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More on the Mets/Nats Swap

Many have argued this winter's relatively weak free agent class would result in an offseason dominated by trades.

Just a day after Matt Garza was swapped for Delmon Young in a former top prospect super-trade, another former top prospect was traded, this time the Mets' promising outfielder Lastings Milledge.

The Mets sent Milledge to the Nationals today for catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church.

Like many around the baseball blogosphere, I'm a little shocked the Mets received so little.  Milledge only hit .272/.341/.446 on the year in a small sample of 184 AB's, but we're all aware of his tremendous talent and just how well he projects.

The same guy the Mets were thinking about trading for Dan Haren or Joe Blanton last January is now being traded for the likes of Schneider and Church.  How quickly things change.

I was very impressed with Jim Bowden when he acquired Wily Mo Pena from the Red Sox for cash considerations and a PTBNL; I feel this is yet another instance in which he has walked away with highway robbery.

Fangraphs recently made the 2008 Bill James Handbook projections available on their player cards, so let's take a look at how each player involved in the deal projects this upcoming season:

If you're a fan of the Bill James Handbook then it's difficult to defend Omar Minaya's decision to move Milledge.

Milledge and Church have strikingly similar projections whereas Schneider looks like he will once again carry out his reputation as a good glove, no hit catcher.

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't keeping Milledge and bringing back Paul Lo Duca sound a lot more intriguing than trading Milledge for Church and going with a catching tandem of Schneider and Johnny Estrada?

There's a good chance Milledge and Church produce at the same level next season however, Church doesn't present nearly as much upside, he's older and Milledge is farther away from reaching free agency.

Perhaps there were other "personal" issues that contributed to Minaya's decision to make this move, but from an analytical perspective I just can't defend it.  Hats off to Jim Bowden.