Who is with me when I say that when Xavier Nady returns from the DL, that Lastings Milledge still better be the starting right-fielder for the Mets? I know that Milledge has probably been brought up a year or so too early, but I’m really excited as to what the future holds for Milledge and the Mets. The Cameron/Nady trade now looks even better as the Mets dumped a lot of salary, and now have a deep outfield anyway, an area of the Mets that we expected to worsen significantly after the departure of Mike Cameron. I do hope that Willie Randolph decides to start Milledge on a consistent basis, rotating in Nady for Floyd/Milledge from time to time.
Xavier Nady is a career .263 hitter, and I don’t think he has much future in the Mets organization. The guy was touted as a player that could drive the ball to all fields with power, but he hasn’t really lived up to the hype out of college. The guy has never played more than three-quarters of an entire season, and has never hit more than 13 HR’s, or drove in more than 43 RBI. The Mets are fortunate that they got .267, 9 HR, and 22 RBI out of Nady, who I think will serve as an excellent fourth outfielder for the Mets.
Lastings Milledge arrived on the scene just a little over a week ago, with all baggage aside, and has lived up to the hype thus far. Milledge is hitting .308 with 2 HR’s and 8 RBI through just nine games as a Met. As we’re all well aware, when Milledge hit his first big league homerun, when returning to the field, he slapped hands and exchanged celebratory gestures with the Mets fans down the right field line. He was quickly disciplined by Willie Randolph and the New York Media, yet I don’t really understand why.
These types of actions shouldn’t be looked down upon for a number of reasons. First of all, the kid’s got character and heart, something that is missing from a ton of big league players, and most notably on the Mets, Mr. Carlos Beltran. It was Milledge’s first HR as a Met, in front of a big crowd, with 2 outs and 2 strikes in extra innings. We see so many players that are fazed by the New York lights, and the pressure that comes with competing in the biggest market in the country; yet, Milledge is slammed for the manner in which he celebrated a huge hit for his team. We want our athletes to be confident at the plate and in the field, something that Milledge is. We want them to also interact with the fans and get personal with people, yet we slam those who take part in a minor celebration of an accomplishment. The kid’s got swagger, confidence, and he’s got skills.
Given all the hype for this player, I found it hard to believe that he would be able to live up to it all. I truly hope this Milledge experiment lasts a real long time, because this Mets team looks like a real contender, and it would be great to get him some October experience at a young age. If Willie knew what was best for this kid and the Mets, he’d let “Lastings be Lastings“, and let the home crowd revel in his glory.
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