Catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church were traded to the New York Mets by the Washington Nationals yesterday for outfielder Lastings Milledge.
"I thought we needed to change it up a little," New York general manager Omar Minaya said. "Names like Schneider and Church are not known names, but they give us balance."
The Nationals pick up a talented young player they hope can avoid the sort of missteps that marked his Mets career.
"We're getting a guy who has a chance to be an impact bat in our lineup for years to come," Washington manager Manny Acta said.
Milledge, 22, was the Mets' top prospect when he made his major league debut in May 2006. He showed why he was so highly rated on the field - but also drew the ire of his team.
He had been reprimanded for not running hard on the bases and had arrived late for a game.
"As far as the controversy goes, sometimes you feel like you get a raw end of the deal," Milledge said. "But whether it was or wasn't, it made me a better person, it made me a better ballplayer."
Rogers stays in Detroit
Kenny Rogers, the 43-year-old lefthander, ended his free agency when he agreed to an $8 million, one-year deal that will keep him with the Detroit Tigers for a third season. "There was really never any other choice but Detroit," said Rogers, who represented himself in contract negotiations. "The possibilities of playing somewhere else didn't appeal to me at all." Rogers's deal includes performance bonuses. "He brings us that veteran presence we wanted to have in our rotation," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said . . . Cleveland Indians reliever Juan Lara showed some improvement but remained in critical condition nearly a week after his car crash in the Dominican Republic. "Juan has showed mild improvement from the lung trauma he suffered," said Dashira Martinez of the Plaza de la Salud hospital.
Rays sign Percival
The Tampa Bay Rays signed reliever Troy Percival to a two-year contract, addressing a pressing need to improve one of the worst bullpens in the major leagues. The 38-year-old righthander, who came out of retirement to go 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 34 appearances for St. Louis in 2007, will make $8 million during the next two seasons. In addition, he'll have a chance to earn another $4 million plus in performance incentives . . . Free agent infielder Cesar Izturis agreed to a $2.85 million, one-year contract with the Cardinals, a sign St. Louis has decided to abandon trying to re-sign shortstop David Eckstein, who has filed for free agency . . . The Atlanta Braves offered salary arbitration to reliever Ron Mahay and declined to offer arbitration to outfielder Andruw Jones . . . The Colorado Rockies agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Matt Herges worth about $2.5 million.