That’s the question posed by the NY Times’ Ben Shipgel, as he catches up with Mets prospect Lastings Milledge, currently toiling with the AFL’s Grand Canyon Rafters.
At 20, often the youngest player on the field during these Arizona Fall League games, Milledge (above) boasts exceptional speed, tremendous outfield range and a frighteningly quick bat. During a showcase event in high school, his throws from the outfield were clocked at 96 miles an hour. He tore through Class A St. Lucie in the first half of last season before being promoted to Class AA Binghamton, where he batted .337 in 193 at-bats. And while Milledge acknowledges that he still needs some polish, Kevin Morgan, the Mets’ director for minor league operations, raves about his precociousness between the foul lines.
Milledge, it would seem, is one of those can’t-miss prospects. Except, of course, he still can. Even though the Mets project him as a fundamental component to their future – billboards with his face alongside those of JosÃ© Reyes and David Wright should be ready for 2007 – Milledge is caught squarely in the crosshairs of an organizational predicament. With the World Series over and off-season maneuvering picking up steam, the quandary facing General Manager Omar Minaya as he tries to move the Mets up a notch is whether Milledge could help them more if he were playing somewhere else.
That is, should the Mets hold on to Milledge, a player with a seemingly endless upside, or, bowing to the transitory nature of the sport, package him in a deal in coming weeks that could supply immediate help, perhaps the big bat they need to turn an 83-victory team into a contender?
“If the Mets are looking to trade him, I know 29 teams who would be more than happy to take him off their hands,” said a veteran National League scout, who asked that his name not be used because he was commenting on another team’s player.
With Luis Sojo displaced after the hiring of Larry Bowa, the Yankees might be adding former Royals manager Tony Pena to Joe Torre’s staff, writes the NY Daily News’ Sam Borden.
There are several advantages to bringing in Pena, who won the 2003 AL Manager of the Year award in Kansas City but stepped down in May after a difficult start. First, the Bombers are looking for a Latino presence on the staff since former third base coach Luis Sojo is not expected to be with the major league club in 2006. Sojo, who will be replaced by former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, has expressed interest in becoming the manager of the Class-A Tampa Yankees because that is where he lives, and he likely will be accommodated.
Sojo was very popular with the Spanish-speaking players on the Yankees and had a particularly good relationship with Robinson Cano. Joe Torre often used Sojo to help gauge the rookie’s emotional status, so there is the hope that Pena might develop a similar chemistry.
The second benefit to adding Pena is that the Bombers currently are without a specialized catchers coach. Bench coach Joe Girardi worked with Jorge Posada, John Flaherty and the other catchers during spring training and continued that responsibility during the season, but he has left to become the manager of the Marlins.
Another benefit, unmentioned by Borden, is that with Sojo having already refused a demotion to coach at 1st, Pena is a natural for the position. If reports out of K.C. are to be believed, who would know more about how to get to first base?
….and what took him so long? From Phil Mushnick in Monday’s NY Post.
We’re supposed to applaud Sheryl Swoopes’ courage in revealing that she’s gay when her self-outing coincided with her paid endorsement of a cruise line that caters to lesbians? Until dough was dangled, her seven-year relationship with a woman was no one else’s business? How’s that for the courage of one’s convictions?
Heck, if there’s money in it, I’ll admit it, too. I’m a lesbian. Bon voyage!
Though Phil is correct in implying there’s something screwy about such an announcement having a corporate sponsor (in this case, Olivia Cruises), surely Mr. Integrity can acknowledge that Swoopes is waving goodbye to any number of other endorsement opportunities?
And besides, Fred Smoot already turned the gig down.
Hall Of Famer Al Lopez passed away this weekend at the age of 97. Lopez wore the tools of ignorance in some 1918 games, a record that stood for more than 40 years.
As a manager, Lopez led the ’54 Indians and ’59 White Sox to American League pennants. The former club won 111 games in the regular season before losing to Willie Mays’ New York Giants in the World Series.
You don’t have to be Vincent Gallo or Leah Archibald to know that Buffalo’s 21-16 loss to the Patriots on Sunday barely registers on the Bills’ list of All-Time Chokes. Just the same, Bills fans can take the following away from the experience :
a) you had a banged-up, beatable New England squad on the ropes, and couldn’t get the job done.
b) On 4th and 7 with 2:03 left and trailing by 5, maybe Kelly Holcomb has to thrown the ball further down the field?
c) YOU JUST GOT BEAT BY A STROKE VICTIM
The above headline does not refer to the Eagles’ Donovan, who came out on the short end of a 49-21 decision to the Broncos Sunday afternoon. Instead, I pay homage to the Austin Ice Bats’ veteran F John McNabb (above), whose 2 goals —- one on a nifty breakaway, another on a 3rd period powerplay — helped the local CHL side get off the schneid with a come from behind 5-4 win over Lubbock, their first of the season.
Trailing 4-1 entering the 3rd, 4 unanswered goals in an 18 minute span improved the Ice Bats’ record to 1-4, this after being outscored 12-4 in the weekend’s previous losses to Bossier-Shreveport and Rio Grande.
If I’m ever again tempted to refer to the likes of Shea Stadium or Brentford’s Griffin Park as “charmless”, I need only compare either venue to the sparsely populated Travis County Exhibition Center (which in all fairness, has to be a far more happening joint for non-matinees and/or motocross. I’m not actually sure about the motocross, but Lt. Dangle isn’t returning my calls). However, Ice Bats management are doing their very best to improve the ambience and if the heavy rotation of Local H and Sponge wasn’t enough to keep hockey neophytes entertained, they could also enjoy the smooth between-periods stylings of the Concordia University Jazz Ensemble. John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, etc. move the fuck over. I’ve heard the CUJE’s version of the “Peter Gunn” theme and everything I thought I knew about life and love, never mind music, was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Not having spent a moment in Frank McCourt’s company, I can only speculate as to whether or not Tommy Lasorda has been whispering in the Dodger owner’s ear. Though some of you seem pretty certain that’s exactly what has been going on in the wake of Paul DePodesta’s sudden firing.
Though I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend checking out Lasorda’s blog at MLB.com (Tommy needs a new ghostwriter even more than Bill Romanowski), some of the reader comments that have gone up in the past two days are priceless, in their own special way.
You wouldn’t have anything to do with DePodesta’s dumping, would you? I remember how big you were on loyalty, when did that change? You had a couple of bad years (remember 1992? I sure do), thank goodness your owner wasn’t so fickle.
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org | October 29, 2005 02:51 PM
Screw you Tommy. And screw Bobby Valentine while you’re at it. They should have kicked your old antiquated carcass out to the curb when they had the chance. Now you’re going to run this organization you claim to love into the ground. I can’t wait for the next Shaw-for-Konerko stroke of genius. You and McCourt can go to **** as far as I’m concerned.
Posted by: email@example.com | October 29, 2005 02:53 PM
I’ve always had affection for you. You’ve obviously suddenly gained great influence over the future direction of the Dodger franchise. The McCourts have demonstrated nothing but sheer ignorance and vanity in how they approach running the team, so your role is crucial.
Given that, here’s what fans need to hear you say:
“I made a mistake trading Paul Konerko.”
“I made a mistake dismissing the potential of Pedro Martinez.”
“I’ve learned from these stupid blunders, and will not advise that the Dodgers repeat them now. Specifically, I will make sure the McCourts continue to recognize, as they did when DePodesta was here, that trading our blue chip prospects for over the hill ‘name’ players might be a PR dream but is bad for the long term future of the franchise. If I see Frank or Jamie heading in that direction, I will come to them and say, Frank and Jamie, I tried that before, and I failed, and I’m still miserable about it. I personally cost the Dodgers at least two division championships in this decade because I so devalued Konerko.”
Tommy, I don’t know if you can do this. But if you did it, and did it publicly, the sting of this unjustified firing would be much eased.
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org | October 30, 2005 02:44 PM
A Bengals fan just took a handoff from Brett Favre. Given that the Packers QB has been throwing balls to dudes in orange all afternoon, Mr. Gatecrasher can be excused for thinking he was entitled.
I can already see Mike Tice’s new job —- celebrity spokesperson for StubHub.com
I’m still trying to figure out which performance was more awkward, Jeff Garcia hosting SNL last night, or his futility against the Bears.
(it’s been a career day for Tiki Barber, 206 yards on 24 carries and one TD)
While watching the Giants humiliate the Redskins, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the former’s finest all-around performance since the 2001 NFC Championship win over the Vikings. Not that I haven’t already quit up on this one —- with Pat Ramsey in the game, presumably Washington has, too.