Former top prospect Lastings Milledge signs with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows

4 Comments

According to a Sanspo report via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League have announced the signing of outfielder Lastings Milledge.

Former Athletics and Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker actually spoiled the news earlier this month, but the signing is now official.

Milledge will earn around $570,000 next season while his contract includes a club option for 2013.

It wasn’t too long ago that Milledge was considered a top prospect in the Mets’ organization, but his stock has plummeted in recent years. He actually made the White Sox Opening Day roster this past season, but was quickly designated for assignment in early-April and spent the rest of the year at the Triple-A level after passing through waivers unclaimed. The 26-year-old has a .269/.328/.395 batting line and .723 OPS over 1,659 plate appearances in the majors.

Marcus Stroman: José Bautista could ‘easily’ pitch in MLB bullpen

José Bautista and Marcus Stroman
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Leave a comment

José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.

Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”

In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”

Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”

Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:

Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”

I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.