Former New York Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge signed a contract to play for the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers this season. While Milledge spent 115 games with New York, 171 with Pittsburgh, 145 with Washington and two with the Chicago White Sox, he played in 255 games for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
What a wild year it was for the Mets’ prized prospect as he built upon his strong showing at Capital City in 2004 by hitting .318/.388/.449 with eight homers and 29 stolen bases between St. Lucie and Binghamton. He played for Team USA in the World Cup in Holland and then in the Olympic qualifying tournament, tore up the Arizona Fall League (.330-5-23 in 24 games) and finally watched his name get bandied about in trade rumors involving Manny Ramirez and Barry Zito. Through it all, Milledge has continued to impress.
In November 2007, Milledge was traded to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider. In June 2009, the Nationals sent him to Pittsburgh. Last December, the Pirates cut him loose and he signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox. When the 2012 season begins, Milledge will be a Yakult Swallows player.
While I wish Milledge well, I can’t help being reminded how cloudy the crystal ball can be when predicting a prospect’s future. The New York Mets are counting a lot on players like Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia… let’s hope that they have more success than the last group of Mets prospects.
In his rookie season, Takatsu recorded 19 saves for the Chicago White Sox and finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting. He was unable to match his success in 2005 and was demoted after struggling. In August, Takatsu was released and the Mets claimed him off waivers.
He pitched in nine games for New York, and he managed to get one win despite pitching just 7 2/3 innings in those nine appearances. The following year, he returned to Japan. This year Takatsu played in South Korea, according to his Wikipedia page.