Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dukes to Battle Milledge for Nationals CF spot. Seriously?

From the mouth of Ladson.
According to baseball sources, the Nationals have decided to let Elijah Dukes and Lasting[sic] Milledge compete for the center field job.

I don't even know where to begin here (besides the obvious Bill Ladson Lastings misspelling), and I've been thinking about this for 13 hours. Seriously? Really? Here is what we DO know:
  • Dukes is more machine than man, demonstrated by his right arm acting more like a frickin howitzer than flesh and bone.
  • Milledge was battling it out with LoDuca last year for worst arm on the squad.
Erm, 'scuse me for pointing out the obvious here, but it seems to me that if Milledge comes up losing that CF gig to Dukes, it's safe to say he won't be playing RF. Don't forget, we still have Kearnsie (for now), whose defense it much much much better than LMillz's.
More of what we do know (with a very small sample size, granted):
  • Dukes 162 game avg: .235/.359/.443; OPS+ 110; 28HR; 79RBI
  • Milledge 162 game avg: .263/.329/.407; OPS+ 91; 16HR; 72RBI
That Dukes avg includes a pretty miserable 07 for the Rays, as well. Looking at those lines, which guy is more suited for a corner OF spot? Nah, you don't even need a hint, do you? Again, if Millz looses out to Dukes for the CF spot, what position does he go to?

Two things immediately pop to my mind (Well, three, but you guys aren't interested in how much I could go for a brown sugar & cinnamon Pop-Tart right now). One, it doesn't seem like the Nats have Milledge in their mix for the 09 season. Two, it doesn't seem like the Nats have Milledge in their mix for the 09 season. They couldn't justify him playing RF; They signed Willingham to play LF; They're still looking at Dunn for 1B; They still have WMP and Kearns and Harris.

Look, I'll admit Milledge didn't play the best CF in the world last year. I do contend, however, that he made tremendous strides out there. His defense at the end of the year was waaaaay better than his defense to start the year. He used to track fly balls by guessing where it might land, and make the biggest circle possible to get to said landing point. At the end? He would guess where it might land and make a neat little... arc. But, hey, it's progress, right? Also, let's also not forget, folks...Millz did take out Utley on that double play ball.

My point is this... let both of them fucking play, for Christ's sake! Dukes probably has the biggest upside right now of any Nat, but gosh-darnit, Milledge ain't no Nook Logan. PLAY THE KIDS! Now, this point becomes moot if Millz outplays DOOKS! for the CF spot, but I wouldn't go bet the house on that. An outfield of Willingham/Milledge/Dukes intrigues the shit outta me. Let's give it a go, Jimmy Bo. Finally, more of what we do know:

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