The Pittsburgh Pirates non-tendered Lastings Milledge yesterday, following a season which he hit for a .277/.332/.380 line in 379 at-bats. Milledge also struggled on defense, taking some very interesting routes in the outfield at times. He did have strong numbers against left handers, with a .320/.414/.512 line in 125 at-bats, making him a strong platoon possibility.
Back in September, Charlie at Bucs Dugout had a good article about why Milledge shouldn’t be non-tendered. I agree with the idea that Milledge shouldn’t have been non-tendered, and personally would have liked to see him return. The Pirates have several outfield options on the 40-man roster, with John Bowker, Steve Pearce, Alex Presley, and even Ryan Doumit. Milledge hasn’t outperformed any of them, although none of the other options have outperformed Milledge. Milledge is still young, and has a chance to live up to his potential. His cost would have been higher in his first arbitration year, but it probably wouldn’t have been much more than what the Pirates have paid players like Ryan Church or Eric Hinske in recent years, and Milledge offers more upside than those players if he has a breakout season.
On the other hand, I can see how people wouldn’t want him to return. There’s no guarantee that Milledge sees improvements on defense, or improves at the plate, which means he could just be a more expensive version of Steve Pearce. What would you have done? Do you think Milledge should have been tendered an offer, or were you fine with the non-tender?