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  1. Very good stuff Eric. I feel that is even more so true of left-handed pitchers, where they don’t even need to have the “enticing enough pedigree” they just need to have a left arm (see: Chen, Bruce).

    Comment by David Wishinsky — April 8, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  2. Beg to differ that he won’t hurt a team with his defense, his routes and instincts are just plain terrible. Way too many misplayed balls, particularly in left and he has a lollipop arm.

    Really after watching him closely for the better parts of two years, its really hard to see any of the “tools” that he was believed to have. He is a terrible baserunner as well and makes numerous bonheaded decisions out there. His hit tool seems to be decent, but he has had zero power and really only handles lefties well. I have no idea how he managed an almost 15 HR/25 SB season in Washington.

    Comment by PiratesHurdles — April 8, 2011 @ 9:37 am

  3. Look, I’m not a Lastings fan at all, but there is a reason teams take chances on guys this young.

    Jayson Werth’s age 22-24 seasons:
    .208/.255/.417 in 326 pa
    0.262/.338/.486 in 395 pa
    0.234/.338/.374 in 304 pa

    Milledge’s 22-24 seasons:
    .272/.341/.446 in 206 pa
    .268/.330/.402 in 587 pa
    .279/.323/.373 in 265 pa

    I know they’re very different players and have different situations and all that. I also know it’s not likely Lastings becomes anything. But it’s certainly not unheard of and it would be worth it for a lot of teams to give him a shot.

    Comment by Ameer — April 8, 2011 @ 10:04 am

  4. Not an apples-to-apples comparison. Werth was injured for most of the beginning of his career and he was a significantly different type of player, with a vastly different body type and form of athleticism. Taking chances on Werth is one thing. Taking chances on Milledge and Corey Patterson is an entirely different animal.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — April 8, 2011 @ 10:06 am

  5. I think that’s the fans’ perceptions, but the consensus I get from reading Tango, BPro, etc is that average lefty starter has to be better than the average righty starter because there are so many more right-handed batters, and RHBs generally have a favorable split versus LHPs.

    So, the idea that teams just throw a lefty out there because he’s a lefty doesn’t seem to jive with how the other team’s lineup is constructed.

    While the WARs vary depending on source, Chen has not been a highly paid commodity (only “getting paid” after his 2-3W WAR season in 08). Most years he has been replacement level or above for replacement level money … with 3 years above replacement and a couple at league average.

    Being left-handed probably doesn’t due him in favors in terms of being able to get people out. Teams keep Chen around because he usually makes $~500K, which is dirt cheap for a starter. This year he makes $2M because of a league average + 2010.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — April 8, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  6. I don’t get stuff like this. What did the White Sox learn in 4 PA over 2 games and 11 innings in LF that they didn’t know a week ago coming out of Tucson? I know he is the 25th guy on the roster, it doesn’t matter a whole lot and they weren’t expecting a 4 WAR season but what made him worse now than he was then?

    Comment by MikeS — April 8, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  7. A couple of things are wrong with this article and the first was pointed out by PiratesHurdles – Milledge is not an average outfielder. At best, he is slightly below average.

    I also don’t see how he is “the last player on a bench” – he clearly isn’t even that good or he would have stuck with one of his last four teams. His peak at this point is a AAA player.

    Comment by YoYo Ma — April 8, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  8. “Given how Milledge’s career has gone so far, it’s likely that some team will submit a waiver claim.”

    I actually disagree – I think that given how his career has progressed thus far, it appears increasingly likely that teams may be beginning to realize that Milledge blows big monkey schlong.

    Comment by Rafa — April 8, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  9. His on base skills are a lot better than you are giving him credit for. You cant compare to Patterson – Milledge has a career .380 minor league OBP, and while his MLB .328 obp is not good, most of his at bats came in his pre-peak years of ages 21-24, and as you mentioned, he is at 361 versus Lefties. Well deserving of a major league platoon or 4th OF job in my opinion.

    Comment by Dandy Salderson — April 8, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  10. Yeah I am not saying that a lefty-starter isn’t a difficult job, but let’s also be honest and say if Chen was right-handed and put up those numbers he would not have a 14 or so year career. There are guys like Oliver Perez, getting another shot (lefty) whereas a right-handed pitcher wouldnt. It isnt about their pay, it is about the fact they can stick around so long for years and years with such mediocre results.

    Comment by David Wishinsky — April 8, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  11. If the best thing you say about Milledge is that he had a good minor league OBP, you have a problem. I wish this article mentioned who was replacing him on the roster. If it’s Viciedo, Milledge likely only made the team because of injury to a better player.

    Anyway, all comparisons I’ve seen to Milledge don’t make sense yet, mainly because all other guys mentioned are useful. Milledge is a classic guy where you need to ignore the numbers (not that they’re great) and you need to see him to understand why he won’t make any team better. Bad baserunning, bad fielding, poor hitting. That’s why teams give up on him so quickly. Plus, I don’t think he has a very team oriented attitiude, which is very necessary for a bench guy.

    I hate the Patterson comparison because Patterson was actually successful early on. He was a productive major league player for a couple of years. Milledge had about a month where he looked like a future star. Look at Patterson’s year last year. Very successful as a fill in. Very good baserunning and better than replacement fielding. Even as a pinch runner, Patterson has good value.

    Comment by SKob — April 8, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  12. Dropped a flyball in Cleveland, though ruled a hit.
    Looked terrible on at least two balls in Kansas City. Even Hawk and Stoney couldn’t make excuses for him and they didn’t even try.

    Comment by Sox Fan — April 8, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  13. Except that Patterson plays a creditable center field. If your defense isn’t that good — even in a corner –, you’re NOT going to be a fourth outfielder unless you marry the manager’s daughter.

    Comment by Aaron W. — April 8, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  14. I guess the White Sox actually called up Jeff Gray… well that’s just sad.

    Comment by SKob — April 8, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  15. The problem was less Millidge and more Will Ohman. The White Sox bullpen has already thrown a bunch of innings, and Ohman has been awful pretty much every time he’s pitched. So Ozzie and Kenny agreed that they needed a 12th pitcher, thus meaning they had to DFA either Millidge or Brent Lillibridge. They chose to hold onto the latter because of speed and positional versatility. Ozzie, who is always candid with his feelings about players, said telling Millidge was being DFA’d was an incredibly difficult thing for him to do.

    Comment by Josh — April 8, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  16. With the way Will Ohman has pitched and the number of innings the bullpen has already thrown, management decided that it was necessary to bring a 7th reliever.

    Comment by Josh — April 8, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  17. Lastings has been injured nearly every year of his career so far.

    Comment by Sam — April 8, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

  18. I also wonder like MikeS. Millage is known for his fire…did he burn the bridge halfway across?

    Comment by Lightningwerks — April 8, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

  19. He’s been above replacement level each of the last 4 years, so I’d say his floor is AAAA journeyman, though the possibility he ever develops into a productive regular anywhere is getting pretty small.

    Comment by don — April 8, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  20. LM is a platoon DH v LHP with .400 wOBA in two of the last four seasons, .370 the other… not much there, and then there is the likely personal issue.

    Comment by george — April 8, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  21. I cannot unread that article title…

    Comment by ugh — April 8, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  22. I know it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. But I’m saying it’s not all that crazy to hope for a team to take a shot on guys like that. Check out the career paths of guys like Andres Torres and Angel Pagan – sometimes players take a little longer. The problem for Milledge is that expectations were extremely high and he also has a bad reputation, and I’m not even sure where the bad reputation came from. Like I said – I’m not Milledge fan, but I couldn’t fault a rebuilding team for giving him a shot.

    Comment by Ameer — April 8, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  23. I’m not faulting anyone either. I’m just saying it seems unlikely that he will pan out. And expectations SHOULD have been high. Pagan showed signs of being successful, Milledge has not. He’s certainly worth taking a flier on, but I’m very bearish on him ever achieving success.

    Comment by Eric Seidman — April 8, 2011 @ 1:51 pm


    Comment by wat — April 8, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  25. Worst article I’ve read in a while. The guy who wrote it must have been asleep this spring in which Milledge showed that his upside is still very high by posting tremendous numbers. The fact is that he wasn’t even supposed to make the Sox in the first place, but played so well in spring that they couldn’t cut him and still sleep at night. unfortunately the ineffectiveness of some of their pitchers forced management’s hand and made them get rid of Milledge after 4 at bats. Any rational and unbiased baseball fan can see that Milledge is still a developing player and has shown signs that he will possibly be a productive big league player. Im thinking Ozzie Guillen & Ken Williams might have a little more credibility than whoever wrote this article.

    Comment by conjecture101 — April 8, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  26. spring training stats? i don’t think anyone disputes that lastings milledge can hit minor league pitchers.

    Comment by larry — April 8, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  27. exactly. He misplayed two balls last week, and I think that was the prompt to drop him. Viciedo can be the same meh outfielder for the Sox, but with plenty of pop.

    Comment by Sophist — April 8, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

  28. I’m not sure that Corey Patterson is a good example for Milledge, though.

    Patterson keeps landing jobs because he’s a plus defensive center fielder that brings some value on the bases- any offensive value he provides is gravy. But with Milledge, like you said, he’s a solid-but-unimpressive defender on the corners that can’t match Patterson’s speed or base-stealing ability.

    Comment by Satchel Price — April 8, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  29. “then there is the likely personal issue.”


    Comment by BlackOps — April 8, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  30. Ok anyone who thinks Lasto Millage is a “solid but unimpressive” fielder has never seen him play. He is just about the worst defensive OF I have ever seen (watched the game for 30 years). He is downright dreadful! When he was a Nat he was brutal. He often ran semi-circles while the ball went over his head. The inside the park homerun against the NATS on opening day in 2009 was entirely his fault. His CF defense was a primary cause for the terrible ERA the NATS had early that season. Lannan is just strarting to pitch to contact again after losing confidence in 2009. LASTO is just dreadful, dreadful defensively (and I watched Dunn play LF for most of an entire season). Honestly, Lasto makes Jack Cust look like a gold glover.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — April 9, 2011 @ 12:42 am

  31. Funny you mentioned Patterson. I did a list of batters from THT’s Forecasts, Milledge was 120th of 179 LFers, ahead of only Garret Anderson and Corey Patterson among guys who played in MLB last year.

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — April 9, 2011 @ 2:54 am

  32. you ever heard of Jayson Werth?

    Comment by conjecture101 — April 9, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  33. what ever happened to Elijia Dukes?

    Comment by dudley — April 9, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  34. false. complete bull assessment based on bias and small sample sizes.

    Comment by conjecture101 — April 9, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

  35. yeah. quite different players with quite different reasons for why they stunk early in their careers. if you’re going to hold out for the extreme outlier, feel free to do so.

    Comment by larry — April 9, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  36. I plan on doing exactly that. good talking with u though.

    Comment by conjecture101 — April 9, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

  37. Disagree with the assessment of Milledge in this article. A 26-year old OF that’s played the majority of his career between the Nats and Pirates (one season where he had 14 HRs and 26 SBs) should be able to produce in the right organization.

    Comment by Brent — April 9, 2011 @ 6:28 pm

  38. Agreed

    Comment by conjecture101 — April 9, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

  39. Well known in baseball circles “toolsy” outfielders can often take a long time to develop to fruition; IF they ever do. I think the verdict still has to be out on this kid honestly…

    Comment by Thomas H — April 10, 2011 @ 3:04 am

  40. While I havn’t watched Lastings field since I gave him a high five at Shea (note: this is how his bad reputation began) I agree with Conjecture101).

    How many of Lastings’ put outs could “kick me in the GO NATS” have watched? It baffles me that people as uninformed on basic-modern-baseball-analysis as “kick me in the GO NATS” not only read this site but also take the time to post responses.

    Comment by Matt Goldfarb — April 10, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  41. Disclaimer: I did not actually give Lastings the aforementioned high-five, but I did watch him field in that game and remember ONLY the high-five.

    Very similar to how “kick me in the GO NATS” ONLY remembers him misplaying one FB that went for an ITPHR.

    Comment by Matt Goldfarb — April 10, 2011 @ 1:46 pm


    Comment by Matt Goldfarb — April 10, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  43. Exactly on target, he is a terrible fielder with bad instincts.

    Comment by Dack2 — April 11, 2011 @ 10:20 am

  44. I watched almost every game he played for Pittsburgh and there is no projection left. He is what he is, a bad fielding, bad base running, no arm replacement level player.

    Comment by Dack2 — April 11, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  45. Who would the Bucs release or DFA to sign Lastings? Steve Pearce? John Bowker? If neither of them, does he have options left in AAA? I’m not sure we have room for him in AAA. Then AA?

    Comment by NorCal Buc — April 11, 2011 @ 10:28 am

  46. That’s because “toolsy” is code for: “Does lots of stuff okay, but nothing so great that you’d point it out- plus doesn’t have good enough instincts to be called a natural.” Needless to say, there’s an awful lot that can go wrong when you’re toolsy…

    Comment by B N — April 11, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  47. I just cannot possibly fathom why they continue to hold on to Lillibridge.

    Comment by Mike H — April 11, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  48. All of you guys who comment on how bad of a defender he is and how he is not a good player obsivously know nothing about baseball. These nationals fans always have something real slick to say when millledge name comes up in the news yet the player they traded for him is not even on there team anymore. Message to these national fans you guys stunk with him and you stink without him stop acting like your this great team without milledge. This article was written buy someone who does not like millegde im sure he’s more into the Jason Bay type U know the guy that shows no emotion on the field and puts up decent numbers but in the end he never wins. Millegde will be up by the all star break

    Comment by Keith — April 13, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

  49. Excellent, keep doing you hot the idea

    Comment by Julius Pesicka — October 28, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

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