Thirty games under .500 and a hefty 17 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East, the Washington Nationals shrewdly traded 24-year-old ex-top-prospect Lastings Milledge to the Pirates for 29-year-old occasional-base-stealer Nyjer Morgan, whose hustle and grit and hustlegrit should have the Nationals back in contention by the end of the month. The month of JUNE, I mean.
In the meantime, the Pirates will have to make due with a player who’s 5 years younger than Morgan, and despite marginal defense in the past and reputed attitude issues, hit .268 / .330 / .402 with 14 HR, 24 SB and 9 CS in a full season as a 23-year-old. Morgan, at 29, is currently hitting .277/.351/.356 with 18 SB and 10 CS. So basically, the Pirates got a former top prospect whose supposedly underwhelming 2008 campaign was still equally or more productive than Morgan’s current 2009 season. If you factor in Morgan’s ’09 left field defense, the edge at this exact moment probably goes to Morgan, but at 5 years younger and already showing flashes of power that Morgan will never replicate, Milledge is just unquestionably the more valuable player at this point, especially to two teams that aren’t even in the same hemisphere as Ready To Contend City.
Morgan lamented his departure with this unexaggerated statement:
“I definitely loved going to war with these boys here. It’s unfortunate that I have to go. But that’s part of business.”
Like most people, when Morgan says “going to war” he means “playing regular season baseball games against the Milwaukee Brewers.”
Always quick to put things in perspective, Neal “I Don’t Give A Dead Hippo’s Asshole What You Think Of Me” Huntington, offered this sobering quote: