Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Thoughts on the Morgan trade

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Nats fans have seen their last Nyjer Morgan tantrum

Just two days after it became rather clear that Morgan was not going to win the starting Center Field job, Rizzo dealt the player to Milwaukee for low-level infield prospect Cutter Dykstra and some cash.  Nice move by Rizzo, taking a guy we were probably going to release in a few days and getting something (anything) in return.  Dykstra is a younger player but he’s a 2nd round pick who has put up decent numbers in the lower minor leagues thus far.  Keith Law says he’s no more than an Organizational player, but something is better than nothing.

Morgan should be happy with the deal; he may not start in Milwaukee but at least he’s now on a contender instead of being a 30-yr old in AAA.

One could argue the Nats were a bit hasty on the decision; Morgan had turned around his spring, rebounding from a slow start to post a .241/.328/.315 line for the spring.  Perhaps giving him a month into the regular season to see if he could return to 2009 form would have been the right thing to do.  Unfortunately, a log-jam of outfielders in camp that were outperforming Morgan were pressing the team’s hand.

Morgan’s trade means we have no real lead-off hitter.  We probably go with Desmond but he only had a .308 obp last year.  We will replace Morgan in the outfield with a platoon between Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston, Jr, neither of which really is a long term solution.  We also seem set to keep Laynce Nix after his great spring, meaning that Bernadina loses the options game and will go to AAA.  My guess is that we’re keeping Nix solely to trade him and get something in value, and Bernadina should be right back up.

My guess on what happens next is something like the following: Ankiel struggles at the plate, we trade Nix and Bernadina returns to the majors as the 4th outfielder.  Then, Corey Brown recovers from his ankle issues, gets healthy in AAA, hits well and gets called up to be the new leadoff/center fielder around mid June.

One nice side-effect of the deal is the freeing up of a roster spot.  Since it is looking more and more likely that we’re keeping 2 and perhaps 3 non-roster invitees we need to make some 40man moves.  Gaudin and Nix, perhaps Stairs seem to have made this team.  We’re at 39/40 now with the Morgan move.  I can see Wang going to the 60-day DL to free up one spot but an extra spot for Stairs is tough.  Perhaps we 60-day DL Elvin Ramirez.  We could just return him flat out (though I’m not sure you are allowed to return an injured rule5 guy).  We could also look to DFA someone; Severino may be expendable with the acquisition of lefty specialist Lee Hyde.

One Response to 'Thoughts on the Morgan trade'

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  1. Looks like a lot of your questions were answered today. Sure am glad to see Broderick make the team.

    Mark L

    28 Mar 11 at 8:49 pm

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