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Pirates cut Lastings Milledge rather than pay him $1 million

Dec 3, 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

Milledge waits

Once upon a time Lastings Milledge was a top prospect whose on-field upside was clouded by his problematic personality. Three teams and 1,655 plate appearances later, it turns out maybe he just wasn’t all that good.

Milledge has hit just .269 with a modest .723 OPS in his five-season career, including .277 with a .712 OPS in 113 games this year, and last night the Pirates non-tendered him just before the midnight deadline.

The move came out of nowhere in part because Milledge is still just 26 years old, but mostly because he was arbitration eligible for the first time and would have been in line for a modest raise to around $1 million.

For the perpetually rebuilding Pirates to cut bait on him for that price shows that they soured on him completely in the 18 months since acquiring Milledge from the Nationals along with Joel Hanrahan for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett.

General manager Neal Huntington told Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the Pirates “remain open to continuing dialogue with Lastings” and possibly re-signing him for a lesser salary, but that makes little sense given that his salary would have been just $1 million or so. You don’t cut a player projected to make $1 million and then try to re-sign him for, say, $500,000 if you think he has any kind of upside.

  1. BC - Dec 3, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    Man alive, other than Wright and Reyes, have my Mets had a top prospect actually DEVELOP over the past 20 years?? Jefferies, Pulsipher, Isringhausen (well, OK he became a decent closer), Paul Wilson, Alex Escobar, and now Milledge. We seriously need some scouts who know what they’re doing.

    • twinsfn343 - Dec 3, 2010 at 11:24 AM

      To be fair to the Mets though he was a can’t miss prospect out of high school. The guy had the quickest bat of anyone I ever played against. I remember after he transfered into our district a few guys from our team went to go check him out and half the Red Sox were there watching and he hit an absolute laser beam homer. Ironically I did have a nice conversation with the Mets scout and he seemed competent enough lol

      • CJ - Dec 3, 2010 at 12:02 PM

        I too think their scounts are perfectly competent. I still think they should’ve kept Manuel around and given him an extension.

        Signed,

        A loyal Phils Phan

  2. jfk69 - Dec 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    If I was him i would consider changing Lastings “to will work for league minimum Milledge”.

    • CJ - Dec 3, 2010 at 12:01 PM

      Or to “Won’t be Lastings very long with my new team either Milledge”

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