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Friday, November 30, 2007

From the Front Office

Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden and Coach Manny Acta just held a conference call to announce the big trade of Brian Schneider and Ryan Church to the Mets for Outfielder Lasting Milledge. We were and still are a little shocked by the trade, its kind of like watching two of your good buddies move away. We are very sad to see both of them go, and wish them nothing but the best in NY.

With that said, both Manny and Jim sounded pretty excited about the deal during the conference. Bowden made the announcement and said that Milledge fits right into "the plan" as he is a young (22) player who will likely develop into a middle of the lineup impact hitter. The Nats will control him until 2012, so it bodes well for the future of the team. Jim also said that the Nats paid a steep price for the young player by dealing Church and Schneider. He thanked both of them for their work on and off the field, and made it clear that they will be missed.

Manny said it was a day of mixed emotions, but that the Nats are getting a guy that fits into the plan. He sounded confident in Milledge's abilities to play strong defense, produce runs, and bring a lot of energy to the team. When asked about the controversy surrounding Lastings, Manny defended him wholeheartedly, and said that Milledge is a good kid, who became a big leaguer at a young age, and had to learn a lot quickly. Acta said he has no doubt that Lastings is going to be just fine with the Nats. When asked if Milledge will be the Nats starting center fielder in 2008 Manny said it was still too early to tell. He's waiting till after Spring Training to make that decision.

After the Q&A with Jim and Manny, Lastings himself called in to answer a few questions. He said he is very excited to be with Jim and to play for Manny. Lastings admitted that while he struggled in New York Manny was there for him and showed him the way. Milledge said he would make sure to play hard for Manny. When asked if he thought he could play CF for the Nats, Lastings was confident in his abilities. He was drafted as a CF and feels like its his premier position. He feels comfortable playing in both left and right field as well. Milledge said he welcomes the playing time and that it's a relief to be with a team for a while.

Jim, of course, was asked about losing Schneider's veteran influence and leadership. Jim said that Austin Kearns, Dmitri Young and Ryan Zimmerman could step up to fill that void. He continued to emphasis that the goal was not to fill the 25 man roster perfectly, but to pick up a building block for the future. He cited some concern over losing two left-handed hitters, for example, and about the status of Jesus Flores. Jim did not give a clear answer, but said he is still open to allowing young Rule 5 star Flores to take the position.

Acta and Bowden continued to emphasis their desire to build a team through drafts and trades, using free agency only as a last resort.

We were encouraged by the conference. Milledge seems very excited to be part of a young team and glad to be given the chance to play. Manny couldn't say enough about him and seems to be very confident in his abilities. We are excited to see what Lastings will bring.

Milledge is a career .257 hitter. In 59 games with the Mets last season, he batted .272 with nine doubles, seven homers, 29 RBI and a .341 on-base percentage.

Sure to be lots of reflection and discussion about this over the next few days....leave your thoughts!


Blogger kristen23 said...

Here's a very unhappy but very good Lastings fansite: http://blastingsthrilledge.blogspot.com

4:01 PM  
Blogger kristen23 said...

Fansite is linked here

4:03 PM  

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