Brewers acquire Nyjer Morgan from Nationals


At 7 am PST (I live in Seattle, you may recall), my phone started buzzing non-stop.  Why?  It was ringing for what I am calling, “The most confusing deal since we traded for Tony Graffanino.”

Quick back story, on Friday the Brewers traded starting outfield hopeful Chris Dickerson to the Yankees in exchange for some pitcher Sergio Mitre.  At that time, I wrote about how the deal made sense.  Mostly, it made sense because we knew that Jeremy Reed and Brandon Boggs would both make the team.  But, with today’s news of the Brewers trading Cutter Dykstra for troubled OF Nyjer Morgan, I do not know what to think.  The Nationals decided early last week that Morgan would not be the teams everyday center fielder.  This lead to the guy publicly announcing that he would be traded, even though no one in the Nationals organization knew anything about it.  Or did they?

Nyjer Morgan is an exciting player, with a lifetime supply of baggage to go with it.  Morgan is more famous for his on-the-field antics than his playing ability.  In August of last year alone:

  • Got into a verbal altercation with a Phillies fan, then proceeded to throw a baseball at that fan  
  • Video surfaced of him shouting profanities at Marlins fans
  • He lowered his shoulder and brutally leveled a catcher at home plate, then mocked a fan in the first row
  • Most famously, Morgan incited a bench clearing all out fist fight with Marlins pitcher, Chris Volstad after having a pitch thrown behind him (he was beaned in his first AB)

Here is a clip from an article written by Adam Kilgore, of the Washington Post, written in September of last year.

"Nyjer Morgan began this season as the Washington Nationals center fielder of the future, their offensive green flag, their beloved clubhouse cut-up. With one month remaining, he has become something else – a snarling player in trouble with the league, a lead off hitter who reaches base infrequently enough to be dropped to the bottom of the order, perhaps baseball’s newest villain."

Now, let’s put aside the baggage and talk about what this guy adds to our baseball team.  SPEED!!!!  Nyjer is like lightning made out of cheetah legs.  Last season he finished batting .259, with a .319 OBP.  Not bad, unless you are a lead-off hitter…..which he was for most of the season.  After looking over his career stats (split between the Pirates and Nationals), here is what I can tell you.  Nyjer will hit maybe 1 HR, probably attempt to steal a base every time he has the opportunity, and he will not walk very often.  This leads me to wonder, why did we sign a less powerful version of Carlos Gomez, to presumably back-up Carlos Gomez?

What did we give up?  Cutter Dykstra, nothing more than a decent talent who might dabble in the majors over the next few years, but I doubt that we just gave away another Nelson Cruz.  In all reality this is a great move for each of these players.  The Nationals will be able to move Cutter into a big league role sooner than the Crew.  Likewise, Nyjer Morgan is being moved from a cellar dwelling NL East team, to a Championship contending NL Central team.  Not a bad deal for either guy.

Ron Roenicke has to be salivating over having Brandon Boggs, Erick Almonte, and now Nyjer Morgan available to pinch-hit and especially pinch-run.  We are going to steal so many bases!!!!!

I fear that this deal spells “The End”, for Jeremy Reed.  Brandon Boggs has no options left, so they can not send him down unless they are willing to lose him (and they shouldn’t be).  Reed would be the odd man out in this situation.  It would seem Mark Kotsay and Craig Counsell will  fill that savvy bench veteran role.  After this deal, there is just now way that Jeremy Reed will be in a Brewers uniform on Thursday.

Overall, this deal is just confusing.  Adding two new pieces to the puzzle, with just a week before the season starts, is just bizarre and very uncharacteristic of our management.  Here I thought that they moved Dickerson in order to make things easier, but maybe they did it because they really needed an insurance pitcher.  Bringing in Nyjer Morgan could end up being a terrific move, should Carlos Gomez be unable to transport his spring performance into the summer months.  But what about Morgan’s off the field nonsense, me personally, I hate that s—.  However, it does seem to all be in that same time frame.  Prior to the above incidents, he sounds like a model player and teammate.  In a perfect world, coming off of the bench for a winning team, Nyjer could revert to the care-free, happy-go-lucky, generic phrase for good person, that he used to be.

What do you all think?  We want to hear from you.  This is a pretty unique deal at a very uniwue time.  Tell me what you are thinking in the “Comments” section.

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4 days until Opening Day 2011