Nationals Baseball: Nyjer Nyjer Burning Bright

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nyjer Nyjer Burning Bright

The Nats traded Nyjer Morgan to the Brewers for a guy who's biggest claim to fame (positive or otherwise) is that his father was a good player for a couple of well-known teams full of jerks (oh, what? The 86 Mets are the 86 Mets, and as for the 93 Phils - nothing is worse than a legitimately good team pretending that they are getting by on pure scrap). Cutter Dykstra is a side note here - a mediocre minor leaguer who finally did some good at an age where you'd hope he'd being doing good two steps up (A+, then AA). Let's leave him be until the Nats trade him to the Rockies so he can be "Coors" Cutter and Coors can finally bring back their non-alcoholic beer (Cooooooooooooooors Cutter!).

No, this is just a Nyjer dump pure and simple. I'm disappointed. Look at Nyjer's stats and his 2010 stats scream "off-year" as much as his 2009 Nats stats screamed "fluke", too. His most likely year wasn't great but it was enough to warrant starting him at least for a couple more months before giving up on him. Was he a long term answer? No, at his age and with his skill set you might get 2-3 more years from him but last year was the FIRST YEAR in Nationals' history that they went into the season with possibly viable plan for CF. Dammit if they couldn't keep that going for a second year. (An Ankiel and Hairtston is not viable, for one - Hairston, for two Ankiel's last season's worth of NL stats aren't any better than Morgan's and he's older)

so yeah - disappointed. not that Morgan was great or anything. Just wanted them to commit to a plan for an appopriate amount of time - or at least if you give up on your plan make sure you have a decent alternative.


Dave Nichols said...

Dukes 2.0.

Section 220 said...

Rick Ankiel, wonderful story and remarkable athleticism notwithstanding, is a proven mediocrity, and this spin about Ankiel "winning!" the position is just fluffy-headed nonsense. Ankiel has a cannon for an arm, and he can run into some home runs, but he's not an effective player overall. Not that Nyjer would have been an improvement, necessarily, but he was (slightly) cheaper and at least had the potential to be a plus defender with a less than horrifying OBP. (Nomination for Ankiel's nickname: "The Outmaker").

I guess the plus is that the Nats will have pop in a lot of spots in the lineup, but it really seems that they decided they were just going to try to "make do" in center, and I've seen that movie before.

Section 220 said...

Allison - right on. The Nats locked themselves into a choice where if Nyjer wasn't suddenly a dramatically changed player, they were choosing between, "meh," "eh," and "feh" in center. Whether I think they've gone with "feh" or "eh" at this point, they sure didn't give themselves much of a backup plan, which is Harper's point. Kind of settling for mediocrity. I'd set the over/under for the season WARP out of center at about 1.0, and I'm not sure I'd take the over.

Lee said...

Hey, let's face it. These Nationals won't contend this year. But they should be better. It's next year we are waiting for...remember?

That said, we finally have a roster full of big leaguers, albeit loaded down with a benchful of veteran retreads. Bernie will continue to get looks in CF (especially if Morse cements his spot) because neither Ankiel or Hairston is the future at CF for the Nats. One or both of those guys could go down with an injury too. If Bernie doesn't impress the Nats will know what they have to do. Sign a free agent.

And that's what I'm betting they do. Next year's opening day CF is starting in CF somewhere else this Thursday or Friday. Unless it is Nate McLouth. Gulp. Please don't make it Nate McLouth.

Hoo said...

I'm not a fan of Morgan but I would have liked to have Morgan over Nix. I know an Ankiel/Morgan platoon doesn't work, but I would have liked Morgan to have gotten a shot instead of tossed aside for essentially free.

I'm guessing that Rizzo is taking the long view. Morgan might be worth an extra win or maybe 2 this year. But who cares about this year? This is about purging the locker room of the slightest cancer to build a new professional attitude to make the team winners going forward (I know I'm veering into the annual Boswell March column on new attitude land here).

But the attitude theory also makes sense in why the Nats jettisoned the younger, better Alberto Gonzales for the 35 year old Alex Cora. Gonzo has a bit more pop and at least a wash in the field.

So I take the Morgan/Gonzales moves as being less about stats and more about building a new chemistry.

Kinda scary that we traded 2/3rds of the starting '10 OF for career minor leaguers at this pt. Starters for org filler.

Anonymous said...

The Nats worried that Nyjer's attitude sent the wrong message to the younger players out there. Puts a lot more pressure on Desmond to perform and I would have preferred not to put him in that kind of spotlight this year. Nyjer will do well for the Brewers for about half a season and then go in the tank again so I am not sure the Nats are missing anything, but it does put a premium on finding another CF by next year. All in all, the closer situation scares me more.

Wally said...

CF is a weak spot, but I don't think Morgan would have added much more. It is hard to see an Ankiel/Hairston platoon being anyone's Plan A. At least there are some alternatives if things go awry - Nix, Bernie, even Brown if it comes to that. None of those are great, but all better than the Lastings/Nook Logan experiences.

I am ready for the games to begin. My guess is the rotation outperforms expectations, offense is in line and the defense underperforms again. My goal for the year is that the MI solidifies into quality major league starters, we get under 90 losses and Stras comes back in September and shows good velo. 75 wins would be a good year.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Nyger Morgan really. He can steal some bases big deal. Do you guys really know baseball? I would take Ankiel or Hairston anyday. You guys are morons if you think your downgrading cause Morgan left. Nichols you obviously dont know what your talking about. Ankiel has a strong arm is a decent bat. you can tell the Nationals fans are clueless if you think Morgan is a real loss. don't fall in love with below average players just cause the overall team stinks. I think the Nationals should be good this year cause they got rid of Morgan.

Harper said...

whoops - that was me not Allison. so inbetween sec 220s I said -

"Dave, way too harsh" &
"Sec 220, Ankiel could easily be awful then what?"

continuing on...

Lee - McLouth? Maybe Rizzo loves ex-Pirate CFs. Bring back Milledge!

Hoo - Gonzo for Cora is fine. You want to make last man on the bench a character guy, whatever. It (should be) 100 ABs a year. But a starter? That's a bit much

As for the 2010 OF trades - maybe it says something about them... just kidding Rizzo got HOSED on Willingham.

Anon #1 - I see it more that Gomez will fail and then Morgan will come in and spark the Brewers to the playoffs. Then they'll get all excited and next year he'll be blah, and then he'll age out. (for the Nats he'd start hot then by the all-star break we'd all call for him to be traded ASAP then he'd start to cool down and Rizzo would flip him for some mediocre minor league pitching citing that was the best he could get) Not scared by the closer, should work out.

Wally - those are solid goals. They should be up in every Nats bloggers mother's basement.

Anon #2 - First - I think Nichols was calling Morgan "Dukes 2.0" not Ankiel. Though maybe I'm wrong. Second - If the Nats are good this year it won't be because Morgan is gone, and it likely wouldn't have been because Morgan was here if he wasn't traded.

Either Ankiel or Morgan is a risky pick. I like Morgan better because he's been a better fielder in the past and he's a couple years younger. There are reasons to like Ankiel better. But it's at best a push in the talent dept and for me a push isn't worth making these kinds of changes.

Donald said...

So Harper, what did you learn from spring training, if anything? I think I learned that:
- Bryce Harper is the real deal.
- the starting rotation is probably marginally better than they are getting credit for.
- the bullpen is probably worse than last year.
- don't expect a Desmond to turn around the errors dramatically.
- the Matt Capps trade is looking pretty sweet. maybe not so sweet with Willingham.
- if there's a sleeper on the team who's going to have a breakout year, I'd put my money on Morse.

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