With all the negatives going on with the Mets, many of which I brought up in my post yesterday, I felt it appropriate to offer a solution to some of these problems.
Lastings Milledge needs to play. And Lastings needs to play every day, starting in Right Field instead of Shawn Green.
Milledge isn't going to light the world on fire, and he certainly won't be perfect. We can expect flashes of brilliance and flashes of youth, as we are apt to see from 22-year old Outfielders.
It's a bit shameful that the job isn't Milledge's outright. I know that Green is the established veteran, but right now, Green is hitting .272 with 8 HRs and 32 RBIs, numbers not acceptable from a corner OF position (unless said corner OF is Benny Agbayani). There seems to be this unfounded dislike for Milledge within the Mets system, of course it all goes back to questions of his character when they drafted him, and continued to fester during the "Know your place, Rook!" incident last year, and his Rap record this year, but it's gotten to the point where Willie's criticism of Milledge borders on hypocritical favoritism. It's OK for Delgado and Reyes to do their Home Run dances in front of the dugout. But Milledge? Oh Noooooooo! God forbid we should have a player who reacts with joy and zeal (not Zeile) because he appears to be genuinely excited to simply be in the Major Leagues, let alone providing some sparks to a mostly dead lineup (other than Reyes). Let's use our veteran guys, who either creak around the outfield, or aren't even outfielders to begin with, Willie thinks.
Whether or not it's true, all this negativity focused on Milledge makes me believe that they're more than likely to trade him before long, which it is clear that this would be a) Totally against public opinion, and b) A gigantic Mistake.
Even buried in the 8 hole in the Batting Order, Milledge has been able to affect some change, and his hustling play has led the Mets to victories. Remember that game against Cincinnati, his first game back? How he dashed from first to home on Gotay's bloop hit? You think Green can do that? How about Beltran? Marlon Anderson? Nope, probably not.
Of course, Milledge scored the winning run and got criticized by his Manager for the slide into home plate.
Memo to Willie: It's time to shut up and play this kid. Stop complaining about the "attitude." He's going to be a spark, and what's the point of having him here if you're just going to let him sit on the bench and pinch hit? The fans want him. The fate of the entire season is probably at stake.
Play Lastings Everyday. Starting Now.