White Sox, Milledge reach agreement
Lastings Milledge is younger than some previous White Sox gambles — Andruw Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez. But even though Milledge is still only 25, he, too, is at a crossroads.
The White Sox reached agreement with Milledge on a minor-league contract Wednesday, a move that could prove beneficial to both parties.
Milledge, who spent the past 11/2 seasons with the Pirates, will start anew with a contender. The White Sox, who currently list only five outfielders on their 40-man roster, will add depth while awaiting the arrivals of some of outfield prospects such as Jared Mitchell and Jordan Danks.
Milledge will make $500,000 if he makes major-league club.
The Pirates declined to offer Milledge a contract in December, even though he stood to earn only between $1 million and $1.5 million in his first year of arbitration.
Milledge, a right-handed hitter, batted .277/.332/.380 last season, but hit only four homers in 412 plate appearances and struggled against right-handed pitching. He hit lefties well, however, batting .320/.414/.512 in 145 plate appearances.
Juan Pierre, Alex Rios and Carlos Quentin are the White Sox’s projected outfielders; Milledge could spell Pierre, a left-handed hitter, against certain lefties. The team’s projected fourth outfielder, Alejandro De Aza, also is a left-handed hitter.
Milledge was the Mets’ first selection and 12th overall pick in 2003.
The Mets traded him to the Nationals for outfielder Ryan Chuch and catcher Brian Schneider in Nov. 2007. The Nationals traded Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates for reliever Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan in June 2009.