BREAKING NEWS: Nats Option Milledge to Triple-A

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, April 14, 2009 | , | 2 comments »

Here's the two sentence press release:

The Washington Nationals today optioned outfielder Lastings Milledge to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Incredible really. I guess the Nats want Milledge to learn how to be center fielder, and maybe more importantly, a professional in Syracuse. The ball is really in Milledge's court now. He can either go down and prove why the Nats went out and traded for him in the first place, or he can go down and sulk and eventually get discarded.

Milledge is not the first player in the history of the game to be labelled as "can't miss" but never reach his potential due to attitude. And he has plenty of time still to realize that potential. But it's been obvious to those watching with a more than casual eye this season that Milledge's demeanor has devolved since he arrived last off season.

I sincerely hope Milledge takes this not as a demotion, but as an opportunity to work on the things he needs to in order to become a major league center fielder, a lead-off hitter and a contributing member of the organization.

The outfield at Syracuse just got a little more crowded.

One more thing this move does: It puts EVERYONE on notice. From manager Manny Acta all the way down to whoever is called up in Milledge's place.

We'll have to wait and see until Wednesday, but we have to assume this means Elijah Dukes becomes the everyday center fielder, with Kearns and Willingham splitting time in right. But with Kearns just 3-for19 to start the season, you have to wonder how long his leash is going to be.

Who leads off? I have no idea. Back to Guzman is the hamstring isn't so bad?

Things just got a little more interesting around here.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2009. All rights reserved.


  1. Groundskeeper Willie // April 14, 2009 at 3:44 PM  

    Finally. A nice call from the Front Office.

  2. Anonymous // April 14, 2009 at 4:23 PM  

    Maybe Corey Patterson can teach Milledge basics of playing the CF. Patterson is a great defensive CF. In 9 seasons his fielding is 98.7% which is higher than great CFs Mike Cameron (98.6%), Ken Griffey Jr. and Carlos Beltran (each at 98.5%), etc.