Nyjer Morgan Rumors

Stark On Phillies, Marlins, Young, Morgan, Astros

As ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark points out, the Phillies’ decision to sign Luis Castillo suggests they aren’t overly optimistic about the timetable for Chase Utley’s return. According to Stark, the Phillies heard that there is no guarantee that surgery would make Utley healthy again, so they’re hoping rehab works. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors…

  • The Marlins have decided that Matt Dominguez isn’t ready for the majors, so they’re “actively exploring” outside options. Earlier tonight, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that the Marlins were “unlikely” to look outside of the organization for help at the hot corner.
  • Though the Pirates are still shopping Ryan Doumit, teams that have spoken to Pittsburgh say the catcher/outfielder is not drawing much interest.
  • Multiple teams, including the Phillies, Marlins and Cubs, appear to be eyeing Michael Young. None of those clubs can afford Young’s annual salary of $16MM and the Rangers expect a “massive” return if they’re going to eat a significant amount of Young’s salary.
  • Scouts covering the Nationals say Nyjer Morgan is very much available. “They're trying to give him away," one scout said, before suggesting that the Nationals could release him.
  • Scouts watching the Yankees expect the team to add a veteran catcher in the next week.
  • The Phillies are looking for a veteran outfielder who’s capable of playing center field.
  • Teams that have spoken with the Astros say they’d like to add a veteran catcher, but have very little money to spend.

Quick Hits: Looper, Turpen, Moyer, CBA, Nationals

Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Mitchell Page, a former outfielder and hitting coach who passed away Saturday. Page was the runner-up to Eddie Murray in a close vote for AL Rookie of the Year in 1977 and, more recently, served as a hitting coach for the Cardinals and Nationals. Here are today's links:

Nationals Rumors: Outfield, Maxwell, Morgan, Darvish

Adam Kilgore from the Washington Post provides us with some info on the Nationals as their season draws to a close this weekend:

  • The quartet of Josh Willingham, Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina, and Mike Morse have seen the majority of the outfield time this season, and Kilgore says it's likely that those four do the same in 2011. It would be tough for the Nationals to land a top outfielder like Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, and beyond that there's not many attractive free agent options. Personal speculation, but if they do choose to look for free agent offense in the outfield, they could try to buy low on Magglio Ordonez.
  • Manager Jim Riggleman says that despite Justin Maxwell's offensive struggles this season, the soon to be 27-year-old is too talented to give up on. Riggleman thinks everything will click for Maxwell next season and hopes he'll be a part of the club. He says there's no "last chance" situation with Maxwell.
  • GM Mike Rizzo also said they're committed to Nyjer Morgan in 2011. That may have been in question with some fans as a result of his behavior and multiple suspensions this season.
  • The Nationals are known to be looking for front-line starting pitching, and have Japanese phenom Yu Darvish on their radar. Darvish wouldn't be cheap, but he'll likely be more affordable than the market's only proven Major League ace — Cliff Lee. Kilgore says it would be "speculative" to gauge Washington's interest, but notes that their scouts have seen him pitch in person at least nine times and recommended him to the front office.

Stark On Rasmus, Jeter, Gonzalez, Morgan

If the Cardinals put Colby Rasmus on the trade market, they would “only get 60 or 70 cents on the dollar,” according to one MLB executive who spoke to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. Here’s a detailed look at potential suitors for Rasmus, and here are the rest of Stark’s rumors:

  • Derek Jeter and agent Casey Close understand that the Yankees aren’t going to offer an embarrassingly low contract this winter. As Stark points out, the Yankees offered Jorge Posada a four-year deal heading into the season in which he turned 37. Posada was coming off of an MVP-caliber season, so the comparison only works to a point, but as many reporters have pointed out this week, Jeter is going nowhere and the Yankees aren’t going to low-ball him.
  • Adrian Gonzalez probably won’t be on the trade market this winter, according to clubs that have spoken to the Padres. They’ll try to contend in 2011 and consider trading Gonzalez if they aren’t in contention next summer.
  • Two scouts who cover the Nationals say they expect the team to shop Nyjer Morgan this winter. One of the scouts said there’s a “non-existent” chance that Washington keeps him.

Odds & Ends: Konerko, Kuroda, Astros, Morgan

A few links to check out while we wait to see if Jon Garland can halt the Padres' eight-game losing streak and get his team's season back on track…

  • The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo wonders out loud (via Twitter) if Paul Konerko could be a fit for the Red Sox in 2011. That speculation, of course, likely depends on Adrian Beltre's future in Boston.
  • In a piece for MLB.com, Sarah D. Morris opines that the Dodgers should re-sign Hiroki Kuroda, even though the team's financial situation makes it unlikely.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) draws the parallels between this year's Astros and last year's Padres, pointing out that both clubs traded long-time stars at the deadline for young players and payroll savings, then went on to have strong second halves.
  • Olney also notes that given his disappointing season (.255/.314/.315) and recent suspension troubles, Nyjer Morgan is hurting his chances for future employment. FoxSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi also chimed in on the subject.
  • The Nationals plan to call up Cuban defector Yunesky Maya following Monday's game according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson. Washington signed the 28-year-old righthander early last month.
  • USA Today's Bob Nightengale recently sat down for a chat with Dan Hudson. Among other things, the righty said it's nice to be with a team that wants him. Hudson was traded from the White Sox to the Diamondbacks for Edwin Jackson before this year's deadline.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Francoeur, Lilly, Loney

On this date two years ago, instant replay was used for the first time in baseball history, resolving a fair or foul call on an Alex Rodriguez home run against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Third base umpire Brian Runge originally called the ball a homer, and that call stood upon further review. Numerous umpire gaffes have some clamoring for expanded use of instant replay, but so far Major League Baseball hasn't budged. 

Here's a look at what's been written around the baseball blogosphere…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

Nationals Notes: Hudson, Morgan, Norris

Let's take a look at some Nationals tidbits courtesy of MLB.com's Bill Ladson..

  • Recently, Ladson said that he would be writing about the Nats possibly signing Orlando Hudson for the third year in a row.  However, the Nats beat writer now believes that the club has its second baseman of the future in Danny Espinosa.  Pat Corrales, the team's senior assistant in player development, believes that the 23-year-old is the best all-around player in the organization.  Espinosa was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse in early August and has posted a .295/.349/.463 slash line in 24 games.
  • One reader asks if the Nationals can find a way to get beleaguered outfielder Nyjer Morgan's head back into the game.  Ladson isn't sure why Morgan has been struggling this year but says that he could see Washington dealing him this offseason.  Unsurprisingly, however, he doesn't envision the club getting much in return.  People in the organization have said that he should be a fourth outfielder, an idea which likely wouldn't sit well with the 30-year-old.
  • Even after acquiring Wilson Ramos from the Twins for Matt Capps, Ladson says that the Nats should hold on to fellow catcher Derek Norris.  The Nats have historically had trouble with their depth at catcher and could use the security of having Norris in the fold.  The former fourth-round pick was ranked second in the Nats' farm system by Baseball America heading into this year, ahead of Espinosa, Drew Storen, and Ian Desmond.

Odds & Ends: Sheets, Padres, Scutaro, Nationals

A few links to check out while the Yankees play their first game without George Steinbrenner at the helm since 1972…

  • Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Phillies have had a "top scout" on hand for the A's last four series, though Oakland isn't going to move Mark Ellis and Ben Sheets isn't scheduled to pitch this weekend. 
  • James Schmehl of MLive.com says that Sheets could be a "rather inexpensive" trade option for the Tigers if they're looking to add a starting pitcher. 
  • MLB.com's Corey Brock reports that Padres' GM Jed Hoyer told reporters he would like to make a move to improve the team, not just a cosmetic one (all Twitter links). He says the prices must first come down, and that he has the resources to add multiple pieces.
  • WEEI.com's Rob Bradford says (via Twitter) that the Braves did not talk to the Red Sox about a potential Yunel Escobar-Marco Scutaro deal. He says that the Blue Jays were the only team Atlanta spoke to about an Escobar trade.
  • Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo ranked the team's international free agent signings for MASNSports.com's Ben Goessling.
  • Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times tweets that the Tokyo Giants have a scout attending tonight's Dodgers-Cardinals game. If nothing else, it shows that Japanese teams scour the U.S. for talent just like MLB teams do in Japan.

Rosenthal On D’Backs, Dunn, Blue Jays, Morgan

In his latest column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports argues that it's unlikely the Diamondbacks make a huge splash before the trade deadline. With interim GM Jerry DiPoto not expected to hold the position past this season, Rosenthal is skeptical that the D'Backs would give him the reins to blow up the roster. Although Arizona could trade potential free agents like Adam LaRoche, Chad Qualls, and Aaron Heilman, Rosenthal thinks the team probably won't move Dan Haren, Kelly Johnson, or Stephen Drew. Here are a few other notes from the piece:

  • According to a rival club offical, the Nationals were asking the White Sox for either Gordon Beckham or Carlos Quentin in exchange for Adam Dunn.
  • If the Blue Jays don't receive satisfactory offers for their free-agents-to-be, the club may take the same approach they did last year, when the departures of Marco Scutaro and Rod Barajas earned them draft picks. Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, and John Buck all project to be Type As or Bs, and could potentially net the Jays multiple 2011 compensation picks.
  • When teams call the Jays to talk trades, Toronto's young starting rotation is the most frequent topic of conversation.
  • Some members of the Nationals organization wouldn't mind trading Nyjer Morgan to open up center field for Roger Bernadina.
  • Within seven to ten days, the Marlins should make a decision on whether or not to be sellers.
  • If Buck Showalter lands the Baltimore managerial job, former Orioles such as Bill Ripken and B.J. Surhoff would be candidates to join his staff.

Revisiting The Burnett-Morgan-Hanrahan-Milledge Trade

On June 30th, 2009, the Pirates traded reliever Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan to the Nationals for reliever Joel Hanrahan and outfielder Lastings Milledge.  With exactly one year in the books, which side is ahead?

Hanrahan has tossed 63 innings for the Pirates with a 3.00 ERA, 11.9 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, and 0.43 HR/9.  He's totaled 1.0 WAR for the Pirates.  His fastball velocity has increased since the trade, to the point where he's averaging 95.4 mph this year.  Hanrahan will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season, and he's under team control through 2013.  He's part of a strong late-game relief trio in Pittsburgh, along with Evan Meek and Octavio Dotel.

Milledge is hitting .281/.339/.384 in 490 plate appearances for the Pirates.  He's played 928 innings in left field, but has moved to right field since Jose Tabata's promotion.  He's totaled 1.2 WAR for the Pirates.  Like Hanrahan, Milledge is arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2011 and under control through 2013.

For the Nationals, lefty reliever Sean Burnett has a 2.96 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, and 0.70 HR/9 in 51.6 innings.  He's totaled 0.4 WAR for the Nats.  That value came entirely from 2010, as he's increased his K/9 to 8.1.  He's earning $775K this year after losing an arbitration hearing in February.  Burnett is under team control through 2012.

Morgan is hitting .291/.345/.368 in 530 plate appearances with 41 stolen bases in 59 attempts for the Nationals since the trade.  His 2.7 WAR comes entirely from 2009, as he's actually had negative value in 2010.  Morgan's '09 season ended in late August with a broken wrist.  It's been a rough 2010 season offensively, and Morgan leads the league with 11 times caught stealing.  Morgan has tallied 1,000 innings in center field in his time with Washington.  After the season it appears that he'll miss the Super Two cutoff by a few days, meaning he will not be arbitration-eligible until after the 2011 season.  Morgan is under team control through 2014.

I'd rather have Hanrahan than Burnett at this point, and the Pirates' reliever is under team control for an extra season.  Morgan's last two months have been discouraging, but he might be better than Milledge defensively and is under control for an extra year.  While the Nationals are ahead 0.9 in WAR, this challenge trade remains something of a toss-up a year later.