Eric Milton is having season-ending Tommy John surgery:

Team medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek is scheduled to perform the Tommy John procedure on Milton’s elbow on Friday, Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said.

Since signing a three-year, $25.5 million free agent contract with the Reds on Dec. 27, 2004, Milton has produced disastrous results. In the 66 starts after he inked that deal, the 31-year-old was 16-27 with a 5.83 ERA. In 2005, he allowed a club-record and National League-leading 40 home runs.

In 2006, Milton had two stints on the DL — including one for a sore elbow that required arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 22.

Redleg Nation certainly wishes Milton the best in his surgery and recovery. We regret that he was injured so seriously, and we hope everything goes well for him. Heck, we hope he recovers fully and signs a contract to pitch for another team.

That said, no one here at Redleg Nation Worldwide Headquarters is losing any sleep over the fact that Eric Milton will never again throw a pitch for the Cincinnati Reds. His entire tenure with the franchise has been a complete, unmitigated disaster. As a pitcher, Milton will not be missed.

Dan O’Brien is no longer the General Manager for this team. If I were an owner of another franchise, I’d never consider hiring someone who thought it was a good idea to toss more than $25 million dollars at Eric Milton. I don’t think anyone — other than O’Brien — ever thought that contract was a good idea.

The future of the Cincinnati Reds organization is a brighter one today.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 25 Comments

  1. Chad you are correct. The Milton signing alone should be enough to keep anyone from ever hiring O’Brien as a GM again.

  2. At the very least, the injury will eliminate the temptation to put Milton back out there this year, which I’m sure they would have done if it had been less serious. Bailey can stay, and Lohse can be on the hotseat with Elizardo, Gosling, Dumatrait, and Fisher clamoring for their shot.

    It’s a real shame that Milton didn’t perform a little bit better, or that the Reds had thrown a lot less money at him. The vitriol directed his way has been so overwhelming, when just about all the blame should have been laid on O’Brien, who should stick with minor-league development jobs that he’s actually suited for.

    I liked Milton the competitor a lot – he was a good student when he got good direction from coaches (Mario Soto, where have you gone?), he was quiet with the press, and most important of all to me, he never ever made excuses. The hollow thousand-yard stare he displayed for most of 2005 was very painful to see; it was the look of a tragically self-aware failure. Best of luck to him in his post-Reds life.

    “Happy Trails, Spaz.”

  3. I hope he never plays again for anyone.

  4. If he pitches again, he better play in a HUGE park. The Nationals might be a good fit.

    Strange how the other pitcher that O’Brien was considering was Matt Clement, who instead chose the Red Sox clearing the way for Milton to sign with the Reds. Clement had shoulder surgery over a year ago and there are doubts that he’ll be able to return as an effective pitcher.

  5. O’Brien was so happy to have extra spending money from Linder that offseason, he was determined to spend it no matter what!

  6. One of the worst signings in the recent history of baseball.

  7. Way to stay classy, Y-City!

  8. I appreciated his competitive drive, but didn’t appreciate that he kept taking the ball when he knew he was hurt. As a Reds fan, I’d have preferred he spend his injured time on the DL, not the mound.

    Anyone remember that 5-6 game stretch last year when he was actually driving off his back leg and finishing pitches? He looked pretty decent for a couple weeks there.

    Overall, a pathetic chapter in Reds history.

  9. That is a good point, Chris; I know that Milton has been quoted as saying he’s never been 100% in his time in Cincinnati. But also consider that it took the Reds medical staff a month of DL time to diagnose this last injury. One would have imagined that something this major would have been detected a little sooner.

  10. The first plan of action before resorting to Tommy John Surgery is usually rest, exercise therapy, throwing on the side and then re-evaluation. The Reds followed this course almost to the letter.

  11. O’Brien wasn’t the only one who thought the Milton contract was a good idea. The Reds were bidding against the Yankees, and the Yankees never give out overpriced contracts to bad pitchers. Never.

  12. I agree with most of what has been posted here…except that Milton never made excuses. I recall a bunch of excuses. Nothing was ever his fault.

    I’ll try to do some research later to verify that.

  13. OK, OK…please no one think ill of me for what I am proposing, as I know the Uncle Milty show was a disaster: Since his (ridiculous)contract expires at the end of the season and some players have had success coming back from TJ surgery, what about possibly….I can’t believe I’m about to say this…attempting to re-sign him at a low, low salary and use him as a spot starter and convert him to the pen? If he is effective he could provide a bullpen upgrade. I love everyday eddie, but he is almost 40 and I think Milty will have an easier time coming back than Guardado. If either/both are healthy it could provide a boost in a woefully lacking part of our favorite team…..Just thinking out loud….please don’t throw anything too heavy at me, I don’t dodge quite as well as I used to..

  14. I was not an O’Brien fan, but I do believe he gets a bad rap for the Milton signing. It seemed clear that, at the time, Lindner suddenly gave him extra money to sign someone with. Milton was the best option, albeit a flawed one. O’Brien would have been beaten up if he hadn’t spent money, so he could not win on this one.

    O’Brien is also almost single-handedly responsible for the high-end prospects the Reds have in their system now, as he drafted Bailey and Bruce. Perhaps a minor point, but something that we should not forget.

  15. Hmmm, is my memory (of excuses) faulty? Or perhaps I compare unfairly to Graves; in comparison to him, everyone is a stand-up guy.

    [throws dictionary at preach] 😛

  16. Seriously though, if Milton is willing to sign a minor-league contract this winter then hey, why not? Otherwise, let Bowden sign him.

    Though, I agree with that idea only with the following stipulation: it MUST NOT serve as another damned excuse to keep Guevara, Medlock, et al from being properly promoted.

  17. I recall a bunch of excuses. Nothing was ever his fault.

    Yeah, I remember it that way too. But to be fair – I’m trying to be charitable since this is [drumroll]The End of an Era [/drum roll] – the signing was roundly ripped and Milton was made a laughingstock before he ever put on a Reds’ uni. I don’t care how strong your ego is, that’s gotta be tough to take (yes, 25 extra large should provide some balm, but still…). I think I might have made excuses too.

    What would be ironic, since in this day and age pitchers often come back from TJ better than they were before, is Milton signing to play in a pitcher;s park (PETCO, anyone) in 2009 and winning Comeback Player of the Year.

  18. As I recall, excitement was pretty high in 2004 when O’Brien signed Milton for three years. We had beaten out the Yankees to get him and he was a not-so-common lefty starter. It turned out bad for all concerned, but I respect his attitude and wish him well. The Reds have to keep in mind that The Wedge is a hitters park and not Dodger Stadium. To succeed in our park you have to keep the ball on the ground, certainly out of the power alleys.

  19. We need to treat Milton as water under the bridge.

  20. Let’s not forget Milton’s contributions to the Reds. He had not one but two 7 inning shutouts AND a 6 inning shutout!

    Good times!

  21. When I read Fay’s headline this morning “It’s official, Tommy John for Milton” I thought we had made a trade for another quality veteran who really knows how to play the game. I’m sure he would fit right in with the rest of the geriatric set. And when I found out that it wasn’t a trade, I was dissappointed. I guess there’s no shot of getting Charlie Hough or the Mad Hungarian, huh?

  22. Preach, I think Charlie Hough and Jessie Orosco would seal the deal!

  23. They say the knuckeball doesn’t take so much out of your arm, put Charlie on a rehab and see what happens. Bring down Nuxie and Welsh from the booth to the pen and we could have our own old timers game with just who we have in uniform and at the stadium.

  24. Hell with Hough…bring back Jim Bouton for “Ball Six”.

  25. As long as we’re at it bring in Tom Candiotti and Phil Niekro…

Comments are closed.

About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


2007 Reds, Reds - General