Well, Jim Bowden and the Nationals have brought in Lastings Milledge and his Wily-Mo-Pena-ish potential. That makes your likely 2008 Nationals outfield: Wily Mo (true breakout season imminent), Lastings Milledge (potential to be ultimately realized), and Austin Kearns (destined to bounce back from a down season). Throw in an occasional appearance by Nook Logan and Justin Maxwell and that’s a well-rounded, run-producing outfield.
Yes, the trade came at the price of Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. Even looking at the trade completely objectively (as opposed to blindingly optimistically), it’s a tremendous deal. Capitol Punishment summed it up nicely, saying, “[Milledge] is every bit as good as Ryan Church offensively RIGHT NOW, plus he's 6 years younger.” A youth movement and a “win now” upgrade all in one. Schneider, though not exactly hold, is getting older, and with youthful clutch home-run-hitting catcher Jesus Flores set to move up in the ranks, plus Schneider’s rapidly increasing salary, such a jettisoning may have been imminent anyway.
So, that’s a successful rebuilding of 2/3 of the outfield in the last year (and the entire outfield in under two years) with minimal net loss to the team. The trade is yet another confirmation of the growing suspicion (if nowhere else than in our minds) that Nats’ management believes the worst of the rebuilding is over and it’s time to look to building a champion.
The best part? More magnificent moves are on the way. Bowden says they’re not done. It’s going to be hard topping the pillaging of one of the Mets’ top prospects (after shutting them out of the postseason, let’s never forget that), but we eagerly await the next championship-luring move.