November 30, 2007: The New York Mets trade Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for Brian Schneider and Ryan Church
The first impression of this trade is definitely a puzzling one. There were a lot of trade rumors going around, and most included Milledge, so I expected him to get dealt. However, all of those rumors circled around him being traded to boost our pitching staff. So when I saw this trade, two things came to mind: 1) This is all we traded Milledge for? and 2) Now what are we going to do to boost our pitching staff?
I suppose if you look at the first question, the trade starts to look better the more you think about it. We traded a developing outfielder for another young outfielder plus our new starting catcher (which means no more Johnny Estrada, but that trade was still more than worth it just to get rid of Guillermo Mota).
I always liked Ryan Church, but I don't really know enough about him to know how he will compare to Milledge as our right fielder. The justification from Omar Minaya seems to be that Ryan Church will be a better player in the present, to help the win now approach. Milledge certainly has a brighter future, but I'm not so certain that the potential will be realized. Losing Lastings doesn't really sting me too badly.
However, that is where the second question comes in. I had no problem trading him for pitching help, and was eagerly anticipating seeing which pitcher we would get for him, be it a guy like Dan Haren or even the mighty package for Johan Santana. However, now we are seeing some guys slip off the market and others where the front office is struggling to put a package together for. I don't like to think about what could have been, but I can't help but wonder what could have been done with him, and what will not be able to be done now that he's gone.