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Milledge Optioned To Class AAA Syracuse [UPDATED]

Dissatisfied with his production and tired of waiting for it, the Washington Nationals today optioned Lastings Milledge to Class AAA Syracuse, indicating to their center fielder that long-term potential does not guarantee a short-term job. Milledge's demotion represents an abrupt decommittment; only one week ago, Milledge was entering the year with a secure job -- batting leadoff, and playing every day -- and reigning status as the team's 2008 leader in home runs and RBI.

But Milledge played himself out of his role, and then out of the big leagues, in seven games. Just before Opening Day, he missed a beginning-of-the-year team meeting. He misplayed several flyballs in center, and took wandering routes toward even the balls he caught. He walked too infrequently to fulfill the leadoff role, and went just 4-for-24 (.167) with 10 strikeouts.

"We've all seen the struggles that he's had adjusting to the new spot in the batting order and adjusting to being a centerfielder in the big leagues," Acting General Manager Mike Rizzo said. "That was the reason we sent him down."

Milledge's departure frees the Nationals to find more playing time for their deep cadre of outfielders, all of whom have out-performed Milledge. No longer will Josh Willingham be stuck as a fifth outfielder. No longer will Elijah Dukes, perhaps the team's most talented player, encounter a blocked path to the starting lineup.

Washington will determine the corresponding roster move tomorrow.

So long as Milledge is gone, Dukes will handle the center field duties. Though Dukes dealt with a massive slump during spring training, his first week of the regular season reminded the organization of his merits, that he should be in the starting lineup every day. On Monday, Dukes flicked one forearm at a low-and-away two-strike pitch, forcing it over the left-center wall. This year, he's batting .381.

"He's so talented," Manager Manny Acta said. "You've seen what he's able to do already, and we need him like that."

Syracuse is already log-jammed with center fielders, including Justin Maxwell and Corey Patterson, but Milledge will get most of the starts there. The 24-year-old, though, will play the corner positions several times a week, and there is no guarantee he bats leadoff.

The length of Milledge's sentence in the minors depends on his progress, Rizzo said. A first-round pick by the Mets in 2003, Milledge has not spent time in the minors -- discounting last year's rehab assignment -- since 2007. Rizzo described Milledge, upon hearing of his demotion, as "unhappy, which I expected. I don't want a player that is glad to go down to Class AAA. But he took it like a professional."

During the Nationals' 0-7 start, Milledge contributed several of the signature moments. His flopping attempt to catch Emilio Bonifacio's Opening Day flyball led to an inside-the-park home run. In a weekend series with Atlanta, Milledge, after striking out on a check swing, slammed his bat to the ground and tossed his helmet.

Just two days ago, Milledge, discussing his slow start, said, "You know you're going to come around. It's just how long it will take and how long they'll keep running you out there and letting you fail. But I know I'm a way better player than what I'm doing now."

Privately, those in the Nationals front office have long regarded Milledge as a corner outfielder who has been forced into an unnatural position. Acta, though, has advocated patience with Milledge, saying even this weekend, "I'm not worried about him... Things will change for him. It's a very small sample so far."

While adjusting to center field, a position he rarely played before coming to Washington in a November 2007 trade, Milledge was also adjusting to a new spot in the order. In 2008, the Nationals' attack of injuries shuffled Milledge through the middle of the lineup. Only three weeks ago, though, did Acta name Milledge as the team's permanent leadoff hitter, citing his improving patience and ability as a base-stealer. Milledge didn't relish the idea of patience, though. From the beginning, he promised to be "an aggressive lead-off hitter," somebody whose performance wouldn't be measured by walks. In 26 plate appearances this week, Milledge walked once.

Milledge's demotion, Rizzo said, doubled as a "message that we need for players to perform. We need players to adapt to the major leagues, and we need players to perform."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 14, 2009; 3:13 PM ET
 
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Next: Lots Of Proper Nouns, A Little Speculation

Comments

Just as Boz predicted. Wonder if the Examiner will also be correct about Manny?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

He was 1 for 5 yesterday and that RAISED his batting average. He is a mess in the outfield. He is the poorest performing of a deep slew of outfielders. This is the best hope for getting him time and straightening him out.

Posted by: LetTeddyWin_com | April 14, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Bowden: no respect around baseball
Milledge: no repect around baseball
Olsen: no respect around baseball; but they'll keep running him out there all season long.

Acta: some respect around baseball, but over his head personality and hommage to sabremetrics-wise. makes a fine coach.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"He is the poorest performing of a deep slew of outfielders."

Kearns is hitting .158 and has done nothing spectacular in the field. Just because there are a lot of them doesn't mean it's deep.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 14, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Well that's interesting. I thought it might happen but a few weeks from now.

Posted by: irishnat | April 14, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

This also sends the correct message. If Boz is right about his attitude then frankly demoting him is a perfect response. The down side is it may well make his attitude worse, and makes him largely untradable. Still, small price to pay to let the rest of the team know that not being good enough is not good enough. Something of a departure from the Norm for this team.

Posted by: soundbloke | April 14, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

With this in mind, let's take a stab at tomorrow's lineup:
Guz 6
Dukes 8
Zim 5
Dunn 3
Willingham 7
Kearns 9
Flores 2
Hernandez 4

Still would like to see Dukes leading off, but you can't really argue with Guzman's production so far. I'm guessing Johnson gets the extra night off so Willingham can get a start.

Posted by: WMPete | April 14, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Two weeks ago we were told that Dukes was "totally lost." Guess what, he went through a funk, and has now popped out of it. Now, Milledge has a bad week and we send him to the minors?

What is going on with this team. Is there a real effort to let young players play, or not? This is a terribly bone-headed decision. It reaks of just trying to get Kearns AB's at the expense of a young player's development.

My hopes that Rizzo would do a better job than Bowden just went down the toilet.

Posted by: Nacer09 | April 14, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

the nunof1 brand of logic strikes again, this morning. blah blah blah blah blah


"And as for the Milledge demotion, sure they could do that. But if they are seriously contemplating doing it, why haven't they done it already? It's not like there haven't been any other outfielders to play instead of him until now. You may have a source inside the FO that thinks Milledge runs "pass patterns" and deserves a demotion, but the two guys who hold the keys to that decision (Acta and Rizzo) have been fully supportive of Milledge from the get-go. They know he's not there yet, but they certainly seem to be willing to wait for him to get there by playing him in CF at Nationals Park, don't they?" nunof1

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm really excited to see Dukes in Center and Kearns in right. I think our defense just improved threefold.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 14, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting wording in the press release. I'm speaking of the reference to Manny Acta refusing to suspend Milledge. And then he gets sent down now. A big shot at Lastings and a smaller dink to Acta in my mind.

"he team had warned Milledge about a possible demotion since Opening Day. Members of the organization were upset that Milledge was late for a meeting held by manager Manny Acta the day before, and they wanted Milledge to sit out for Opening Day. Acta refused, however, so the team fined Milledge instead."

Posted by: hoo93 | April 14, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is hitting MUCH better than Milledge was.

Kearns OPS is 702 to Milledge's 397.
Kearns has a 4/5 K/BB ratio. In the leadoff spot Milledge is lost as to what his role should be and has 10Ks against 1 BB.

I think his 3 swinging strikes K off of Madson was the nail in the coffin for him. It just highlighted lack of discipline at the plate.

Posted by: comish4lif | April 14, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Kearns may only be hitting .158, but his OBP (.333)is a full 100 pts higher than Milledge's .231 and his slugging percentage is 200 points higher than Lastings'. For those of you playing the home game, that equals a 300 point improvement in OPS from one to the other. But the fact is that while Kearns isn't spectacular in the outfield, neither is he a great liability. Moreover, this opens up some space for Willingham to actually get some playing time as well (yes - his numbers aren't great, but it's hard to get into a rhythm when all you do is pinch hit every now and then).

If nothing else, maybe this will send a message to Lastings that he needs to get his act together - that nobody on this team can take things for granted. And, it means Dukes can play every day, which I think we can all agree is a plus.

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I see them sitting NJ or Dunn on Thursday when we face Hamels. But it could be an opportunity to get both players some rest and allow for Willingham to play 2 straight games.

Posted by: dclifer | April 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

If you listen to Boz, his attitude is also questioned. Fining him didn't work. So next you try something more extreme. Bravo, I say!

Posted by: soundbloke | April 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

You are right about the message this sends. Nats are now acting like a ML team...they are not giving out jobs based on projected future. You earn a job by performing on the field and being a good teammate off the field.

This team is going to go on .500 the rest of the way.

Posted by: JayBeee | April 14, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

This is a good move. Loosens up the logjam in the outfield, while holding on to a talented kid who clearly needs more seasoning.

Posted by: TomServo | April 14, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

this just screams of other issues, Nacer09. Read the comments of the NJers who explained this much better than I ever could.

Posted by: 1of9000 | April 14, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

There you go Milledge haters! This is nuts - last week we was our centerfielder of the future and this week he's in the minors. I think the FO reads too many NJ comments.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | April 14, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

So does this indicate that Guzman (assuming he's healthy) is back into the leadoff spot? Can't say I love that, even if Guz is stroking the ball well right now. He doesn't walk enough (ie, ever) and he doesn't pull the ball much. His OBP and BA are nearly identical (and always have been), which means he's either getting a single or he's out. But is there really another option?

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

OPS is pretty statistically significant when the person in question has 3 hits. That isn't MUCH better than anything, even Milledge.

I'm obviously not arguing for Milledge, I'm arguing for Willingham.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 14, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Now if only Guzman's leg heals up by tomorrow....

Posted by: Juan-John | April 14, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

No words. Should have sent a poet.

In lieu of poet, however, perhaps a brief word from the inestimable C. Montgomery Burns: Excellent.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | April 14, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I think this was a good move.

Ordinarily, if you have a talented young player and you believe he's ready for the big leagues but also needs to improve, you show some confidence in him. The Giants did that when a young Willie Mays got off to a slow start and was reassured "you're my center fielder." Young players ordinarily should not have the rug pulled out from under them after only a few games, especially after leading the team in HRs and RBI the previous season (injuries to others notwithstanding).

BUT ... there are several extenuating circumstances here, first and foremost being not the glut of outfielders or the team's increasingly desperate need to turn things around in the W-L department, but Milledge's attitude.

When I read Boz's column this morning, what jumped out at me was not the criticism of Milledge's play -- we've heard that all before and written much of it -- but his assertion that team members were becoming fed up with Milledge's swagger and lateness. This can only have been magnified by the fact that Willingham is sitting on the bench.

Add to that the customary tensions in any losing clubhouse, and you have the potential for serious and long-lasting personal issues. Something had to be done and quickly, and it couldn't wait for the perfect trade.

Now, one of two things will happen: Milledge will be awakened by this splash of cold water, bear down, and turn into a fine ballplayer with a better attitude. Or, as is more likely for people with his personality, he will blame everyone else and become ever more defiant about doing it "my way." If that happens, he will bounce around professional baseball as long as he is young enough to be considered as someone with potential, and then quietly fade away. I truly hope that does not prove to be the case.

Right now, an outfield of Dunn-Dukes-Willingham should help the club and, one hopes, prevent any further fracturing in the clubhouse over the outfielder glut, though there will no doubt be continuing disagreements over the Kearns/Willingham question.

The biggest issue of all is how JayBee is going to fill all that free time he will now have.


Posted by: Meridian1 | April 14, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Concur this was a good move. I still thing LM can eventually be a good ballplayer, but let's face it - the kid needs to grow up. Yeah, he's only 23 or whatever blah blah blah - kids grow up at their own rate. There are other 23 y.o. players in the bigs that are doing well.

The team did LMillz a favor and hopefully he'll recognize it, work his butt off, grow the heck up, and become a solid player. Right now he's all potential.

Imagine what we'd have if we could combine LM's raw talent with Kory Casto's attitude and work ethic - now THAT would be a ballplayer.

Posted by: DesertNat | April 14, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut:

Hustle, two good arms, and remember the way Dukes slid for the ball (on?) near the warning track a few games back? Contrast with Dunn slipping like an old man yesterday. I'm a Dunn fan, tho. He's played with a broken hand and he is what he is. Does anyone have a better eye? Anyone?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

With this in mind, let's take a stab at tomorrow's lineup:
Guz 6

Still would like to see Dukes leading off, but you can't really argue with Guzman's production so far. I'm guessing Johnson gets the extra night off so Willingham can get a start.

Posted by: WMPete | April 14, 2009

Guzman is injured. Hamstring pull. He won't be leading off tomorrow. I think you'll see Anderson Hernandez ... with Dukes 2nd? Move Zimmerman down to eighth. Trade Kearns. Bring in Willingham.

Trade for a veteran pitcher or two.

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Milledge didn't get demoted because of his batting average; it was because of his attitude.

Plus, something had to change after an 0-7 start.

And if the Nationals really want to field the best team, they'll play Willingham in right. Austin Kearns is a better defender but I can't see him producing like Josh can over 500 at-bats.

Wouldn't it just suck if Milledge is a bust and Ryan Church & Brian Schneider continue to start for the Mets?

At the time, I believed it was a good trade ... might still be ... but Milledge's aloofness needs to go.

Posted by: rushfari | April 14, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

When healthy, Guz should still be in the 2 spot, with Hernandez leading off.

Hernandez 2B
Guzman SS
Zimmerman 3B
Dunn LF
Dukes CF
Johnson 1B
Kearns RF
Flores C

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Dunn has been impressive as a hitter to start the season - he's laying off some of the stuff he swung away at in past years (thus his higher number of walks). I agree that he's been a bit of an adventure in the field, but we don't have a DH in the NL, so what are you going to do? His performance at 1B in the WBC was terrible and unless Johnson were to get traded, we're going to need him there. You can't leave him out of the lineup, though - this team has craved a power hitter since Soriano left (in my opinion, Bowden's greatest and least forgivable failure).

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy with this news.
Milledge is going where he belongs. He's got talent and promise, but he's not ready for the major leagues. That's exactly the kind of kid who is supposed to be in AA or AAA.

This will allow Dukes to play everyday; it will allow Kearns and Willingham to get a whole lot more at bats.

The Nats just became a better team. Now, let's get some starting pitching.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 14, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

this move needed to be made. Milledge needed to be humbled, and Manny damn sure wasn't going to do it.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 14, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

But Dukes may hit 2 with Guzman down... I guess Gonzales will play short tonight?

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

BTW, another young center fielder in 1951 got off to a slow start, and got sent back down to the minors, then in Kansas City.

Straightened himself out (though we much later learned he continued his excessive off-field carousing) and turned into a pretty good ballplayer.

His name was Mickey Mantle.

So Lastings, being sent down sucks, but you have an opportunity. Let's see what you're made of.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 14, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

speaking of...I wonder what Manny has to say about this? I'm sure he wasn't involved in the decision to demote Milledge.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 14, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow's lineup, guessing that Guzman is out for a couple of days:

Hernandez 4
Johnson 3
Zimmerman 5
Dunn 7
Dukes 8
Kearns 9
Flores 2
Gonzalez 6

When Guzman is back, he can hit second, Johnson 6th, Kearns 7th and Flores 8th.

Posted by: jcj5y | April 14, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Chico - any word on whether this is expected to be a season long move or just serve as a "punishment" for a few weeks?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | April 14, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"Two weeks ago we were told that Dukes was "totally lost." Guess what, he went through a funk, and has now popped out of it. Now, Milledge has a bad week and we send him to the minors?"

Milledge demotion has as much to do with attitude as his play

Posted by: JDB1 | April 14, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone happen to hear the Phils' broadcaster (Larry Anderson?) rip Milledge in the home opener? It was brutal. Bush league throws from the outfield, lousy attitude, then chest bumping when he finally catches a flyball.

Posted by: martynchase | April 14, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Rest Guz's hammy for a few? Looked like a rolling ankle to me, BTW. Or was it an achilles? Hmmmmmm.

It will be good to see the Hammer get plenty of at-bats/starts.

Baby NJ some; we need the inspiring defense over this long season.

When NJ is out, we have Dunn at 1B.

When NJ is in, he leads off, Guz second.

Bring up Bergmann for Olsen's next turn or the turn after the next turn? I think Olsen misses the Phillies? Mutual hating societies there.

A Balester or Stamenn start soon? Be bold. We can score 5-6 or more.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Milledge's demotion is totally about his attitude.

Posted by: MrMadison | April 14, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

The demotion of Milledge says this organization expects professionalism and commitment from its players, regardless of the win/loss record. Sounds like Dukes is growing up and he's certainly playing well. And if the players have begun calling Milledge out, that's a good sign. Maybe Dunn's started raising the level of expectation in the locker room?

One more thing: Milledge had the same impact in the Mets locker room. Billy Wagner famously hung a sign on Milledge's locker saying "Know your place Rook". Just a few years earlier David Wright, then a rookie himself, spent the season carrying Cliff Floyd's suitcases on the road. Despite being an actual rising star, instead of a prospect, Wright never complained. Milledge was not -- will never be -- that humble. He's not willing to pay his dues. Milledge, like so many young men today, demands respect without actually doing anything to earn it. Not sure if that's something that can be fixed by a trip to the minors.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

flores is a better hitter than schneider and church wouldn't start on this team either.

why is bowden blamed for soriano choosing the cubs? seemed like soriano was stealing 3b with two outs every other game. he had no intention of staying. free agents make the final decision where they play. and zimmermann is the most hopeful prospect we have since, well, zimmerman.

milledge...jfc. get it together.

we could still use a pitching staff around here but i won't second-guess manny. way too many variables. people blame him for one game's results when he is thinking about a season.

and do we really need to list everyone hitting below .200 through the first week of the season? sheesh. everyone needs to chill out.

Posted by: longterm | April 14, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Blasting Lastings...looks like I'll see him when I see the Chiefs vs. the Knights on May 1 and 2.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 14, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Time on the bus may do Milledge some good. He and Nook Logan have/had the same skills, but it does not always work out. Hope it does in this case.

I love Dukes in CF. However, Kearns is not getting to at least two of the balls to RF that Dukes did yesterday. Could make for an interesting few weeks. Better defense and hitting, a heck of a lot less speed.

Posted by: Batboy05 | April 14, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

So the Chiefs starting OF will consist of Milledge, Bernadina and Maxwell. Milledge is the worst fielder of the three. It will be interesting to see if they play him in CF vs. LF.

If this does, indeed, mean the end of the Lastings experiment in CF, then they may have concluded that the best place to showcase him for a potential trade was in LF in AAA.

Posted by: BobLHead | April 14, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Better defense and hitting, a heck of a lot less speed."

Milledge wasn't on base enough for his speed to be a factor. I think this move is all upside and no downside.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 14, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious about something ... Milledge gets sent down and as of now, no corresponding move was made. That leaves the team with 24/25 players.

Guz tweaked his hammy and is day-to-day. If this is like last year, he's not available for about a week. Now down to 23/25 players.

Belliard is till day-to-day and hasn't seen action for about a week. Assuming he's still not ready, we're down to 22/25 players.

Of those 22, 11 are pitchers. That leaves 11 position players. 3 of those position players are catchers.

Let's hope that Belliard and Guzman can play starting tomorrow. Otherwise, Manny has no bench whatsoever and no one to pinch-hit.

Posted by: erocks33 | April 14, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

He belongs in Hagerstown or Burlington with his sorry attitude.

Posted by: DKB755 | April 14, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE this move. It opens up playing time for more deserving players and sends a message to Milledge that his attitude problems were not simply a figment of the Mets' imagination.

Posted by: mastroj | April 14, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"the nunof1 brand of logic strikes again, this morning. blah blah blah blah blah"

Well, as I said they surely could have done that, and so they did. But is it not valid to question why they would wait, sending out signals all along that they were happy with Milledge? That's all I've ever said. It was obvious they were giving him a chance, for better or worse. So now he goes down, and the question is will he turn into Endy Chavez v2.0 or Jeff Francoeur v2.0? Time will tell.

As for you, nova_g_man, I hear Syracuse is a village in search of an idiot. Will you be buying or renting when you move up there to spew your 24/7 Milledge hate? Because really, that's all you're good for. Not for any kind of rational analysis, that's for sure.

And to all who scoffed when I said they weren't going to trade Milledge: Heh, heh. They didn't.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Who cares? This team is awful! Look at Kern -- he is the worst hitting everyday RF in baseball -- hopefully, people will stay away from the park like they do on TV and they will move away to another city or fold.

Posted by: jwing14 | April 14, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Interesting wording in the press release. I'm speaking of the reference to Manny Acta refusing to suspend Milledge. And then he gets sent down now. A big shot at Lastings and a smaller dink to Acta in my mind."

That's not a team press release you quoted from. It's Bill Ladson on mlb.com. He's not a team spokesman, he's a beat writer. Basically equivalent to Chico Harlan. He writes analysis and opinion independent of official team thinking and policy. He has no more access to the team than the Washington Post or the Washington Times.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

How is it everyone here can only see Milledge's demotion as punishment? I think a bigger part of the issue works like this:
1) we have too many OF's.
2) Milledge's defense is killing us.
3) he's really gifted, but needs to learn more.
4) He's not hitting anyway.

So you send him to AAA (with, yes, a message saying "you're not guaranteed a spot on the roster until you produce.") where he can have 1000 innings in CF, spend a few hundred ABs taking pitches, etc. So it's not punishment, it's an actual demotion. If Kearns hits, he'll get traded and Milledge will get called back up. Let's remember - Milledge has upside (read also: a future) and Kearns doesn't.

Posted by: Section406 | April 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Now's as good a time as any to start teaching Lastings to play 2B :o)

Posted by: DoctorJoe | April 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if they gave LM the bad news by putting a "know your place, rook" sign on his locker?

Posted by: joebleux | April 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The Nats need to bring Alex Cintron up from Syracuse to take Lastings's roster spot. We're completely depleted in the middle infield, and Cintron is currently hitting .500 (9/18 in 5 games) with a .474 OBP and a .556 slugging percentage.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"The biggest issue of all is how JayBee is going to fill all that free time he will now have."

There's still Manny Acta for him to hate. And Dmitri Young could always come back too.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

This is a glorious day!

Posted by: BigCarter28 | April 14, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

1. Acta now should be questioned bigtime.

2. Milledge never was ready for leadoff duties, which was pretty evident from spring training thru opening day and should have been given a chance in the 5th tru 8th hole.
You don't start someone opening day in the leadoff spot and send them down to the minors a week later. This is a complete joke.

3. That Dukes, who is the most talented Nat, didn't even start opening day in Florida is absurd. And Acta should be questioned again on this.

4. That Acta left Rivera in after plunking two straight batters yesterday is a bonehead move.

5. That Acta left Rivera in after plunking 2 straight batters and then giving up 2 homers is mindboggling.

6. This team has no leadership from the top.

7. Acta should be let go and soon.

8. Dukes should never sit again.
T
his team is really rudderless right now. And anyone in the area who watched the Os at all last year knows that Daniel Cabrera can't pitch. What the Nats were thinking when they picked him up is anyone's guess.

That Dukes should be playing, and Cabrera should not be pitching and Milledge shouldn't be in the leadoff spot isn't rocket science. If Acta and the powers that be can't figure this stuff out, something is very wrong.

Posted by: dovelevine | April 14, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

nova_g:
yep. i figure Dukes has range and arm enough to help out Dunn.

I am very, very curious how Milledge will take this. I agree with what Meridian1 said: he'll either look inward and buck up or get attitude and blame everyone else. fingers crossed.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 14, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

re: Soriano

I don't blame Bowden for him choosing the Cubs. I blame Bowden for not trading him at his height because he was asking for everything, despite every indication that Soriano was done with DC after the season. Bowden can claim that a deal wasn't there, but just about every MLB writer had sources that said multiple offers were made for Soriano and Bowden was asking for too much. Instead, we got a compensatory draft pick which was used on Josh Smoker, who proceeded to have a terrible 2008 had offseason surgery and has vanished off our prospect depth chart.

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson should be our leadoff man, at or worst in the 2 spot.

Go to the Lineup Analysis page of Baseball Musings. Use any projections you want. I guarantee you that no matter what you do, the most proficient lineups all have Nick at the leadoff spot.

Posted by: Fozzie1 | April 14, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"this move needed to be made. Milledge needed to be humbled, and Manny damn sure wasn't going to do it."

How do you know this wasn't at least in part Manny's move? You think he fought it? I doubt that. He gave Milledge enough rope to hang himself, and he did. Had they sent him down right after the missed-meeting incident, that could have been seen as petty. They gave Milledge a chance to demonstrate that he could bounce back positively from that, and he didn't. So now it makes sense to send him down to work things out if he can.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Gee, now LM can get his old number back. And by the way, somebody ought to give JayBee a little credit here for as a soothsayer.

Posted by: nats24 | April 14, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

That Milledge - such a showoff. I am embarassed for him when he hot dogs it. He is hard to watch because everything he does is so exagerated. Saturday night he gets hit in the hand, takes forever to get to first base you would have thought he broke his leg. Then, a couple of plays later he can't score because he misran the bases on a fly ball. Charlie Slowes was about to crap his pants he was so pissed.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 14, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Same on the Nats for even trying this guy in CF, as last year he was a poor corner OF. Unless Dukes gets hurt, this guy just can't play center again. Dukes is so much a better CF, he must stay there for this pitching staffs mindset.

When Milledge does come back up (and he will), he must carve out playing as a corner outfielder and can only play CF to spell Dukes.

Posted by: tcostant | April 14, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

" don't blame Bowden for him choosing the Cubs. I blame Bowden for not trading him at his height because he was asking for everything, despite every indication that Soriano was done with DC after the season. Bowden can claim that a deal wasn't there, but just about every MLB writer had sources that said multiple offers were made for Soriano and Bowden was asking for too much. Instead, we got a compensatory draft pick which was used on Josh Smoker, who proceeded to have a terrible 2008 had offseason surgery and has vanished off our prospect depth chart."

Um we got another pick as well

Posted by: JDB1 | April 14, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

OMG! OMG! Did I call this, or what, back when Chico had us submit our predictions? I'm gonna go buy a Powerball ticket!

14.) Biggest disappointment(s) - Pitching - Cabrera (see above); Milledge (gets to spend quality time at SYR learning the strike zone)
15.) Current minor leaguer besides J. Zimmermann to make an impact - Roger Bernadina, who will play CF and leadoff while Milledge gets refresher course in SYR)
16.) Lannan, Zimmermann, Olsen, Martis, Stamman

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 6, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abus

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 14, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"Um we got another pick as well"

Yes. We did. We got Michael Burgess at #49. But the first compensatory pick, the 31st in the draft, was on Smoker.

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Fozzie, we have very few leadoff prospects even on a good day with everyone healthy. But now, with all the injuries, NJ is STILL not a leadoff man. Don't get me wrong, great OBP, great eye. But the man's a statue.

Now the 2-hole? Possibly.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Nunof,

You are an repeated apologist for a struggling franchise."

No I'm not. I just call things as I see them, as do the rest of you. It just so happens that my take does not match with your take more often than not. If I correctly say that they're not going to trade Milledge or Stan Kasten is not leaving or whatever, it is because that's how I read the tea leaves and the signals the FO and manager are sending out by what they do. It doesn't mean I agree with what they're doing (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, sometimes I change my mind), it just means that that's what I think is going to happen.

"So you think things are just rolling along smoothly then?"

I think they are improving. Two steps forward, one step back. At worst, one step forward, one step back.

"You criticize the heck out of Chico and Boz."

It may seem so, but again it's just my take and apparently my take doesn't often agree with a lot of yours. But I also think that many of you are frankly afraid to say or hear any criticism of anything related to the Post here. Why is that?

"But a team that has had 3 straight losing seasons you have none whatsoever?"

Of course I do. I just don't post them all. I do post some. Let me turn the tables on you. Have you anything good to say about the team? I surely don't recall it if you do.

"What say you?"

I just did.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

And my point is that two compensatory picks, who are far away (if ever) from making the team hurt us far more than Soriano being traded for major league ready talent.

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward:

I second NatsNut on both counts. Won't it be nice when we have enough depth in the farm system that guys will have time to develop there rather than being rushed to the majors (as I believe was the case when Milledge was with the Mets)? Also nice to have enough outfielders so that we don't have to play someone out of his natural position.

---

I feel bad for Milledge but I think this is a good move.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 14, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Nunof,

Wow... that's quite a high self-opinion you have. I look forward to increasing my understanding of the finer of the game under your guidance.

I don't think you can claim -- yet -- that Milledge won't be traded. The season is young. I don't think I recall you predicting a demotion either. Although Boswell did. Oh wait, I forgot. He's actually a journalist, rather than a blowhard with a keyboard.

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Michael Burgess wasn't for Soriano.

The two players we got for Soriano were Josh Smoker (comp pick) and, ahem, Jordan Zimmermann (Cubs' round 2/#3)

***********************
"Um we got another pick as well"

Yes. We did. We got Michael Burgess at #49. But the first compensatory pick, the 31st in the draft, was on Smoker.

Posted by: banjax451 | April 14, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: NatsNut | April 14, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post that but nunof beat me to it. :-D

---

"The biggest issue of all is how JayBee is going to fill all that free time he will now have."

There's still Manny Acta for him to hate.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Good move Rizzo, "Benda Knee" will now take his road-show north. High fives and all, he was not ready for the show, however there was a classey guy that should be on this team and he is not and thats Justin Maxwell. Lets hope cool heads prevail and Maxwell gets the call when they trade either Kearns or Willingham.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The Phillies color guy on XM commented that Milledge was doing fist bumps on the fly he caught to end the 5th when "someone needed to get up in his face". I'll comment here that if someone had gotten into his face, perhaps sending him down would not have been necessary. Frank would get in your face. Maybe that's not Manny Acta's style. There was a reason guys hated to play for Frank. Just like there was a reason they played way over their talent level the entire time Frank managed them. Can't say that about Manny...

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 14, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

This is a good move, good for the club, potentially good for the player, if he chooses to make it so. He has the ability to be a decent left fielder if he refines his game.

The questions raised are about front office consistency and what was accomplished in six weeks in Florida?

Posted by: advocate2 | April 14, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

So you're arguing for the guy with the .000 BA and .154 OBP?

Look, I have to listen to games on the radio. But if Charlie and Dave are any indication, Kearns has played some solid defense in right. And he did get off to a strong start.

He was hitting .273 with a .429 OBP as recently as Friday. He's 0 for his last 8, with 2 BB, 2 K, and 2 GIDP during that stretch. He's also only started twice during that period.

With four outfielders, there should be enough ABs for everyone. Hopefully we'll see more of a comfort level from Willingham and some consistency from Kearns.

----

OPS is pretty statistically significant when the person in question has 3 hits. That isn't MUCH better than anything, even Milledge.

I'm obviously not arguing for Milledge, I'm arguing for Willingham.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 14, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Didn't play much center before coming to Washington?

I distinctly recall Milledge saying that he felt uncomfortable playing a corner position, telling the reporter that his offense struggled as a result of being out of position while with the Mets.

Who do we believe?

Posted by: rushfari | April 14, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

>Interesting wording in the press release. I'm speaking of the reference to Manny Acta refusing to suspend Milledge. And then he gets sent down now. A big shot at Lastings and a smaller dink to Acta in my mind.

"he team had warned Milledge about a possible demotion since Opening Day. Members of the organization were upset that Milledge was late for a meeting held by manager Manny Acta the day before, and they wanted Milledge to sit out for Opening Day. Acta refused, however, so the team fined Milledge instead."

Oh it's a big dink. They had to remove Milledge from the situation, not because he wasn't playing well, but because that's the only way they could keep ACTA from putting him in the lineup every day. It has little to do with Milledge, he's just the excuse. It's all about Acta, have no fear. That's the ultimate - they have a manager with an attitude problem who defies management. It's passive-aggressive, which some people aren't picking up on because it's hard to spot, but that's what it looks like. Acta's toast. It's not even worth arguing about, because Rizzo didn't hire him, and he's not gonna put up with Manny's churlish behavior. I love this game>

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I have seen enough of Milledge on the field and am glad that he's not with the Nationals right now, but I don't really see how playing centerfield in the minors is going to make his fielding any better. He's had plenty of time in the OFs of the National League, and he's not gotten any better at all. Trade him for something and write him off. None of our other trades have worked out anyway, so there's no egg left to be on anyone's face.

Maybe they can package him with this "Kern" fella.

Posted by: mike8 | April 14, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Re: Not trading Soriano

I don't know what we were offered for Soriano, so I can't say it was good or bad to hold on to him for the picks. But aside from the players we chose with the 2 compensatory picks, the sheer volume of picks we had that summer gave us flexibility to take chances in that draft. We took a big chance on Jack McGeary, and I think that will pay off in the next couple years. I'm not sure the Nats pick McGeary if they have 2 fewer picks in the first 2 rounds of that draft. No way to know for sure. Besides, that's not even Bowden's worst move. Botching the Crow negotiation should be JimBo's legacy in DC- even if Kasten pulled the plug, it was JimBo who couldn't even get Crow to the table to negotiate.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | April 14, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

aren't syracuse and buffalo relatively close? maybe lmillz and t.o. can run some pass patterns in their spare time. first soch gets bowden gone and jaybeee does the same with milledge. i'm scared of you guys.

Posted by: surly_w | April 14, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I shreiked with joy when I heard this. Marques Grissom stated that 'you can't teach instincts', so Milledge is not going to get better. And he's an attitude that misses meetings too?!? Get him out of the organization while you can get something for him, because they are going to fool around with this alleged 'potential' and end up DFA'ing Milledge like WMP.

The real question is why did Manny defend Milledge for doing this? What kind of message does this send to players like Willingham, Kearns and Zimmerman -- players who show up on time and work hard every second of every day.

Goodbye Lastings.

Posted by: raymitten | April 14, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse


"So you're arguing for the guy with the .000 BA and .154 OBP?"

I guess, but at least it's completely irrelevant since it's so few ABs. You're backing a guy who SLUGGED .316 all of last year. See where that ranks among all players let alone RF. Not to mention the neverending GIDPs.

Posted by: RickFelt | April 14, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

JiM - and two of those 8 outs were ropes, right?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 14, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"It's passive-aggressive, which some people aren't picking up on because it's hard to spot, but that's what it looks like. Acta's toast."

Is it so hard to spot because whether Acta is passive or aggressive he's sitting the same stoic way on the bench? Now that you've psychoanalyzed Acta successfully, can you do the same with those three guys standing like statues out in the plaza? They worry me. Yesterday they appeared passive, but if they get aggressive they could do a lot of damage with those multiple arms and bats.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

>Now that you've psychoanalyzed Acta successfully

Thanks for agreeing. I knew you'd come around. It won't be long until the whole thing plays out. It's right on schedule. So glad about this Milledge thing.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"The real question is why did Manny defend Milledge for doing this? What kind of message does this send to players like Willingham, Kearns and Zimmerman -- players who show up on time and work hard every second of every day."

Keep in mind that what Manny says to the press may or may not echo what he says to the players or to the front office. My guess is that often it doesn't. Manny is not one to air his team's dirty laundry in public - which is a good thing. I bet Milledge has been reamed so hard by Manny in the clubhouse over the past couple weeks that he can no longer sit down.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

And to all who scoffed when I said they weren't going to trade Milledge: Heh, heh. They didn't.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 4:09 PM

*****************************************

Ah, but they will.

AAA: The perfect place for Lastings to light it up for a month or so, then package him with other (noone wants him alone; not enough upside) position players and trade for TWO pitching prospects.

BUY THE BATS, GROW THE PITCHERS.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Move Zimmerman down to eighth.

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 3:44 PM |

I don't know if this is snark, or the most ridiculous suggestion I've ever read in these "pages".

Posted by: fischy | April 14, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Most baseball experts are wondering why it took the Nats so long to send Milledge down. Certainly the Mets, who unloaded him on us, wondered why he stayed in Washington this long.

Compare Milledge to center fielders across the majors:

Hitting: Milledge is well below average.
Hitting with power: Below average.
Speed: Below average
Glove: Way below average
Arm: Way, WAY below average.

The Nats made a great decision here. Develop Maxwell and Bernadina as understudies to Dukes, and forget about Milledge.

Posted by: ThinkingOne | April 14, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

That Milledge - such a showoff. I am embarassed for him when he hot dogs it. He is hard to watch because everything he does is so exagerated. Saturday night he gets hit in the hand, takes forever to get to first base you would have thought he broke his leg. Then, a couple of plays later he can't score because he misran the bases on a fly ball. Charlie Slowes was about to crap his pants he was so pissed.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 14, 2009 4:29 PM

****************************************

so true.

i love the guys who don't/won't look at it until later; maybe rub some dirt on it or something; sprint or hotfoot it to fitst base. willie does. utley did last night. cal used to. many more. but not our baby, the last one born to state trooper milledge and mom.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"Thanks for agreeing. I knew you'd come around. It won't be long until the whole thing plays out. It's right on schedule. So glad about this Milledge thing."

Even if Acta is a bad manager (and I'm not convinced that he is) I still don't understand why you all want him replaced now by your candidate of choice, be he internal (Foli, Riggleman) or external. That guy is just going to be toast as soon as they hire a real GM and it's not Rizzo - and maybe even if it is. All this talk about Acta being the transitional manager. Well, maybe he is. But is the transition at hand yet? This is not going to become a playoff team right now if they bring in a new manager. There will be continued muddling along and gradual improvement until they're ready for the breakthrough. Why not let Acta continue to preside over that? Do you really need another sacrificial lamb?

And to those who keep bringing up the Caps as a parallel situation, there are three BIG differences. (1) The Caps had already been to the playoffs. (2) The Caps already had their superstar player in place - Ovechkin. The Nats have nobody comparable yet. (3) The Caps did not have an interim GM.

Manny Acta may or may not be a good manager, but it makes no sense to fire him now.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"a blowhard with a keyboard."

Posted by: outsider6 | April 14, 2009 4:51 PM

***********************************

nails nunof1 exactly; his picture appears next to that phrase in the thesaurus.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nova,

I wonder where DCCapsfan, RickDotSalt, Spamcastin, etc. are these days?

Posted by: Section505203 | April 14, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I've been on Milledge since last season. He's a hack and everyone now knows it. As I said earlier today, he can't hit, can't field, can't show up on time, and can't respect the game. So now we can him. GREAT JOB! Now let's see if the sacrificial lamb thing works. Otherwise, by Friday I'll be bringing the rubber chicken for some "SCHLUNGEN KAPORES!"

Posted by: luv2bikva | April 14, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if this is snark, or the most ridiculous suggestion I've ever read in these "pages".

Posted by: fischy | April 14, 2009

He left a lot of guys on base during this losing streak. Check out his batting average.

Willingham complained to management about his "situation" indicating that he wanted to be traded. He opened his mouth, so its time to put up or shut up.

Let Zimmerman fix what's broken batting seventh or eighth.

R Zimmerman WSH 3B
GMS----AB-----RUNS----HITS----DBLS----TRPLS
7 33 5 7 4 0
HRS----RBI------TB----WALKS---STRKOUTS--SB
2 7 17 1 8 0
CS-------OBP--SLUGGING-BAT_AVG
0 .235 .515 .212

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Emporer Acta is not wearing clothes and the citiznes of Natstwon are beginning to notice.

Milledge being sent down is a failure in management. Manny picked the kid to BOTH lead off and play CF every day, when it was hard to believe he'd have true success in either role much less both. Acta either failed to select the right guy or he failed to manage him into any kind of success in these crucial roles. Lastings may not be mature enough right now to be an every day MLB player. much less an every day CF and lead off man -- is any one very surprised?

Acta has a habit of Christening players into roles and letting them not produce in those roles in perpetuity. He has not inspired good play, not shown himself some masterful in-game tactician, nor has he instilled a quality attitude in this young team.

He is simply not the right guy for this job.

Posted by: dfh2 | April 14, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

nunof1: "And to those who keep bringing up the Caps as a parallel situation, there are three BIG differences. (1) The Caps had already been to the playoffs. (2) The Caps already had their superstar player in place - Ovechkin. The Nats have nobody comparable yet. (3) The Caps did not have an interim GM."

Right on. But the Lerners should really have listened to what happened in Ballston and the Verizon Center (re: Ovechkin) and followed suit with a good deal for Zimm-n.

Posted by: luv2bikva | April 14, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

R Zimmerman WSH 3B
GMS----AB-----RUNS----HITS----DBLS----TRPLS
_7_____33_______5______7_______4________0
HRS----RBI------TB----WALKS---STRKOUTS--SB
_2______7_______17______1________8______0
CS-------OBP--SLUGGING-BAT_AVG
_0______.235____.515____.212

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

ACTA's firm commitment that LN was HIS CF and lead off hitter.......another reason Acta has to go...NEXT, i hope....

5 guys PLAY everyday.....Zimm....dukes.....Dunn.....
Goozie.. and Flores......

all the others are up in the air...TBD....

Posted by: unc1dmo | April 14, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

>Why not let Acta continue to preside over that? Do you really need another sacrificial lamb?

No. But that won't stop them from firing him.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Acta's toast. It's not even worth arguing about, because Rizzo didn't hire him, and he's not gonna put up with Manny's churlish behavior. I love this game

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009

The Examiner apparently agrees. Two more losses to Philly will mean that the NATS have been swept by every single Eastern Division opponent.

Wouldn't that qualify as a good enough reason to terminate a major league manager?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

wrong, misguided, dysfunctional, MIA

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The Nats won't get swept by Philly. We're winning tomorrow.
We'll get to Blanton, and Martis and the bullpen will be good enough to win.

Posted by: usmc53 | April 14, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Pass routes to balls
Lunging strikes
Time to go learn now.

Where you been, HaikuMan?
We need you more and more

Geezer

Posted by: utec | April 14, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

lots of new posters since the announcement. some excitement. so understandable.

i feel cleansed, not having him around anymore. i'll bet many of the guys feel glad that the infection is gone as well. team chemistry has not been bad, and a few wins will explode it; we have some gamers. none of the starters, tho, just position players. i liked it when tavarez kind of argued with acta when he was pulled. i enjoy watching him pitch; start him once or twice?

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Milledge needs a few months with Crash Davis.

Posted by: gilbertbp | April 14, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The certainty that everyone is speaking with is pretty hilarious.

I think we all need to take a step back and question who knows the game, clubhouse, and abilities of any player/person in the organization: us, who read 2nd hand what the organization lets us hear? or the organization, who pays people specifically to do things like this. And let's not forget, as many people are prone to pointing out, the Lerners probably won't pay for inefficient or undesirable products.

Building a team takes more than three seasons (plus 7 games).

Posted by: NattyDelite | April 14, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"Acta's toast. It's not even worth arguing about, because Rizzo didn't hire him, and he's not gonna put up with Manny's churlish behavior. I love this game

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009

The Examiner apparently agrees."

The Examiner? That freebie rag that I had to pick three scattered copies of off the seat on the Metro before I could sit down coming home from the game yesterday? I pay them no heed. What does the Washington City Paper have to say about the matter?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"Right on. But the Lerners should really have listened to what happened in Ballston and the Verizon Center (re: Ovechkin) and followed suit with a good deal for Zimm-n."

Ryan Zimmerman is not the baseball equivalent of Alex Ovechkin. Not even close. And I like Ryan Zimmerman,

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

"Hey Nova,

I wonder where DCCapsfan, RickDotSalt, Spamcastin, etc. are these days?

Posted by: Section505203 "

I don't care. Why do you guys?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't care. Why do you guys?
Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 6:23 PM

******************************

Well they're missed. Kind of like a hemorrhoid that disappears one day.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

the roster move; any guesses or wants?

i'll take a speed and/or defense guy, but who? cintron, i guess.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Very interesting that you would answer that question Nunof, very interesting indeed.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 14, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Nats are 2-3 plus years behind O's as franchise. And winning.

Posted by: Realness1 | April 14, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

>Nats are 2-3 plus years behind O's as franchise. And winning.

They just need a new manager, that's the main difference. The two pitchers the Nats draft in June will push them forward quite a bit. Especially Strasburg. That's something the O's don't have is an ace. Although they do have some good pitching in AA and AAA. Time will tell.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

>the roster move; any guesses or wants?

They could even make a trade. It doesn't have to be someone within the organization.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I think that it will be Cintron, they need someone who can play middle infield due to Guzman's tender hammy, Harris going on the DL and Belliard ailing too.

Posted by: dfh2 | April 14, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The Examiner? That freebie rag that I had to pick three scattered copies of off the seat on the Metro before I could sit down coming home from the game yesterday? I pay them no heed. What does the Washington City Paper have to say about the matter?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009

They only predicted that Snyder would go after Cutler only a month and a half before it occurred? What about the rags read? Where do you get your information? From the scribblings on the Men's room wall at the stadium?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

"Two more losses to Philly will mean that the NATS have been swept by every single Eastern Division opponent."

holy poop on a stick! how did i miss them playing the mets this year, let alone being swept!

Posted by: sec231 | April 14, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Again if the NATs get swept by Philly, they will have been swept by every single Eastern Division rival. In a row.

Isn't that enough to get a major league manager fired?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Four or five more losses and it will be Acta who is on his way to the unemployment office... And given his comments at his press conference today (about not being concerned about finding work...) maybe the sooner the better.

As far as Milledge is concerned -- anyone who has honestly seen him play sees potential indeed. But the big leagues isn't where you learn the game -- it's where you perfect the game. It's not where you learn to track fly balls in an almost comedic fashion.

Perhaps this is the best thing for Milledge. If he can't learn or isn't coachable then he won't last anyways. But, if he learns the game and gets his head on straight maybe someday he will be back.

Bottom line: Milledge's skills set is simply lacking. He needs time to learn the game and perfect his skills.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 14, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I said this many times last year ad nauseum when Bowden replaced Frank Robinson with Manny Acta that told me all i needed to know about this orginization and its baseball IQ,While Frank was looked upon by some as "old school" and a grump you never had to worry about effort or fundamentals and Frank wouldn't tolerate any krap from anyone and you can bet your bottom dollar that Milledge nor anyone else would challenge F.Robby, how this franchise doesn't have this man employed in some capacity in the front office or as its head of minor league oprerations is beyond me.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 14, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Again if the NATs get swept by Philly, they will have been swept by every single Eastern Division rival. In a row.

Isn't that enough to get a major league manager fired?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse
*****************************************

Ummm...we haven't even played the Mets yet, so you're wrong on that. Still, this is a pretty embarassing start to the season.

Posted by: BGinVA | April 14, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag;

Couldn't agree with you more. The problem is that Frank Robinson is too classy for this subset of shopping mall shysters.

It only takes a glimpse at the 2005 season to see the difference between Robinson and Manny Acta.

Acta may be a nice guy, but he's in over his head. I am alternately amazed and amused that the Capitals turned their team around in half a season and have now won back to back division championships.

How many generations do the Nationals need to field a team that remotely resembles a professional organization. From top to bottom that are just woefully lacking.

Posted by: randy_boyd | April 14, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

"Well they're missed. Kind of like a hemorrhoid that disappears one day.

Posted by: nova_g_man"

Well, sorry I can't help ypu there. The village that elected me idiot has no idea where they are. Maybe they're in the village where you guys hold down the idiot chairs.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"Very interesting that you would answer that question Nunof, very interesting indeed."

I get tired of this back-and-forth in-talk, like between you and nova_g_man, NatsNut, natsfan1a and JohninMpls, etc. You got a problem with that? If you guys like talking back and forth between yourselves so much, why don't you just exchange e-mail accounts, Twitters or whatever and get a room?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Ummm...we haven't even played the Mets yet, so you're wrong on that. Still, this is a pretty embarassing start to the season.

Posted by: BGinVA | April 14, 2009

TRUE. But by the 29th of this month they will have played nothing but Eastern Division rivals INCLUDING the METS.

Given the performance of the starting pitching, the dearth of defense, what do you think the NATS record will be at that point?

And what is your prediction as far as Manny Acta will lasting into May?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Quote from today's paper: "If you think we're worried, we're not," [someone] said. "We're closer than it probably seems. We need to play defense and pitch a little better. We have to battle through it. Things will turn."

Manny Acta, or Ryan Zimmerman? Doesn't matter. It exhibits a clear lack of leadership qualities, shows a total lack of grasp of what it takes to inspire a major league team, and is obviously someone who has no reason being in a position of authority on a major league team. Fire that man!

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

So Milledge gets optioned out; OK, that makes sense. Clears the OF clutter & gives Dukes/Kearns/Willingham a better rotation in CF-RF. The question that arises is who replaces him on the roster? The team has 48 hours to make the corresponding move, and it should be a two-part move, IMO.

1) With Milledge down (for at least 30 days, barring injuries in WAS), either bring up Bergmann [to bolster the bullpen], or add Cintron to the 40-man [if Guzman's injury puts him on the 14-DL].
2) Move D.Young from the EST/14-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear the additional roster spot for JZMM.

The downside to moving Milledge to the minors is that Langerhans will most likely be the "odd-man out" in SYR & lose his position & contract there.

Posted by: BinM | April 14, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey, here's a fun fact: Milledge was our best offensive player last season, and is only 24. The way you all act like 7 bad games is proof he is and forever will be terrible is absurd.

If you don't like him at lead-off, move him down in the order; if you don't like him at CF, move him to right (or left if/when Johnson gets traded). But if you really think that over the course of the season, the team is better with Kearns than Milledge, well, I have Kearns's last few years to show you; and they're damn sure not better off over the long-term.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | April 14, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

nunof (& countless others): I see you've all jumped onto the "fire Acta" bandwagon. Think about what you're saying for a minute. Do you really want Riggleman to manage the Nationals' for the remainder of the year? With Rizzo in an "interim" position at GM, he'd be the clear choice as an "interim" manager. No outside candidate would want the job in that situation, unless they were trying to claw their way back to the majors, and whould hiring one of them that really solve anything?

Posted by: BinM | April 14, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"nunof (& countless others): I see you've all jumped onto the "fire Acta" bandwagon. "

You need to get your eyesight checked, then. I am decidedly not in the Fire Acta camp. Go back and re-read, please.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

> I have Kearns's last few years to show you; and they're damn sure not better off over the long-term.

Uh, we didn't demote Milledge, the organization did. They could have just benched him, but they were afraid that Acta would stick him in the lineup again. And again. And again.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

>whould hiring one of them that really solve anything?

Yes.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

> am decidedly not in the Fire Acta camp.

You gotta be kidding. After all this?

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

>The downside to moving Milledge to the minors is that Langerhans will most likely be the "odd-man out" in SYR & lose his position & contract there.

Get his address and send him a check.

Posted by: Brue | April 14, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm not on the "fire Acta" bandwagon either. It does seem like a very strong possibility unless the team makes a sudden turn-around. Maybe this is all apart of fielding a young team?

One really clear problem appears to be a lack of veteran leadership on the pitching staff? Is that Acta? Many here say that's Bowden/Rizzo/Kasten.

Perhaps they need someone like a Pedro Martinez to lead the staff?

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"> am decidedly not in the Fire Acta camp.

You gotta be kidding. After all this?"

All what? Bloviation from you? I certainly don't pay no heed to that.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I get tired of this back-and-forth in-talk, like between you and nova_g_man, NatsNut, natsfan1a and JohninMpls, etc. You got a problem with that? If you guys like talking back and forth between yourselves so much, why don't you just exchange e-mail accounts, Twitters or whatever and get a room?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 7:13 PM
____________________________________________________________

Call me out all you want, I couldn't care less.

But let me get this straight, you're going to call out 3 of the most civilized, longest tenured, and well respected people on this blog in NatsNut, Natsfan1a and JohninMpls, For what?

Man, you and all the other monikers/personalities that you use on the NJ have got some problems.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 14, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I am hearing that Millidge was hated in the locker room and that the veterans were happy to see him go. Might have put pressure on management to send him down for an attitude adjustment. Let Dukes play center for the next 155 games. The team will be better for it.

Posted by: MKadyman | April 14, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

What does this move prove?
1. No one here or in the press actually has any idea what the Nat's management is actually talking about or what they are saying to the players behind closed doors.
2. It's easy to send a message to a young player that has options.
3. The adults are in charge.

On another note: Syracuse's game tonight was postponed so Zimnn is now available to come up and pitch tomorrow. At this point what does it matter if you are the No 1 or No 5 pitcher. We just need someone to help right the good ship Nationals

Posted by: ecmdfan | April 14, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Prediction: You won't see Milledge in a Nats uniform until the September callups.

Ladson sez Bernadina and Cintron will be recalled with Goozie going on the DL with strained hamstring.

June 1 for Goozie.

Get used to that Gonzo-Anderson Hernandez DP combo.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 14, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

huh? what'd i do?

Posted by: NatsNut | April 14, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

"Right on. But the Lerners should really have listened to what happened in Ballston and the Verizon Center (re: Ovechkin) and followed suit with a good deal for Zimm-n."

You are not seriously claiming that Zimmerman is as talented of a baseball player as Ovechkin is a hockey player? Are you? Wow- that easily takes the prize for the stupidest thing posted today. Look, it's not even close. "Zimm" isn't in the same ballpark as Ovechkin. Not in terms of talent and not in terms of attitude or will-to-win. Hell, he's not even on the same planet. To make that comparison you must not know anything about baseball OR hockey. This "Zimm" worship that some of you guys have is frankly pathetic. He's not even the best 3B in his own division (David Wright), let alone proven ANYTHING that makes him worthy of being called the "Face of the Franchise" or whatever other slobbering praise you give him.

As for Lastings... Why is anyone surprised by how this turned out? He was well know for having a ghetto attitude in NY, which is why the Mets were happy to part with him. There's a sucker born every minute, and that clown JimBo was only too willing to play that role in the pursuit of yet another "toolsy" outfielder.

Posted by: brian1va1 | April 14, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Brian1va1, brian1va1, brian1va1, CHILL BABY!

Posted by: luv2bikva | April 14, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of the Ryan Church situation - he was given a starting job in ST (CF if I recall)and began acting like an entrenched veteran. He too crashed in short order and was sent to the minors. Yes, Milledge has been playing out of position but I don't see the growth in the field, at the plate or on the basepath. Soriano had to make a bigger change and he made himself an all-star. So far LM is acting like a punk. The team has a wealth of outfielders and LM can't recognize that he is the weakest link. This team doesn't need to tolerate or cultivate bad boys anymore. If LM doesn't develop an appetite for humble pie he is done.

Posted by: SackMan | April 14, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

"But let me get this straight, you're going to call out 3 of the most civilized, longest tenured, and well respected people on this blog in NatsNut, Natsfan1a and JohninMpls, For what?"

Not calling anyone out for anything other than as example of conducting back-and-forth conversations between each other here in the comments. Nothing wrong with that really, I suppose, I guess it's just like what you get on Facebook, etc, listening to other people talk with each other. But I just find it a little annoying is all. I find it annoying on Facebook too, but what you gonna do?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"Soriano had to make a bigger change and he made himself an all-star. So far LM is acting like a punk."

Soriano had a bit of an attitude at first too, if I recall. He learned. Maybe Milledge will too.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

"Prediction: You won't see Milledge in a Nats uniform until the September callups."

Unless someone gets traded or someone gets hurt, of course. The latter of the two is more likely than the former, and based on past experience with the players involved is practically a certainty. Of the group of OF/1B (Dunn, Dukes, Willingham, Kearns, Johnson) the only one with a history of making it through a season without DL time is Dunn. Prediction: Milledge will be back up because they won't have any other choice.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been on the Zimmerman bandwagon since 06, He seems to have lost the edge and whomever compared his level of play to that of Ovechkin is just plain stupid, and on another note saying that Milledge had a "ghetto" attitude smacks of a bigoted mindset, i was Lastings biggest critic however having never met the young man i would never refer to his personality as ghetto and neither should you.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 14, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

You can talk bad about Milledge, or Kearns, or Acta, or even Zimmerman, but DO NOT come after Natsfan1a, NatsNut, or JohninMpls. And leave Bob.L.Head and the other champions of sanity alone too. I scan for comments from posters I respect and their posts are among my favorites. Apologize and go to your room!

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 14, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Who's coming after anyone? I just used them as an example of people who talk between themselves on this forum, which I'm sure even they won't deny that they do on occasion. All I said was that I find it annoying, mainly because I don't know what they're talking about when they do it. Likewise the back-and-forth nod-nod, wink-wink between the two guys who initiated this whole waste of a sub-thread. People keep attacking me for running down other posters, but I don't see myself as doing that. Just because my opinions don't agree with others' opinions a lot of the time doesn't mean I'm running them down. This is a discussion board, right, not a fan club? So differences of opinion ought to be allowed, I'd think.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Were any posters at the game? The two plays he made in the top of the fifth were probably the best two CF plays since the NATS moved south. Agree that he is out of his element as lead off. Manny put him there AND Manny was involved in the decision to trade the true lead off candidate to Florida.

Also, the official scorer recorded 3 errors on the Nats. My section (105) counted six, two by fleet a foot Dunn and a throw by Guzman that was 12 feet toward home on a routine grounder.

Posted by: navboss | April 14, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

ummm, so your talking back and forth with me right now right?

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 14, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

"People keep attacking me for running down other posters, but I don't see myself as doing that." nunof1

"I don't really compare myself to [another] player, cause I want to be more special than somebody else.” Lastings


Priceless.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Guess we'll see what tomorrow brings ... hope springs eternal. Even if they are winless on April 30th.

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

BTW, wakeup Mr. Zimmerman. Your fielding may be better than Millege's but your batting statistics aren't that much better. If this team was run by Frank Robby you might be benched as well.

Can't wait for Spring Training to end because you were ready? Its long past midnight.

Posted by: periculum | April 14, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

ummm, so your talking back and forth with me right now right?

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 14, 2009 11:17 PM
________________________________________________________

Classic. I was thinking the same thing myself.

Ah yes, Nunof you have made some more friends I see.

If the NJ was a locker room would you be Lastings Milledge?


JohninMpls,

Can you play the role of Mike Rizzo and send Nunof1 to the AAA farm club of the NJ.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 14, 2009 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Look guys, if all you want to do is attack me or ask me to explain myself whether I'm posting anything about the team or not, feel free. I just won't be responding to anything any more unless it's about the team or baseball. You don't like me and/or my opinions. I get it. How about we just move on?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Frank Robinson is going to turn 74 this summer, for those of you who look so fondly back on those years that you think he should still be running the team.

Posted by: mike8 | April 14, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

emilio bonifacio, the leadoff hitter for the florida marlins, sparked his team to its 6th win, scoring two runs tuesday night. he was 2-5, which brought his BA below the .500 level. he leads the league or is near the league leader in BA, runs scored (11), hits (14), and SB (4).

in other news, in a career-killing move, lastings milledge, leadoff hitter for the last place washington nationals, was optioned to the minor leagues. espn reports that milledge's trade value has plummeted, though he may bring as high as a fifteenth round choice in the june draft.

Posted by: nova_g_man | April 14, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"Were any posters at the game? The two plays he made in the top of the fifth were probably the best two CF plays since the NATS moved south."

I was there and I personally didn't see anything wrong with the routes he took to catch those balls. Also I didn't see anything wrong with him and Dukes exchanging a high five with each other as they left the field after making three great catches between the two of them that inning. For at least one inning, that was some mighty fine outfield play yesterday.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

When will Emilio Bonifacio's Hall of Fame induction be? I need to clear my schedule.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 14, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Ok guys, let's get one thing straight: Frank Robinson was a terrible manager. He had a lifetime .475 record over 16 managerial seasons. Of those 16 seasons, only 5 were winning seasons. He never won a division, and only 2 of his teams even placed in 2nd. He was twice voted the worst manager in baseball in Sports Illustrated player polls. Are we really pining for this guy? Those good ol' days when we went from .500 in 2005 (after a monumental post-all-star break collapse) to 20 games under in 2006 even though we acquired one of the most exciting players in the game (Soriano)?

Oh, but at least he got in the ump's face every once in a while. Please stop this nonsense.

Posted by: WMPete | April 15, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

"He had a lifetime .475 record over 16 managerial seasons."

Not bad, though, considering the amount of time he spent napping in the dugout during games. At least Manny stays awake to watch his team lose.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 15, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I don't disagree, WMPete, with Frank's managerial prowess. But his lifetime .475 managerial record is still much superior to Manny's career .400 win percentage. The point here is whether Manny is up for the job; the record suggests he is not.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 15, 2009 12:57 AM | Report abuse

hey, nova_g_man, you know you can't trade picks, right? i mean, i assume you do, but if so, that joke makes no sense.

also, i hope you were totally against trading bonifacio for olsen and willingham at the time (for the record, NOBODY was against it, beacuse we got two proven vets for a guy who maybe had potential, but was awful for us last year) and not one of the 98% of people whining about character issues when we traded for dukes in the first place.

look, maybe bonifacio is an all-star for the next ten years; maybe milledge never breaks into the majors again. but there's something to be said for valuing a track record; milledge has one (and a good one from last year), kearns doesn't, and bonifacio has 8 days of one. we probably shouldn't make career-judgments quite yet.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | April 15, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

What was Frank's play-off record?

Oh, right, he was never in the play-offs. But that's not his fault.

I wonder if there's cell phone reception in the Nats dugout at the new park.

Posted by: mike8 | April 15, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Rick Felt I didn't realize Kerns was hitting .158!!! Then I checked Willingham at .000!!!! You're right, just because there are a lot of them Doesn't mean it's deep.

Posted by: Pete433 | April 15, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

To Frank Robinson's credit though, he did do a great job managing the Orioles in 1988. Took over from Cal Sr. with a record of 0-6 and guided that ship home to a glorious 54-107 finish.

And you guys do know, don't you, that if they hadn't traded Bonifacio for Willingham, Milledge would still be on this team?

Posted by: DCCapsFan | April 15, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

No disrespect to Frank Robinson, but I remember his managerial tenure here all too well. Napping in the dugout, letting starting pitchers go just a little too long, his overfondness for the hit-and-run. And I remember the consensus when he was not renewed, that the game had passed him by, that he was out of place in an age of sabermetrics.
I also think that Manny Acta may be dumped soon, not because of any specific deficiencies as a manager, but just because when your team loses a certain high percentage of games, that's what happens, in any sport (see, e.g., Eddie Jordan).

Posted by: TomServo | April 15, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

I am still hopeful that Milledge can find the humility to embrace the change that he needs to make before he can be a successful player. It would appear that he may never be a quality centerfielder. His arm is not suited for rightfield either. And while it seems he is likely our fourth best candidate to play leftfield there are a number of teams who could improve themselves with Milledge in left. Unfortunately, his value as a trade commodity has probably never been lower. He will need to recover some of that value before he can be dealt. I still think the trade with the Mets was a worthy gamble. Schneider has done less for the Mets than they hoped. Church can still be of value, but there are rumblings there about his level of effort and character. This may simply be one of those trades that turned out to be less important to both teams than either had hoped.

Meanwhile, the Dukes for GIbson deal still looks stupendous and I am atill a big fan of the Bray for Kearns deal. You know the only player the Reds acquired in that trade who is still in the majors is Brendan Harris and the Reds had released him within 6 months of acquiring him.

Posted by: natbiscuits | April 15, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Quick confession and dope-slap for myself:

During the offseason especially, I was one of those posters who thought Milledge would make for at least a league average leadoff hitter, maybe better. I looked at the .355 OBP 2d half of 2008 and his running ability and his pitches per plate appearance and thought he could fill that role. Lots of stat projections made me feel comfortable with my thinking. Once Dunn was acquired, I thought the only slot for Milledge would be CF, and I thought he had shown enough last year to earn a good try out. I figured he'd improve defensively, too, with experience.

What started to get me worried was his reaction when he was named leadoff hitter. Specifically, Chico mentions that Milledge thought as a leadoff hitter his job was to be aggressive rather than get on any way he could. Basically, he thought he could move away from what made him successful.

I've seen slumps before, and I could live with him being in a slump if his approach was right, but there was no indication that his approach was right. Even his pitches / plate appearance (4.4) was deceptive this year because it takes at least 3 pitches to strike out. That, the availability of an option, and the glut in the OF made this move necessary.

I hope he straightens things out in AAA because I hope players do well. I think he needs time in CF there because I still think some of his defensive faults can be overcome with experience in the position. I'm guessing Maxwell and Bernardina will not be held back by playing Lastings. As for whether we will see him again this year, I'm more than willing to say he has to earn it and that he should be in no better shape than Maxwell or Bernardina when it comes to a later call up.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 15, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Can you really be successful in the major leagues when you are #85. Great move.

Posted by: burf23 | April 15, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Milledge at 2nd base while in Syracuse?

I agree with Doctor Joe. I think it would be an excellent idea for Milledge to learn 2nd Base while in the S'cuse. I've been coming across several baseball articles recently speculating that the "new thinking" in baseball is to place your power hitters at the 2nd Base position. If you think of Milledge's fielding capabilities, I think he would be well suited for 2nd base. But he would probably never agree, because CF pays more money. I hope he knows how the Soriano 2nd base to LF move worked out so well and would be willing to do the reverse.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 15, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Why bring Bernadina, another outfielder, up from the minors? Why not give a relief pitcher a shot?

Posted by: jbartelloni | April 15, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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