The Pittsburgh Pirates made a second deal including an outfielder today, sending Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals for outfielder Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan. [MLB]
The Nationals get a reasonably good defensive centerfielder with some offensive skills and a middle reliever who has been successful in a not-too demanding role. Meanwhile the Pirates get an outfielder who just doesn’t seem to be living up to the promise (or at least the hopes of promise) attached to him while in the Mets farm system three years ago. And, they get a failed closer who throws hard, but has a flat fastball.
If you want to know what the Nationals think of Milledge, listen to the comment from Acting GM Mike Rizzo: “We have a great character guy in Morgan. We have our centerfielder.”
Morgan has essentially a full season of games in his career (157), and has hit .286 with little power, but he draws walks and has some speed (34 steals, but 18 caught stealing). He’s not a bad fourth outfielder and isn’t even a horrible lead off option if he can just add about 10 points to his batting average and be even more selective at the plate.
Milledge is three years younger than Morgan, so there’s room to grow, but it doesn’t look like he’s grown much since he took AA by storm, hitting .337 at Binghamton.
As for Hanrahan, he was a surprise success for Washington in 2008, with a lot of strikeouts (93 in 84.1 innings) and nine saves when he took over the closer job down the stretch. However, this year, he sports a 7.71 ERA and has given up 50 hits in 32.2 innings. Hopefully the change of scenery (getting away from all that losing and going to the Pirates?) will help him find what made him successful last season.
I’m not convinced that the Pirates management has any idea what it’s doing. It left it’s best prospect in AAA at the start of the season, gave away Nate McLouth for scratch, and now unloaded a productive corner outfielder for two distant prospects at best. Now this. How does adding two underperforming guys help Pittsburgh?
On to Other News…
Yesterday’s post included a report about Mike Lowell receiving treatment for his infected and troublesome hip. Today, the Red Sox placed Lowell on the 15-Day DL. Returning to the roster is Jeff Bailey, a very good first baseman and hitter, which means Kevin Youkilis will be playing more third base in the near future. [ESPN]
FoxSports reporter Ken Rosenthal reports that the Diamondbacks turned down the Angel’s trade offer for Dan Haren. [FoxSports]
Grady Sizemore’s left elbow may require surgery in the offseason to address the synovitis that causes an inflammation of the joint lining. As Sizemore has already lost three weeks to the season, the goal is to keep him healthy enough not to miss many more games down the stretch. [SI]
ESPN’s rumor mill includes a note about Brandon Webb likely facing surgery to repair a torn labrum – per a report coming from the Arizona Republic. [ESPN]
Texas Centerfielder Josh Hamilton feels great in his rehab assignment and hopes to join the parent club this weekend. Even if he returns, Hamilton will not participate in the All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby. [ESPN]
Cardinal Centerfielder Colby Rasmus has missed a few games suffering from a hiatal hernia. The slumping rookie decided to check out stomach pains and, other than late night feedings contributing to some of the problem, the hernia was discovered. He hopes to play this week. [SI]
With the Phillies losing Antonio Bastardo to the DL with a strained shoulder, Sergio Escalona gets the call from AAA Lehigh Valley. Escalona has been with the club on and off this season with moderate success. He had a solid 2008 in A and AA, turning out strikeouts but still walking a few guys. He must have a live arm because the Phillies have constantly tried to move the guy up the ladder without having sustained success for long periods of time. Not that he’s been horrible – it’s just hard to get a reading on a guy when he only pitches in a few games before he moves on. Anyway – he might get a baseball card, and if he does, you won’t get much money on Ebay for it. [FoxSports]
Chad Tracy returns to Arizona after missing a month with a strained oblique. [SI]
Former Notre Dame Wide Receiver Jeff Samardzija returns to the Cubs, replacing Jose Ascanio who was sent to AAA Iowa. Though Samardzija was a starter at Iowa, he’ll likely spend more time in the Cubs bullpen. [MLB]
He won’t be back soon, but injured Reds starter Edinson Volquez was cleared to begin throwing. According to reports, he’ll literally be starting from scratch. [MLB]
I see the Astros brought Mike Hampton off the DL today. He’ll be back soon…
With Adrian Beltre heading to the DL for shoulder surgery, former Braves farmhand Ryan Langerhans gets a trip to the Mariners.