surrounding him — the player and person.

    Ryan Church has a chance to become the 2008 version of Xavier Nady. On top of that, we can rid ourselves of another headache in the making, in Johnny Estrada.

    Admittedly, that deal was made to save face on the mistake that was Guillermo Mota.

    Let’s see what happens here…..Welcome to NY, both Schneider and Church.

  7. whatdatmean November 30, 2007 at 4:21 pm
    I like this deal. 2 different ways to look at it, with the same motivation.
    1-In trade talks for a SP, this deal came up that they can get Church, and that GM said do it, and we have a deal. The Mets will flip Church + prospect(s) for a SP, maybe even flip Estrada as his value may have gone up bc his trade has been publicized and teams are looking for a 1 year C solution. Teams like Minny, Pitts, A’s, + Balt all need an OF. This guy has been highly coveted since he came up. He has had success in the Majors. The fact he has a .800 OPS and can play all 3 OF positions may be a plus to a GM looking for a good OF. He is also under control for 4 years.
    2-Church is our starting RF, and Omar expects big things. He is a solid bat, and can bat anywhere in the lineup. Last year he produced similar to what Id predict LMilz to do in 144 games .270, 15 hrs, 74 rbi’s. Also, Schneider is a GREAT defensive catcher that we have been looking for, even has some POP. They both killed the Mets last year.

    Omar’s Idea-All trade partners have soured on Lmilz, and were demanding Gomez. This is Omar’s way of avoiding trading Gomez or having a replacement for him for a few years, or having someone to compliment him.

    We shall see…but I am expecting another deal very, very soon…
    Lets Go Omar…Lets Go Mets!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. isuzudude November 30, 2007 at 10:14 pm
    Ok, my turn to chime in.

    I do not like this deal, but before I go crazy I’ll at least say there is a chance the Mets might have gotten the better end. Still, let me list the reasons why I think the deal is bad.

    1. I think Omar gave up too soon on Milledge. I refuse to believe the best he could have gotten in return for Milledge was Schneider and Church. There had to be something better out there. And if there wasn’t, what was so horribly wrong with holding on to Milledge for 2008, let him increase his trade value with a good season, and then trade him next winter? For all those who are coming out in defense of the trade, let me put it to you this way. If any of us on this blog had asked for your opinion on whether a Milledge for Schneider/Chuirch swap would be good for the Mets, you would have answered with an emphatic no. If Chad Cordero wasn’t even good enough for us to trade Milledge, how are Church and Schneider? Seeing the condition our bullpen is in and knowing Estrada was already on the roster, I’d say Cordero would have been the best of the three to obtain. In this sense, it seems blatant to me that Omar had soured severely on Milledge and was most likely looking to give him up for almost anything. And I think other teams sensed this and used it to their advantage when negotiating with the Mets. We were pretty much doomed from the start.

    2. To me, I see downgrades in RF and at C because of the trade, especially on offense. Church is 29, so he can’t be considered a “prospect” anymore, so there’s little reason to believe that he hasn’t already reached his max potential. That being said, judging by his career stats, if he gets in a full season of 500 at-bats, Church would project to hit 15-20 HR, slug .460-.480, bat .270-.280, and strikeout 100-115 times. Could Milledge not have produced at least those same numbers, with probably better speed and a better chance to develop into something better at only the tender age of 22? Looking at Schneider, one can derive he was acquired only because of his defense, because his offense is putrid, especially when compared to Estrada or Castro. And since I expect him to contribute so little at the plate, I fully expect…no, I demand that he will make Maine, Perez, and any other young pitcher the Mets decide to keep this winter into better players. I mean, I want to see sub-3.25 ERAs with WHIPS around 1.00, not to mention I want to see Rollins and Hanley and Escobar getting thrown out at 2B on every steal attempt they try on the deadly arm of Schneider. All this talk over catchers making pitchers better by calling good games. Joe, you’re the catcher in this family, tell us how this may be so. Or is this just a way to put spin on a bad deal?

    3. If no more moves are made, look at the Mets starting lineup, particularly the bottom half. Delgado 6th-Church 7th-Schneider 8th. Lefty, lefty, lefty. In the same division as Hamels, Moyer, Romero, Chuck James, Glavine, Willis, and Olsen. Sound like a good plan to you? Not to me either. Compare that to Delgado 6th-Milledge 7th-Estrada 8th. Lefty, righty, switch. That sounds a bit more likely to succeed against the tough southpaws, and give oppsiong managers a bit more to think about when deciding who to bring in the ballgame in the late innings. Now, I know what you’ll tell me. Schneider will likely sit against the tough lefties, giving Castro (the righty) plenty of valuable at-bats. Agreed. But the Delgado-Church tandem does not sit well with me at all. Especially considering Delgado’s subpar season in ’07, and Church’s lifetime numbers vs lefties (.229 last year, .254 with just 3 HR in 209 AB over his career). Compounding this problem is that the Mets bench of Chavez-Anderson-Gotay-Easley is already left handed heavy, considering Gotay is better from the left side. That means it’s going to be Church or bust; no platoon partner. Unless, of course, Church is quickly shipped off to yet another destination for a REAL RF, which I will be lobbying very hard for. To bring up the Pittsburgh trade possibilities again, perhaps Church is more the “established major league OF” they’re looking for in a Jason Bay deal. And at this point I’d jump all over a Church/Pelfrey/Mulvey deal that nets us Bay and Snell. That’s the only way Omar saves face on today’s trade, if you ask me.

    On face value, I give this trade a D for Omar. He got two middle of the road, relatively light hitting platoon players for a former #12 overall draft pick who has potential to be a 30/30 player. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

  9. joe December 1, 2007 at 12:52 am
    isuzu, I sincerely appreciate your holding your tongue until I could post my view. I apologize to everyone for being so late to the game … I was in a class all day and didn’t find out about this until I got home around 6pm. Figures.

    Anyway …

    Everyone here has brought up excellent points. Isuzu, you certainly have ample ammunition — as you say, Milledge was a high draft pick and many believe he is destined for stardom. At the same time, it’s rare that a team can trade a 22-year-old who has yet to play a full MLB season and receive two legit starters in return. So from that standpoint, it’s not as terrible a deal as you may feel. But, that is your view and I respect it.

    I cannot divulge my sources, but I’ve known for a long time that high-ranking people inside the Mets organization were sour on Milledge for a while now. That’s probably not earth-shattering news, but the point is, a baseball organization is just like any other company — if the higher-ups simply don’t like a particular person, his days are numbered. As unfair as it may be, I believe the “LMillz” hip-hop production company — and LMillz’s lyrical debut — was the last straw for the Wilpons and co. The whole issue was buried relatively quickly in the press, but inside the organization, that may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    That said, I think it’s possible there was pressure on Omar to make sure that Milledge was dealt away, this winter. Again, as unfair as it is, I would not be surprised to find out that the Milton Bradley incident was noticed by the Mets’ upper management, and someone said, “hey, this could happen to us with that firecracker Milledge” — which would in turn, put more heat on Omar to trade him.

    This is all pure speculation, of course.

    Isuzu, I really like your thinking re: a deal with the Bucs. Church and one of the pitching prospects going to Pitt in return for Bay and, say, Snell, seems completely plausible. Let’s give Omar a week or two to keep wheeling and dealing before we give him a grade on this.

    As for Schneider’s defensive prowess …

    Yes I’ve been catching for over 25 years and so have some knowledge of the position. And yes — absolutely — a good catcher can have a positive impact on an entire pitching staff (at least, I’d like to think so). It goes way beyond pitch calling, and really more about people management. A good catcher is a psychiatrist, psychologist, motivational speaker, counselor, parent, teacher, drill sergeant, bartender, best friend, and supreme leader. If a catcher can be all of those things to the pitching staff, establish leadership and respect from the rest of the team, and throw a few guys out stealing, then he’s already made more contribution to the team than anyone else, and any offensive production is a bonus.

    The question is, is Brian Schneider that guy? I don’t know, as I haven’t seen him on an everyday basis. Jerry Grote was definitely that guy, as was Gary Carter. Thurman Munson was, and Jason Varitek is. LoDuca was partially there, but I don’t think he had the all-encompassing connection and respect with everyone on the staff and the team — I get the feeling there were some pitchers and players who like him and respected him, but didn’t necessarily trust him implicitly — and that’s the key. It’s kind of like being the lead lieutenant or general in a battle; if a catcher can get everyone else to look to him for direction, then he’s accomplished the ultimate and fulfilled his role on the team. Again, I have no idea if Schneider can do that — but I think he has a much better shot than Johnny Estrada or Yorvit Torrealba.

    Now, if Schneider does not establish himself as a “high ranking officer”, and does not at least gain full respect and trust from the pitching staff, then he really has to do something offensively to be valuable. Mike Piazza was the ultimate “detached” catcher, but he doesn’t have to hit that well. A .275-12-60 line is about the minimum (which is what you’d hope to get from, say, Michael Barrett).

    Off topic — I’ll be traveling all day Saturday so there may not be a fresh post until Sunday or Monday.

  10. murph December 1, 2007 at 10:54 pm
    I have been reading since the summer, but this is my first post.
    So let me first say thank you to Joe for running this blog.

    Here are my thoughts on the Milledge trade.

    – Not surprised he was traded, but very surprised by what the Mets got in return.
    – On the one hand, if you trade a prospect and get two starters, you’re doing pretty good. On the other hand, they were starters for a mediocre team. Are they starters on a championship team?
    – If you are trading a former first round pick for two guys who are not all-stars, and were drafted in the fifth round (Schneider) and 14th round (Church), it makes you wonder: Is that the best we can get for a 22-year old first rounder with a high ceiling?
    – Since Minaya is most likely not done dealing, we’ll have to wait and see how this turns out. Remember, Cameron-for-Nady eventully turned out to be Cameron for Oliver Perez (and Roberto Hernandez). Benson for Sosa (and Maine) also eventually landed El Duque.

  11. joe December 2, 2007 at 11:11 am
    Hey Murph! Thanks for joining the discussion!

    You have some good points, particularly that the two “starters” came from a non-championship-caliber team. As many others have suggested, Ryan Church, for example, might only be a fourth outfielder on a pennant contender. Though I think Schneider probably starts on a lot of teams. After seeing the Rockies get as far as they did with Yorvit Torrealba behind the dish, I think the Mets will be fine with Schneider.

    The Cameron-for-Nady deal and the Benson trade — as Omar Minaya has pointed out — were lambasted by just about everyone. If I remember correctly, people were really ticked about the Jae Seo trade as well. People like to jump on Minaya for his trades, but looking back, there haven’t been too many awful ones.

  12. murph December 2, 2007 at 12:38 pm
    oh, and I meant benson for julio, not benson for sosa.
    I got my jorge’s mixed up.
  13. sincekindergarten December 2, 2007 at 7:07 pm
    Ya know, Murph and Joe, I see this one continuing to play out, too. Supposedly, the Mets are pushing hard for Erik Bedard, too, and maybe Ryan Church is coveted by them.

    And, maybe we’ll see Xavier Nady back in a Mets’ uniform soon, too. I can’t believe that the Pirates are non-tendering him. RF and some time giving Delgado a rest at 1B from time to time.

  14. whatdatmean December 3, 2007 at 8:44 am
    I love this trade. 2 things on this trade and what it does for us…

    1.Im sure LMilz can turn into something special, but the timing is all wrong. He didnt fit the Mets roster, both personality and style. His poor plate discipline and lack of ability to hit certain pitches [outside FB, curve] makes a poor combo with guys like wright[ouitside FB], reyes {low, inside], delgado [inside], and beltran[curves]…all of whom have pitches that they clearly cant hit. His D is lacking, and is a liability for this year and probably next. We are contenders…we lost last year bc of defense and consistancy, which this trade adds a lot of. Church can turn into a real class hitter, and schneider is what the Dr ordered behing the plate for our young SP, especially next year.

    Also, Church is very desirable as a player. The past 2 years, we heard of a lot of teams [mets included] who were trying to get him, but the Nats demand was too high [top young SP]. He brings a good BA, excellent gap power, high OBP, SLG, + OPS, great D, an ability to play all 3 OF spots, MLB experience/success, cheap salary, and is under control for the next 4 years [LMilz has 5]. Those FACTS are desirable by a lot of GM’s.

    2.I would like to see Church stay, however, it is possibly he was obtained so he can be flipped[bc no one wanted LMilz]. I believe Omar is considering a few trading options involving these trading chips, that fall into 3 categories[that interest other GM’s]
    -MLB players, with some success: church, heilman, gotay, pelfrey, vargas, estrada/castro, + smith. WE may even see delgado go.
    -Prospects that can contribute now: Humber, Bostick,
    -Huge upside/high ceiling: Kunz, Rustich, Burgos, Mulvey/Guerra, F-Mart/Gomez
    I do see the Mets protecting Fmat, Gomez, Mulvey, and Guerra bc they are the best of our crop.

    Options by how I would see their VALUE[pick from the list above, depends on mix]:
    *Option A: Haren or Bedard
    pick 3-4, if they include a RP[calero or bradford]-pick 4-5.
    *Option B: Harden or Burnett. pick 1 + a name not there.
    *Option C: Blanton, pick 2-3
    *Option D: Contreras, pick 2 names, not on that list

    If A is out, B isnt a fall off, just a gamble. And shouldnt cost us out more valuable prospects,a nd will add an “ace” to the staff. Its the path of least resistance.

    This is going to be a fun week!
    Lets Go Omar! Lets GO Mets!

  15. whatdatmean December 3, 2007 at 9:21 am
    For all of those doubting OMAR…

    Looking at Omars moves the last few years, I LOVE what he has done. A lot of fans are more concerned with how the players that left are playing rather than what we got back, this last trade included. That is not the way to look at it. In MLB, one mans trash is anothers treasure. Players often dont fit the lineups, roster, city, etc…the same as they would in another place where they may perform better [heath bell]. Prospects dont often pan out, so its the return that you get, and how they perform, that should really be judged.

    Recent trades not including players flipped/left[benson, hernandez, green, lo Duca] here are the in’s/out’s of the deals:

    Players leaving: Nady, Petit, G. Hernandez, Julio, Keppinger, Bannister, Bell, Owens, Lidstrom, Mota, + LMilz

    Players in: Perez, Maine, El Duque, B. Johnson, Burgos, Castillo, Gotay, Estrada, Vargas, Bostick, + Church, Schneider.

    Hmm…that list heavily favors the players Omar brought in. While some of the guys we traded have had success, we have added balance. Some trades are wins, some are lose, but look at the overall picture, and he has done a great job!

    On the outs: nady, keppinger, owens, Julio, lidstrom, & petit, did OK last season..nothing to cry about. Bannister + bell did really well, but were marginal when on the Mets.

    Brought in:
    -3 young pitchers currently in the minors. VARGAS had success for the Marlins, and is a young gritty LEFTY SP, who pitched all last year through an injury, is nice depth in AAA, and may be a future low-end option. BOSTICK is another lefty SP, but is a good prospect who can turn out to be something special. Has good stuff and performed very well down the stretch in AAA and very good in the fall league. BURGOS is a great talent, but suffered an early injury last year. A young RP with MLB experience, powerful stuff, touching 100 MPH at times, and MAY become the closer of the future. IF not, well worth the gamble.
    -Gotay, excellent player for the bench, and amicable starting IF option.
    -Johnson, all hustle with POP. Makes a nice AAA depth, but doesnt belong starting on a contender.
    -Omar has acquired 3 of our 5 SP’s [all with sub 4 era’s last year] in maine, OP, el duque
    -#2 switch hitting, gold glove 2B
    -a solid starting RF, with high OPS and great D, can play all 3 OF spots
    -great D catcher in Schneider
    -Estrada was a nice swap to rid us of Mota and allowed us not to look desperate for a C, allows an opportunity to flip him or Castro in a trade

    SO, via trade, we added to our starting lineup [all solid players] our 2b, RF, C, & 3 SP, plus a backup C, 2b, + OF, Plus depth in AAA. All that, not including his signings. He seems to be doing well. With the exception of needing a 5th starter and 1 more RP last year, they team was stocked for success. That may have to do with the organizations faith in Pelfrey, Humber, Smith, etc…who werent as ready as we would have liked.

    All in all…Omar seems to be winning the trade war, which is probably why the Omar is being over priced in the market. He has been fleecing trades for a while now, and im sure GM’s can become skeptical, like we are of Beane, when Minaya comes calling.

    Just a little perspective for last week and this coming week.

  16. JIMMYJ723 December 3, 2007 at 10:35 am
    I couldn’t agree more with “whatdatmean.” Great Post
  17. isuzudude December 3, 2007 at 10:49 am
    Whatdatmean: I agree with your analysis on Omar. Most of his trades were either justifiable at the time of the deal (ex: Bannister for Burgos), or have brought the Mets back more value than they relinquished (ex: Benson for Maine/Julio, Castillo for two scrubby minor leaguers). And taking that into consideration, it is worth reserving judgment on the Milledge deal until at least the all-star break of 2008 to see how all players have panned out. My initial reaction to the deal is unfavorable, however I’m not about to string Omar up by a string and declare the Mets dead yet.

    However, I do have a few problems with your first post from today. I thought Milledge was a fine fit on the roster. He’s young and inexpensive, has lots of potential, and shows plenty of energy and exuberance. His immaturity shows at times in his base running and decision making, but at the age of 22 I think it was worth waiting at least one more year to make a major decision on whether he can ever grow out of his immaturity. You also list all the Mets weaknesses at the plate (although most of which I don’t agree with and I’m not even sure if they are accurate), but what makes you so sure Church doesn’t have those same deficiencies? How many of his at-bats have you witnessed to accurately state he’s a better fit into the lineup than Milledge? You say this trade adds consistency, which the Mets were lacking last year. That may be so, but what type of “consistency” do Church and Schneider bring? Consistency to hit .230 (as in Schneider’s case)? Consistency to hit less than 20 HR? Consistency to hit poorly vs. LHP, which I project as being a major flaw with the Mets in 2008 if further moves are not made. The statement “Church can turn into a real class hitter” can very easily be refuted by saying he’s 29 and has yet to show any ability to hit .300, decrease hit strikeout rates, or hit for considerable power. I’m also not understanding how Church is so “desirable.” I never heard any of those trade rumors you mentioned that involved him. Additionally, how desirable could he have been just 3 short years ago when the Expos traded for him, along with another player (Maicier Izturis) from Cleveland, for middle reliever Scott Stewart, who had all of 1 good season and is now out of baseball. Looking back, it was our own GM who pulled off that trade, so it seems like the only guy who views Church desirable is Minaya, as he’s been the only GM in baseball ever to trade for him, doing it twice. Not to mention, every single one of the things you list as things that Church does well, Milledge does equally as well if not better, with the exception of defense, which I think will come to him in due time.

    Again, time is going to tell. Like I said, this trade has the potential to completely burn the Mets or be a great steal. I hope just as much as anybody that Omar knew what he was doing trading a potential star for 2 guys who are each in the middle of their careers and have yet to establish themselves as clear-cut MLB starters.

  18. whatdatmean December 3, 2007 at 11:25 am
    Izu…to clarify. I agree, Lmilz can be boom or bust, more likely boom. Like i said above, Lmilz, now and for the forseeable future, has the same plate deficiencies as 4 of our hitters. Lmilz did become exposed to the end of his short tenure last year. Church, on the other hand, has had the same #’s in the minors and in over 900 MLB Ab’s. His stats, and scouting reports show that he is consistant and is a + defender. In 2 years in MLB, he hit .270-.280 with 10-15 hrs, 50+ dbls, and an .800 + OPS…thats not to shabby for your 7 hitter, especially in the NL. Also, he played in a HUGE pitchers park, moreso than shea. He plays excellent D, and boasts a big arm and good break to the balls in the OF. Yes, his splits are skewed, but not enough where you cant play him everyday. Truth is, he is still young, but polished.
    He may produce the same or better [i doubt less, for this year], and adds consistancy to the lineup. You dont have to teach him how to play, he has been there before, and now in a friendlier park and a better lineup. He is also making very little more than LMilz, and is under control for 1 less year. Im not so concerned with age, but control. Im not sure what there isnt to like. Also, we did see church beat us down in the last month of the season where he batter .310, mostly against the Mets.Lets not forget that Church was a top prospect in 04/05, which isnt too long ago.Plus, Im sure he can rap better than LMilz too [yikes]. Schneider cant hit, but who cares? Most catchers cant anyway, i would prefer a C that can help SP/RP get better and stop teams from . The key is to get better up the middle. Teams were running all over the Mets and manufacturing runs. Im sure his addition will help control a lot of that, as well as help groom the younger SP’s for this year and next.

    I loved LMilz as much or more than most Mets fans. But, I saw a lot of him in the minors and MLB last year and the year before, and he lost a lot of luster last year. He couldnt touch an outside FB or curves, took bad routes to flyballs, missed cutoff men, failed to take walks, poor baserunning… and im not a scout [they would have seen more]. Fact is, there is a reason why Gomez and possibly even FMart are ranked higher on GM’s lists.

    TRUTH IS, I DONT DO THIS IF ANY TEAM WOULD TAKE HIM FOR A SP…all indications say they didnt. If the Mets want to win this year, adding these 2 players puts the Mets in the place THEY wan to be, which is better defensively, and higher OPS players. Its a good move, and not much of a gamble. Batting 6/7th next year, in shea[smaller than RFK], with our stacked lineup, I can see Church hitting .275-.280, 20-25 hrs, 80+ rbi’s.

    Its a good move for the Mets to win now and next year. LMilz will do what he does, but who cares if we win big? and thats always the bottom line.

    ps…rumor mill is pumping word that church was obtained to flip bc church has been a favorite of Baltimores GM and also is Beane type of guy [high OPS, + D] …..hmmmmmmmmmmm
    could be a quck cup of coffee for church…
    we shall see.

    I wish LMilz the best, hopefully he walks a straight line from here on out and becomes what he was supposed to be [he did skip college to “work”, so its all he has], and goes 0-60 against the Mets. lol
    Ill say, im not going to like seeing him that often, but not enough to not swing this deal.

  19. Micalpalyn December 3, 2007 at 12:56 pm
    Hi guys wonderfull dialog. Very intelligent.

    – We all seem to some degree or another ‘upset’ , and thats unifying. I will still root for Millz. Heck I root for Kepp and Alex Escobar.
    -Bottom line for me: it was during the 2006 playoffs ( the infamous Mota-LoDuca sequence pitching to I think Tad Iguchi or Scott Rolen). I started to question LoDuca’s pitch calling. Especially under my glare was the inability for our staff to ‘put away hitters’ when we were ahead in the count.
    -As such it was inevitable we would go elsewhere. I’m not smart enuff to evaluate a catcher, but I will be looking really closely at Ollie and Maine. Both have great ‘stuff’ and Ollie is a critical element to this team. I really think he could elevate to a 18-20 game winner on this club.
    – Omar said the Millz injury affected his value. I agree. But I was really suprised that he came back and hit well when i expected a depreciation (soph slump). Again I think we are looking at an ‘eventual’ Jermaine Dye. But obviously not next year.
    – Of interest now is why sign Ramon so early. Now we have Estrada, Ramon and Schneider (with Difelice in waiting for his annual minor league deal).

  20. joe December 3, 2007 at 1:40 pm
    I think it was smart to sign Ramon early, because he 1. can hit; 2. is good enough for some people to consider him a starter; 3. fits in so well in the clubhouse; 4. is content with backup status, and flourishes in the role; and 5. comes cheap. At the time of his signing, the Mets had absolutely no catchers on the 40-man, and zero under contract in AAA. Castro signed for a relative pittance, you know what you’re getting with him, he can handle NYC, and he was a legit fallback plan as the starter.

    DiFelice = Crash Davis, without the bat. His value is as AAA player/coach.

    As for Milledge, I’m pretty sure Omar was pressured to deal him from the powers-that-be, and also sure that if I caught wind of that rumor, then most baseball GMs caught it too. Thus, his value dropped significantly. It didn’t help that other clubs questioned his attitude, and considered him an emotional gamble. The Mets, as well as opposing scouts and GMs, wanted to see Milledge’s behavior improve more dramatically than his performance. Most acknowledge the skill level, and don’t doubt he can be a star — but many worry he’s another Milton Bradley.

    BTW, that’s not necessarily my opinion, but what I’ve heard through the grapevine (so don’t attack me if you feel otherwise).

  21. Micalpalyn December 3, 2007 at 2:17 pm
    – Remember when Randy johnson went to the Yanks? At that time it was obvious you could get virtually anything from them because they were desperate. They overpaid for every FA, and now can only watch as former yank prospects like Bonderman and Mike Lowell are beating them annually.

    -Now the unofficial GM’s union (and media) is trying to do the same with Omar. THE ONLY reason i can deal with the Millz trade is not the (weak) attitude slant but the fact we (as opposed to last yr) have real depth at the position. Gomez projects to do at least what Millz did last yr, and F-Mart could well project to deliver Carlos Gomez 2007 numbers.

    – I agree Church could well be a second coming of Nady.

    – Lok at MLBrumors. I think the Wilpons need to give Omar an extension. Lack of action could lead to hasty decision making. Does Omar’s backing of Willie have HIS head on the block?

  22. whatdatmean December 3, 2007 at 2:28 pm
    Good stuff JOE….
    seems like it was a perfect storm that pushed Lmilz out the door. I think its comparible to Lo Duca, where Mets brass were done with the off the field stuff, and wanted to clean house. They probably felt they could get similar production elsewhere, so they cut ties. It seems the Mets could get a SP for him, so he went to the highest better. The Mets getting a nice return in Schneider and Church. Im sure the emergence of OF options like Chavez and Gomez, and FMarts continuing development helped too.
    Lmilz is the definition of potential…potential all-star, or potential head case who does enough bad stuff to end up out of MLB. He’s no Pac-Man…but he’s no angel either. From the ages of 15-22 he’s had this much trouble, he can either go up or down…lets hope for him he goes up. Mets brass probably didnt want to ride it out…cash in your chips while you still have them.
    I dont think its as bad as Mets brass look at it, but they did it to Paulie…why not Lmilz, who seemingly pissed off any vet in sight[aka “the talk” to settle down], willie[basepath blunders, late to practices], the entire Marlins team[dancing/showboating], and Bud selig[high fiving the state police] in a 2 mo span…not forgetting most women’s rights activists and god knows for his “Bend Ya Knees” song[yikes].
    Just like we speculate with Paulie… who knows what happens behind the scenes. Lets hope there is better in Lmilz future than some predict. I think he will be fine.
  23. joe December 3, 2007 at 6:47 pm
    The rap album got swept under the rug as quickly as possible by the Mets PR team, probably because every other team was wondering exactly what the Wilpons were — who does this kid think he is promoting albums before he even plays a full MLB season? And why isn’t he concentrating on baseball?

    Of course, those thoughts are not fair — a player is allowed to do whatever he pleases on his own time — but the issue simply didn’t sit well with most old-school baseball men. And that likely hurt his trade value as much as everything else.

    Mic — not to be too picky, but Bonderman was never Yankee property. He was part of the Jeff Weaver deal, but came from the A’s. But we get the gist of your thought.

  24. harveybee December 4, 2007 at 3:57 am
    milledge was the only one hitting at times during the slump that cost these clowns the season. this could mean two things to me: keep him or trade him for something good.

    since they didnt keep him, i hope this trade is setting something up…because im not sure why you blow lo duca off for a really horrible hitting catcher who has NEVER come close to playing in a real baseball city. and an outfielder who has limited experience as well.

    this is not a great deal. unless we can use these pieces for something else.

    one more thing… i thought milledge showed alot of heart. especially when he was hitting the crap out of the ball when no one else was… and what was the issue with his character? some high fives to fans? some corn rows? some stupid rap lyrics? whatever. im not convinced of his lack of character remarks. hes young. we shouldve gotten something better for him if we were going to give him up.

    scott kasmir

  25. joe December 4, 2007 at 10:09 am
    Harvey, it doesn’t matter what you or I or any other fan thinks about LM’s character — what matters is what baseball people think. And the front offices in MLB are littered with old school men who don’t understand youngsters such as LMillz.

    Millz brought back two ballplayers, let’s see what happens with them — there is plenty of time to flip them for someone else before Opening Day, and if not, we can grade the deal at the All-Star break in ’08.

  26. JIMMYJ723 December 5, 2007 at 1:09 pm
    I think it will take half a season before Mets’ fans fall in love with Ryan Church and all this LMillz/Nady talk dies down. Ryan Church gives us something we badly need. Someone that actually WORKS THE COUNT and plays solid defense. This is a guy who was batting .325 and contending for the ROY award before getting injured in 2005. Since then he’s never had regular playing time to establish himself. Given a chance to play everyday on a winning ballclub, I’m sure his full-potential will shine through.

    This is another typical Minaya trade. Trading away a player who’s shown flashes of talent (ie. Jae Seo and Kirs Benson) for a guy like Church. Only people that have actually watched him play know what an excellent player Church is (just like John Maine and Oliver Perez before coming to NY). If you just look at the numbers then every one of those trades would have been horrible. But does anyone miss Jae Seo or Kris Benson now?

    Yes, LMillz is younger, faster and has “potential” but can someone please tell me what he can do on a baseball field that Church can’t? Did I also mention that he’s a Lefty? AND for the first time in a few decades we finally have a catcher that can actually throw out runners. What’s not to like about the deal?