Nationals Deal Solid Defender, Look For Replacement

I wrote about the Nationals defensive issues two weeks ago, and now they’ve gone and puzzled me even more.

Over the weekend reports suggested the Nationals are interested in Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan, the best despite an iffy bat has statistically the best defender in baseball . Apparently the Nationals were hoping to swap out wild child Lastings Milledge for Morgan in a good ol’ fashion challenge trade. In terms of assets, Morgan makes sense for the Nationals. He’s a bit older than you would expect (28) for the reasonably newcomer but has an excellent handle on defense and a below average bat that won’t sink a team.

What confuses me, is the Nationals then dealt Ryan Langerhans to the Mariners for Mike Morse. Langerhans is 29-years-old, a fantastic defender, and Langerhans has always hit better in the minors than Morgan. His weak 2007 was mostly due to bad luck on balls in play. Even if you argue Langerhans is slightly worse on defense, he closes the gap on offense and availability, since, you know, he’s already in the Nationals system.

While Milledge has a laundry list of past transgressions, it’s hard to believe the Nationals value him approximately the same as they value Morse. Milledge is a 24-year-old outfielder with two seasons of league-average hitting. Morse is 27, has no real defensive position and in his only real exposure to the majors hit about as well as Milledge.

So if the Nationals are interested in essentially trading Milledge and Langerhans for Morgan and Morse they gain nothing. The desire to dump Milledge’s baggage is understandable, but considering their 40-man roster already contains eight non-Milledge outfielders, it seems like they could stand to reshuffle assets to other positions than the outfield.

As for the Mariners, they get their Endy Chavez replacement for a spare part. Maybe the Mariners outfield defense will remain the best in the league after all.



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JCA
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JCA
7 years 1 month ago

Nats I think view Morse as primarily an infielder who can play OF. It looks like most of Morse’s playing time at Tacoma this year has been in the infield. When they announced the trade, they said they acquired minor league infielder Mike Morse. They hope he’ll be a superutility, which Milledge could not be. They’ve had luck with Willie Harris in that role. If the Morgan / Milledge trade goes down, they get a better structured roster with less of a challenged attitude.

Teej
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Teej
7 years 1 month ago

If someone wants to try Morse as an outfielder again, please call me and let me know so I can watch. That was entertainment at its finest.

Jason T
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Jason T
7 years 1 month ago

Mike Morse isn’t going to be a ‘super’ anything.

Steven
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7 years 1 month ago

Langerhans can’t play center. He’s a plus defender in the corners.

Todd
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Todd
7 years 1 month ago

Langerhans can play center, just not at a great level. He can spell Gutierrez from time to time and not kill the OF defense of the M’s.

Alireza
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Alireza
7 years 1 month ago

Why not just put Ichiro in CF and Langerhans in RF if Guttierrez needs a spell?

Big Oil
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Big Oil
7 years 1 month ago

I caught this little nugget reading the Nationals Journal over at the Washington Post this A.M.:

“Acting GM Mike Rizzo mentioned that yesterday’s deal — which sent Ryan Langerhans to Seattle for Mike Morse — was actually a “favor” to Langerhans. The Mariners, evidently, have plans to promote the outfielder to the big leagues, perhaps by Tuesday. So long as he remained with the Nats, Langerhans was stuck in the minors. But one amusing note in the backstory behind this trade: Last Wednesday, Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik hosted an online chat with fans. Which fielded the following, improbably exchange:

Booxa: We need more LH bats. Have you looked at Ryan Langerhans, currently in the Nats’ organization?

Jack_Zduriencik: Good suggestion.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2009/06/lannan_and_links.html

radiosurgery
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radiosurgery
7 years 1 month ago

Rizzo needs to be fired. If I was a Nats fan I’d be calling for his head more than I was calling for Bavasi’s.

WY
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WY
7 years 1 month ago

“Over the weekend reports suggested the Nationals are interested in Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan, the best despite an iffy bat has statistically the best defender in baseball .”

???

tomterp
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tomterp
3 years 7 months ago

I’ll resist the impulse to troll, because a LOT of people were way wrong about Morse.

He’s a really good major league hitter, and Rizzo’s Morse transactions are aging like a fine wine.

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