Long coveted outfielder Lastings Milledge has been (reportedly) traded from the Mets to the Nationals, with the Nationals giving up outfielder Ryan Church and catcher Brian Schneider.
My thoughts on the trade:
With apologies to the Mets fans out there, as a Nats fan I'm still not ready to call this one a fleecing. I'd rather see just how Milledge does over the next few seasons. I count him as a potential upgrade to what the Nationals have had in the outfield, but how much of an upgrade is still questionable.
I don't look at the loss of Church as something too bad for the Nats. Church should be near his peak at this age and if this is the peak, I hate to say it's not good enough for my tastes. If it was up to me, Church would have been a 4th or 5th outfielder at best this season. (Kearns looks to be holding the right field job still, but maybe now platooning a bit. Wily Mo Pena will be over in left, sharing time there. Milledge goes to center sending Nook Logan to the bench or in as a backup/platoon player. Dmitri Young might split time in the outfield too. And oh yeah, there's also Maxwell looking for a place to play).
Thanks to catcher (and former Mets property) Jesus Flores being available as a rule 5 pick last year, Schneider was headed to the bench a lot of this season anyway. He handles pitching staffs very well, and is a pretty good defensive player, but his bat just wasn't there last year. It might come back this year, as the Mets have a much better offensive line-up than the Nationals did last year so Schneider can go up to hit and not feel pressured to be the guy that gets the key hit. He'll have more than enough protection around him in the line-up to get some decent pitches.
This could wind up being a great trade for the Nationals, but I suspect it's more balanced than that, and that it will wind up being a good move for both teams with the Nationals left waiting a while to see what Milledge really delivers.