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Milledge, Hanrahan Dealt to Pirates

Just a few months ago, the Washington Nationals envisioned Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan as building blocks -- the future center fielder, the future closer. Today, in a move dictated by a pair of disappointing seasons, the Nationals packaged Milledge and Hanrahan, sending them to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Nyjer Morgan and relief pitcher Sean Burnett.

The first significant trade orchestrated by acting general manager Mike Rizzo reflected much about his team-building strategy. He likes performance over potential, reliability over high-yield -- a counter to his predecessor, Jim Bowden.

Morgan and Milledge were the central components of the deal, which had been discussed for at least several days. Morgan, who turns 29 on Thursday, is a late-bloomer known for his speed and defense. He's well-suited to bat leadoff, a role in which the free-swinging Milledge floundered. In his third big league season, and first as an everyday player, Morgan started mostly in left field for the Pirates, batting .277 with a .351 on-base percentage. In 278 at bats, Morgan had two home runs and 27 RBI.

Morgan, speaking by phone from the Pirates' clubhouse, said he anticipated a center field role with the Nationals.

"It's basically a no-brainer," he said. He added about the trade: "My thoughts, I'm pretty pumped up, because I'm flattered when you have a team like the Nationals and they really want you. I'm almost out of words."

The trade brought an unceremonious end to Milledge's tenure with Washington. Acquired by Bowden in November 2007, picked up from the Mets in exchange for starters Ryan Church and Brian Schneider, Milledge was tabbed as a star. In 2008, playing 138 games, mostly in center, Milledge led the Nationals in RBI (61) and homers (14).

But the goodwill generated by that season dissolved this spring, shortly after Manager Manny Acta anointed Milledge as the team's everyday center fielder and leadoff man. In both spots, he struggled. He misjudged fly balls. He dismissed the importance of walks. On April 14, after just seven games, the Nationals demoted Milledge to Class AAA Syracuse. While playing for the Chiefs, Milledge broke a finger and has missed 1-1/2 months. Only late last week did he begin a rehab assignment.

Though Hanrahan, prior to the trade, had avoided a trip to the minors, he pitched as if he belonged there. Twice, the 27-year-old right-hander lost his closer's job. He blew five of 10 save opportunities this year, and in recent weeks, pitching in low-pressure situations, his ERA only grew.

"It was a surprise," Hanrahan said of the trade. "Obviously things haven't gone the best here this year so far. It's a fresh start over there."

With the Pirates, Burnett, 26, was 1-2 with one save and a 3.06 ERA. A lefty who was a No. 1 pick by the Pirates in 2000, Burnett is in his third full big league season. He first emerged as a starter in 2004, but reconstructive elbow surgery kept him out of the majors until 2008. He has since pitched strictly in relief.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 30, 2009; 4:02 PM ET
 
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Next: Post-trade Thoughts, Reaction, Analysis And Marginalia

Comments

And, on that happy note, . . .

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | June 30, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"Mike Morse is a minor leaguer, not even on the 40 man roster. Just like the guy they traded for him, Langerhans. Willie Harris had nothing to worry about when Langerhans was here, and neither does he have anything to worry about from the presence of Mike Morse."

Glad Willie Harris won't have to worry a thing about going to a team that is contending for a championship.

Mike Morse for Langerhans happened for a reason. Milledge for Morgan and Hanrahan for Burnett happened for a reason, too. And it's probably not to stockpile outfielders that won't play for the Nationals.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

We get to see Lastings and the Gas Can July 31-Aug 3 at PNC Paerk.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"Teams with good defense usually have better records. Go to the stats."

Most teams that win the World Series have error numbers within a standard deviation of the mean. Go to the stats.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------------------

Thank-you. I enjoyed that.. Thanks 506

Posted by: soundbloke | June 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

F YA!!!!!!!!! BY BY MILLEDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Certainly Milledge wanted to leave as well. Probably can say the same about Hanrahan.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

F YA!!!!!!!!! BY BY MILLEDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 30, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

------

Cool, we have some fans posting from New York.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow. An (Acting) GM who values actual major league performance and reliability. What a shock!

Hanrahan seemed to be a stand-up guy who took responsibility for himself. Milledge, not so much.

Maybe now our young pitchers won't have to go back up home everytime a ball is hit into the rabble that Jimbo left in the outfield.

Hopefully, this is just the first move.

Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | June 30, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7073

wow Sean Burnett has quality stats...3.0 era...does anybody know much about him?

We may have just traded away junk for two solid MLB players...I think we may have gotten a sweet deal here.

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 30, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

and after all the love we showed them here ... the ingrates.
*************
Certainly Milledge wanted to leave as well. Probably can say the same about Hanrahan.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:10 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 30, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Most teams that win the World Series have error numbers within a standard deviation of the mean. Go to the stats."

The Nats would love to see error numbers within a standard deviation of the mean, as opposed to worst in MLB as they are now.

Posted by: section417 | June 30, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Rabble works, but did you my chance mean "rubble"?
*********
Maybe now our young pitchers won't have to go back up home everytime a ball is hit into the rabble that Jimbo left in the outfield.
Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | June 30, 2009 4:11 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 30, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Surely Morgan won't be sent to Syracuse. This means we are likely to see another roster move shortly. DFA Kearns? Dukes to Syracuse?

Posted by: Vladman1327 | June 30, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Mike Rizzo. I love you.

Posted by: raymitten | June 30, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

DFA KEARNS!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Whatever the intent, I'm pretty sure dmo didn't mean ribbies, sec3.

I'm not going to presume to judge this trade but welcome to Morgan and Burnett and farewell to Milledge and Hanrahan.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats would love to see error numbers within a standard deviation of the mean, as opposed to worst in MLB as they are now."

The Nats would love to see relief pitching within one standard deviation of the mean.

The Nats would love to see situational hitting within one standard deviation of the mean.

The Nats would love to see a single night's batting average within one standard deviation of the mean.

The Nats would love to see injuries within one standard deviation of the mean.

The Nats would love to see a minor league system within one standard deviation of the mean.

Etc., etc., until you get to improving fielding, which is one of the least important of the critical components that are broken right now.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What Rizzo did today was put the "Bowden scholarship" players on notice. He told them "Your tools don't mean squat if they can't translate to consistent performance."

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

We may have just traded away junk for two solid MLB players...I think we may have gotten a sweet deal here.

*******

You did. Especially Nyjer Morgan. You will love his attitude, which makes him the anti-Milledge. Defensively, he often gets bad starts on fly balls, but his speed allows him to compensate. Overall, he'll lift the clubhouse. I am sorry to see him go.


Posted by: Jumpy66 | June 30, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"wow Sean Burnett has quality stats...3.0 era...does anybody know much about him?"

He's nothing special. Former first rounder who had arm problems; he did go almost four years between big league appearances, which is kind of notable. Has transitioned to more or less LOOGY status, uneven control.

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | June 30, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

this trade also could be about bernadina insurance in case he doesn't fully recover from his broken ankle.

Posted by: surly_w | June 30, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

NJ would love to see commenting within one standard deviation of the mean. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. :-D

BTW, the Bog has a Nats item up that links to some video of Morgan (you have to scroll down a few clips when you get to the page).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"He likes performance over potential..."

Did he actually LOOK at Burnett's numbers? BABIP, GB/FB, K/BB... The only thing where Burnett leads is ERA - and with this defense and his BABIP, that's only going to get bad in a hurry.

Look, never in a thousand years did I think I'd be defending Joel Hanrahan, but I feel like Homer slamming the door in the face of the security system salesman: "I wouldn't think so either, but, here we are..."

Sec417: Tut, tut. SECOND worst. We now trail the D-backs by 3. They can't even lead the league in being awful properly. Fortunately, they've played 3 more games than the Nats, so that title can be recovered.

Posted by: neato_torpedo | June 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Defensively, he often gets bad starts on fly balls, but his speed allows him to compensate"

Oh noooooooooooooooo! I had this exact conversation with JayB about Nook Logan!!!!

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"He's nothing special. Former first rounder who had arm problems; he did go almost four years between big league appearances, which is kind of notable. Has transitioned to more or less LOOGY status, uneven control.'

One could say the same about JD Martin who looks pretty good down in AAA.

Mebbe they should have kept Billy Traber.


Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Chico,
What's this mean for Willie Harris?
Thanks!

Posted by: JEp1 | June 30, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"One could say the same about JD Martin who looks pretty good down in AAA."

Okay, he's nothing special, too. ;-)

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | June 30, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was hilarious when Bob highlighted that on the show last night. "Guess who's now only the second worst team in fielding?" Heh, you take your positives where you can, I guess.

---

Sec417: Tut, tut. SECOND worst. We now trail the D-backs by 3. They can't even lead the league in being awful properly. Fortunately, they've played 3 more games than the Nats, so that title can be recovered.

Posted by: neato_torpedo | June 30, 2009 4:19 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 30, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse


Who gets dropped from 25 man roster? Belliard?

Posted by: brothbart | June 30, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Two relief pitchers they can rely on would be all they need to reverse things. They now have plenty of good fielding outfielders.

And Maxwell not Bernadina should be the guy they want to see succeed. He has power and speed. Bernadina is somewhat lacking by comparison.

Otherwise you trade for someone better like a Maybin.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Did he actually LOOK at Burnett's numbers? BABIP, GB/FB, K/BB... The only thing where Burnett leads is ERA - and with this defense and his BABIP, that's only going to get bad in a hurry."

Am I reading this wrong? I see a 1.144 WHIP, a 0.8 HR/9, a 1.53 K/BB, a .224 BABIP...

Those are All-Star compared to what we have, and not so bad in the league either. Certainly a deal for Hanrahan, who I admire, but needs a change.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"Who gets dropped from 25 man roster? Belliard?"

"Posted by: brothbart | June 30, 2009"

Villone, Tavarez, or Beimel.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs take:
"Good trade for Mike Rizzo and the Nationals. For once, they finally acquired an outfielder with some usefulness. "
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-morgan-milledge-deal

It does look like Willie is a superior offensive player though. Compare these graphs:
http://www.fangraphs.com/comparison.aspx?playerid=236&playerid2=4885&playerid3=&position=2B/OF&page=0&type=full

I think the long run move is to dump Kearns and use Morgan as a back up corner OF / 5th OF type - defensive replacement and pinch runner. I'm not sure he is an upgrade over Willie in CF, who is very good defensively but probably not in Morgan's class.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 30, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Do they have to drop someone from the roster BEFORE tonights game or can they wait until after?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | June 30, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Kearns, Belliard, and Dmitri are likely gone next year or by the end of this year.

As guys improve down in the minors they will likely be brought up for a look see.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"Villone, Tavarez, or Beimel."

It won't be a reliever dropped for a position player.

Bet on a trade for Willingham, Harris, or Dunn.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

This is great for the Nationals. Not only do we get rid of 2 problems in Milledge and Hanrahan,but we get a decent reliever (hopefully) and at WORST, a terrific pinch runner, defensive replacement outfielder who is major league ready. I call it a win for the Nats.

Posted by: liiiljimmy | June 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what we have that would get Maybin? Personally I would like to see both succeed and think they should be tried out.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

No, I meant "rabble". But "rubble" works, too.

Back up the moving van!

Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | June 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow! This generated over 200 comments in a little over 2 hours.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

What's in this trade for Pittsburgh?

Posted by: interactingdc | June 30, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

IMO, this is a solid trade.

We get an upgrade at RP which brings a steadiness that we need and an athletic centerfielder (I like Harris, but he really can't stand up to the daily grind).

Pittsburgh gets an in and out reliever and the classic toolsy youngster. Milledge (and I had real hopes) is probably the classic toolsy player who keeps being traded for "something" because the next team just knows that they can straighten him out. My crystal ball for Milledge is that he will have about 3 - 4 good years between the ages of 28 & 32 (let's see...2012 - 2016), if he happens to be in a place with no pressure and with no need to be a star. At that time, his speed will desert him and he will be toast.

Posted by: Catcher50 | June 30, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Man who cares about who's right "standard deviation, etc" gimme a break - or gimme a beer.

Posted by: nativedc | June 30, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

How did Rizzo convince the Pirates to take Hanrahan instead of Stammen, like they wanted?

and to throw in a bullpen arm to boot...

*stunned*

Posted by: MrMadison | June 30, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

A good trade for all those involved. I wish Milledge and Hanrahan good luck in pitt. Hopefully a fresh start will help. It was just not working out for them here.

Posted by: Tom8 | June 30, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

its pretty funny, fans on the Pirate Blogs are saying we got fleeced.

I hope they have fun watching Hannarahan getting destroyed and Milledge taking poor routes to fly balls.

Posted by: Cartaldo | June 30, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"Villone, Tavarez, or Beimel."

"It won't be a reliever dropped for a position player."

Bringing in those guys is like shooting craps. They need a bit more consistency. Villone is pretty old relative to the rest of the team.

Willingham, Dunn, and Guzman. Not Harris.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"What's in this trade for Pittsburgh?" Near as I can tell, saving a few bucks in salary would be the only advantage to Pittsburgh. So, maybe the Lerners are cheap....but not the cheapest...

Posted by: mvm2 | June 30, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

i thought Milledge earns more than Morgan.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 30, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I think Hanrahan should try being a starter. He has an arm. The guy they got had reconstructive elbow surgery ... like JD Martin eh!? Gee who keeps saying he is a "Tommy Johns"? There is Matt Chico.

Might as well go the AL and see what you can get for Willingham, Dunn, and Guzman. Hopefully a bonafide CF prospect to go with a future outfield which currently looks to possibly have Maxwell. Mebbe Marrerro.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Two sad sack franchises swap four losers. Morgan is just another Nook Logan.

Posted by: bupbups | June 30, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The Pirates may be getting a good future starter in Hanrahan.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

have these Pirates blog writers actually SEEN Hanrahan pitch?

and just a random thought:

when we traded for Milledge, we thought we fleeced the Mets too.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 30, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Pittsburgh had more of a need for an offensive corner LF type. Milledge is that.

I mean, he has a higher OPS, not that he's . . .

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 30, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to Hanrahan! Maybe a fresh start will help him get right. He had a lot of potential, but it wasn't going to happen for him here this season.

Ray Knight said it last night when Johnny Holliday asked him what he would go after. He said a shortstop with more range than Guzman, and a centerfielder who can hit. Morgan's not the one, but this may just be the first of a few moves. Can't see how we would get a shortstop and centerfielder on short notice. (Ray said he wasn't knocking Guzman, who is our best hitter).

Posted by: P522 | June 30, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Joel Sherman of NY post believes Hanrahan was hurt by the WBC. I think he has been watching nothing but mets and yankees games.He really was nothing even last year. His control is way off and without costing velocity, I just don't see him ever finding it.

Posted by: Tom8 | June 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I nearly fell out of my chair laughing, sofa (I guess that would be: INFOOMCL)
____________________
and after all the love we showed them here ... the ingrates.
*************
Certainly Milledge wanted to leave as well. Probably can say the same about Hanrahan.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:10 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa |

Posted by: lowcountry | June 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Last year, with an absolute garbage lineup, Milledge's season was pretty much on par with Morgan's 2009. And they were roughly equal base stealers with Milledge having a slight edge.

Part of the hate for Milledge is his attitude and his absolutely crap start of the season. Which was an extremely small sample size.

Morgan is a better defender than Milledge. But Milledge clearly has more pop. Milledge will be a better hitter and most likely a better base stealer.

If Milledge can evern improve slightly on his 2008 season, he'll be a much better hitter than Morgan will be.

The Pirates turned guys that were afterthoughts into players that can be long-term pieces to a decent ball club. They are selling high and buying low, which is what you want.

Posted by: hoo93 | June 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"After moving to the bullpen last season, Burnett, 24, established himself as a fairly reliable left-handed reliever for manager John Russell. Though he was much more effective against left-handed hitters, Burnett finished with an overall 3.06 ERA in 38 appearances this season."

Sounds like Manny's input. The key word to all of those "he had tommy johns, he's not a "prospect" types on here, IS RELIABLE.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Who gets dropped from 25 man roster? Belliard?"
----------------
"Posted by: brothbart | June 30, 2009"

Villone, Tavarez, or Beimel.
-------------------
Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

periculum, now I'm positive you're either doing hard narcotics, or just need to focus your attention to football - If a team adds an everyday player to a roster, why would they drop a pitcher?

Posted by: BinM | June 30, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Pirates move Milledge in a month. They can give him what the Nats could/would not. Some MLB at bats to showcase his upside.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 30, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"have these Pirates blog writers actually SEEN Hanrahan pitch?"

Yes.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=hanrajo01&year=Career&t=p#oppon

Or more accurately, they had the opportunity to see him, they clearly were not watching.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

HAPPY DAY.....Morgan is much better than Nook Logan.....Much more of a baseball player with baseball. Based on the little I saw Morgan this year...I like this trade a bunch....can he get to the park tonight?

Posted by: JayBeee | June 30, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Millege might be better than Morgan. But Maxwell and Dukes appear to have more potential. And they need someone even better if they can manage it.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Do they have to drop someone from the roster BEFORE tonights game or can they wait until after?"

No, because the new guys won't report in time for tonight's game and Hanrahan will be gone. They'll be playing one player short tonight as it is.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 30, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Fairly reliable" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement!

Posted by: JhonnyBheGhood | June 30, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Musing more at this .968 career OPS over 35 PA vs. the Pirates, I'm starting to think they acquired him just to trade to the Reds so they can guarantee a win against a division opponent.

More seriously, it looks like the Nats got the better long term deal on Hanrahan-for-Burnett and the Pirates on Milledge-for-Morgan.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Kearns, Belliard, and Dmitri are likely gone next year or by the end of this year.

As guys improve down in the minors they will likely be brought up for a look see.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse
-----------------
AACK!
periculum, if you had been paying attention, Belliard & DaMeat both have contracts that expire at the end of 2009; Kearns has a buy-out clause ($1M), so he's gone as well by years' end, if not before.

Posted by: BinM | June 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"If a team adds an everyday player to a roster, why would they drop a pitcher?

Posted by: BinM | June 30, 2009"

Because unlike the description of Burnett, RELIABLE, most of those guys drive a lot of the posters on here to drink!!!! They aren't relievers they are heart-attacker creators ... as much as Hanrahan was but without the potential upside.

The Bucs just made another move with the Yankees.

Have to assume this is just the beginning for the Nats. Time to bring some of the guys up from the minors anyway.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hm. Well. I started out really negative, but as I've read abit, I've come back to being only slightly negative.

Morgan may be useful (though it's hard to see how, as compared to Willie, Bernadina or Maxwell), but he's hardly a "late bloomer," Chico. His OPS has declined as his PA's have increased in MLB - that says to me that it might be a guy who's getting exposed. He's a classic punch-and-judy hitter - he's got basically NO power and as Chico notes doesn't really walk enough to be a leadoff guy. Yes, he's got 18 steals - and has been caught 10 times. So he's basically Endy Chavez/Nook Logan/Brandon Watson all over again. Probably no huge downside impact, but no real long-term potential, either.

Milledge is Milledge, and he's not going to be an MLB player if he doesn't adjust and his attitude is an issue, but for long-term potential, he's 24 and can grow into a role. If the Buccos just put him in left, put him on a weightlifting program and say "You're an LF - learn to hit for power" - he's got Willingham/Church potential for sure - he's already produced at that level.

So there, it's a net plus for the Bucs, I think.

Hanrahan needs a change of scenery and wasn't going to find his potential here - getting blown out of low-leverage situations says you don't have it. His FB is too straight, his slider too erratic.

Burnett's been lucky (as the BABIP suggests), but his peripherals are good and he might be a useful bullpen arm. Useful bullpen arm beats Hanrahan, and Burnett's younger, so that's a net plus for the Nats.

So, on balance, I'd say it depends on how much you like Morgan vs. Milledge. I've always been a bit of a Thrilledge guy, so I balance out a little to the negative. If Morgan can really be a leadoff guy, though, I'd like the trade more. I'm a little worried that he wasn't the CF guy even after McLouth left.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 30, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

This is from a commenter off of Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette...

"Honestly, how bad must Milledge be that the Nats would seek Morgan. You can call it 'sell high' on Morgan, but I'm not buying it. I have a hard time believing any GM out there really thinks Morgan hasn't already peaked"

At least one of them has a clue.

Posted by: jaumiusk | June 30, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Any time you have Hanrahan on the roster you are playing a man short either way.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 30, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,

I don't think Burnett was a good acquisition. TJ surgery and all. Also JD Martin has been compared to Hanrahan. Straight fastball, good enough for AAA but not for MLB.

Posted by: natsguy | June 30, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Young's rehab is just about done. Then they have to make a decision. I think they will let him go.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This is a good thing. Not just for the talent, but the attitude. I liked Miulledge and Hnarahan, but Milledge was too arrogant and Hanarahan not arrogant enough. You have to have balance: know you are good; know you need to improve.

On talent points we probably lose this trade, on Baseball IQ we win.

Good luck to both players, welcome Nyjer.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 30, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Periculum,

I don't think Burnett was a good acquisition. TJ surgery and all. Also JD Martin has been compared to Hanrahan. Straight fastball, good enough for AAA but not for MLB."

If that's true then why is that he does better than say well an Olsen down in AAA? A Mock, a Colin Balester, and just about anyone else they've tried both down there and with the parent club.

Now its time to ask what you've been smoking.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"In 2008, playing 138 games, mostly in center, Milledge led the Nationals in RBI (61) and homers (14)." Plus, Milledge was Dukes' closest friend and popular in the clubhouse. I will always remember the fire he bought out in Manny when he and Dukes were doing a high and low five routine at Shea after Dukes had crossed the plate with the game still in the balance. Remember the shouting match between Manny and Dukes in the dugout? Dukes had to be restrained. Dukes later apologized to the team after Bowden had a private meeting with Dukes and Manny. Wasn't he also the one for whom Dukes led his "girls' softball cheers" at Shea?

*************
What's in this trade for Pittsburgh?

Posted by: interactingdc | June 30, 2009 4:30 PM |

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 30, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

You've got Dukes, Maxwell, Daniels, maybe Marrerro, maybe Patterson (he is kind of old isn't he Natsfan?)

They still need to find a closer or create one. So far Clippard hasn't show it ... but he hasn't made many appearances.

Posted by: periculum | June 30, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"Young's rehab is just about done. Then they have to make a decision. I think they will let him go."

He was never on the 25-man roster this year. So unlike Olsen, when he comes off rehab he can go straight to Syracuse, no problem. That's what will most likely happen. If he starts tearing it up down there, maybe they'll bring him up. But right now, there's no place for him on the major league roster.

They can still trade him if he's playing in Syracuse, if anyone wants him. Just like they traded Milledge.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 30, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Imagine if "Benda Knee" blossoms in Pittsburgh? Imagine if "GasCan" figures it out in Pittsburgh?

Ah, I doubt it. Looks like an equal craptastic trade between to craptastic orgnaizations. Before everyone gets into a lather remember back when we heard the news about the Reds-Nats "Big Trade", how did that one work out?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 30, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

McDougal is the closer.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 30, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

This is just a trade of two unhappy players from one bad team to another bad team. The Nats get a marginal starting OF who won't play much unless the Nats are able to make some trades to move Willingham and Nick Johnson. The left reliever has a history of arm problems and won't have much impact. At least we got rid of the human gas can in the bullpen...Milledge clearly will be happy to be going elsewhere.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 30, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

there's always a lull in comments between 5:00 and 6:00. Everyone's leaving work I guess.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 30, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Hi, NatsNut!

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

One man's opinion - 1) JD Martin is having a breakout season at SYR, but is a 4A pitcher at best (might survive as a middle-reliever in the ML); 2) Jason Maxwell is a 4th/5th OF at best in the ML (can field all 3 positions, but can't hit for average, even at AAA); 3) Nick Johnson should be moved in the next two weeks to a contender, for either mid-level prospects, or a ML-ready RP & a mid-level prospect; 4) Nearly all of the current minor-league prospects in the system are two years out, except pitchers.

Posted by: BinM | June 30, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I hope this trade works out. I'm not convinced that Morgan is better than Bernadina. Neither has any power to speak of but at least Roger Bernadina is younger and at least equal defensively.

My preference is always to play our "own" players, those we've drafted and developed. I wish Rizzo would have waited and given Bernadina another chance.

Nonetheless, I have my fingers crossed. Once the team makes a trade my default position is optimisim. I want the Nats to improve and I'm willing to trust Rizzo, until we see what Morgan adds to this team.

Posted by: grforbes | June 30, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

To those who declare the Nats losers in this trade: the phrase "addition by subtraction" comes to mind. Another phrase: "profiles in courage" pops as well. Rizzo had to know that the media would pan this trade on a pure talent exchange level. Gutsy for an interim general manager.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 30, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

How does this deal affect Thrilledge's status for the All-Star game?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 30, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

One way that the Lerners could show they aren't cheap is to sign Nick to a fat deal. Are there any better free agents available? Are there any more reliable hitters who play all out on this team? 1st basemen last a long time. I'd hate to see him go - he's at the heart of so many rallies.

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 30, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

295 - If you think Morgan is a .345+ OBP guy he's been his entire time in the majors, then he's more than Nook / Brandon / Endy. If you think he tails donw to .329, as ZiPS rest of season projection has him, then you have his offense pegged.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 30, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

This trade may be about Morgan from Rizzo's comments or the 'feel' of our insider here at the WP, but to me getting Sean Burnett to help stabilize the bullpen with all the young pitchers we have in the rotation was perhaps more important.

Milledge was supposed to develop into a star in NY and in Washington. Seeing him the past 2 years, he is simply overrated. He has some speed but is not adept at stealing bases. He has some power but doesn't have a good eye and won't hit for average. His arm is OK in the outfield.

Does all that add up to a star in the making?

Hanrahan was going to be released at the end of the season if he wasn't traded. He failed as a starter, failed as a closer. For a guy with a 95mph fastball, he couldn't locate it and his secondary pitches are just not good enough to get him through.

To me this is a trade of one solid addition in Burnett, one so-so addition in Morgan for one minor leaguer in Milledge and one subpar reliever in Hanrahan.

Posted by: leopard09 | June 30, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Irrespective of your thoughts on the trade, at least Tracee's Lastings Milledge baseball card will now be worth more.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 30, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Way to go, Rizzo! This deal won't get us printing playoff tickets just yet, but it gets rid of two Bowden scholarship players. Also, can't be much of an endorsement for keeping Manny (sorry, Tracee), as his Main Main Thrilledge gets sent packing. I'll tell you what, I've lived in Pittsburgh and those fans are not going to put up with Thrilledge's 75 percent effort down the basepaths or his flag-route patterns on fly balls. They just might boo this young man right on out of town. Gascanrahan is just potential, nothing more. He never did seem to figure out how to pitch, spot that slider or discover command. Nothing lost. We get Nyjer, who seems to be coming into his own, provides much-needed team speed and is a defensive-plus. If Burnett is serviceable and halfway reliable, he's an upgrade over the Gas Can. A good start: now, Belly-hard, Kearnsy, Da Meat and Goozie...Buh-bye, buh-buy, buh-buy. This trade is not made in a vacuum.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 30, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Shortstop Jack Wilson questioned the Nyjer Morgan/Sean Burnett trade, one of several players -- again -- palpably bothered by one of general manager Neal Huntington's moves that removes from the current team.

"The bottom line is, even if this trade does work out, it's not going to matter to 80 percent of the people in here," Wilson said. "And over the years, these trades haven't worked. Show me the ones that have worked."

Wilson described himself as "beyond, beyond tired" of such moves.

"We know that they're looking to the future, which doesn't say much about 2009," he continued. "That's probably what's so shocking. We're five games out, and we lost two or three of our everyday players. That's what hits us the most. You can understand if it's the end of July. You see that stuff coming. ... They're businessmen. They're trying to achieve winning baseball in Pittsburgh. The biggest question is: When is that going to be. When do things start turning around? It's just hard for guys who have been here and seen these exact same trades happen and seen it absolutely do nothing. I've been here nine years. I've seen these trades 2 or 3 times a year every year and still haven't had a winning season. You hope, eventually, some of these trades will work out. It's just they haven't yet. They think they're getting deals they can't pass up. I guess. I guess. I guess. Whatever."

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 30, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

For the poster that indicated that Burnett couldn't be counted on because of arm problems, he has appeared in 38 games this year for the Pirates as a regular member of their bullpen and has produced solid numbers.

If Hanrahan had posted similar numbers when he was a reliever (before being made the closer) perhaps he would still have a job in Washington?

Posted by: leopard09 | June 30, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

What buffoons think the NOTS made a bad trade?..........the same Koolade losers that kiss ACTLESS' azz.........and hated the drafting of Strasburg?............It's ok if the NOTS had just dumped them for nothing......all these 2 STIFFS did in NOTS town was create a mountain of CONTEMPT with every appearance.......NOW if the NOTS can dump Kearns......Belliard........and ACTLESS.....ONG..... they may actually show signs of coming out of their Coma

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | June 30, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

BinM -

JD Martin has a boomlet in favorable publicity:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/jd-martin-deserves-a-shot

Maxwell has had a pretty good 10 or so game stretch. Let's see if getting steady at bats and being healthy helps him.
http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=CF&sid=t552&t=p_pbp&pid=452239

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | June 30, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen so many horrible play on words/names then i just did in fletcherchristian's post.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 30, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

And more from the Post-Gazette, which does not bode well. (I don't think Austin Kearns ever recovered from the emotional blow of being traded here from Cincy, where he was happy.):

Burnett, the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2000, acknowledged crying upon hearing the news: "It's tough. This is all I know. I know everybody in the organization, from Pirate City up to here. There have been some tears already. They stuck with me through a lot of years, when I was hurt and rehabbing. I really appreciate that. ... You can tell that the front office has a plan, has their own idea of building a team. It doesn't fit the picture, I guess, that most fans or us players have. But players have no say. They've made some tough moves here the past couple of weeks. Today was a complete shock for me. But I guess it's a new road ahead."

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 30, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

For whatever it's worth: We (as fans) should already know that 1B) Nick Johnson & Dimitri Young, IF) Ronnie Belliard, and OF) Austin Kearns have expiring or buy-out contracts for 2010. Additionally, C) Bard, RP) Beimel, Colome, Taverez, & Villone all have "walk-away", 1-year deals in 2009. That's at least nine players from the current roster that will need to be re-signed or replaced in the off-season.

If you throw in the arbitration-eligible players: C) Javier Flores & Wil Nieves, OF) Josh Willingham, SP) Scott Olsen, and that's 13 of 25 ML players working for new contracts in 2010. Let's see what the FO decides.

Posted by: BinM | June 30, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

What buffoons think the NOTS made a bad trade?..........the same Koolade losers that kiss ACTLESS' azz.........and hated the drafting of Strasburg?............It's ok if the NOTS had just dumped them for nothing......all these 2 STIFFS did in NOTS town was create a mountain of CONTEMPT with every appearance.......NOW if the NOTS can dump Kearns......Belliard........and ACTLESS.....ONG..... they may actually show signs of coming out of their Coma

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | June 30, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

------

I'm becoming more sympathetic to Captain Bligh. I didn't realize this was what he was dealing with.

Posted by: Section506 | June 30, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

BinM, *Javier* Flores? Either he's been on the DL too long or you're already hitting the brandy (and maalox) tonight. =)

Posted by: NatsNut | June 30, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so I was reading comments about this trade over on MLBTradeRumors. Some stooge was discussing that due to his FIP, Hanrahan is actually better than he was last year, and he is actually more a casualty of bad defense than his own shortcomings.

FIP (I had to look it up) is an equation that takes the number of homeruns multiplied by 13 and adds to that the number of unintentional walks and hit by pitches minus multiplied by three and then subtracts the number of strikeouts multiplied by two and divides that whole mess by innings pitched. This is supposed to tell you how good a pitcher is without taking into account poor fielding.

Is it just me, or does that not have anything to do with hits allowed??? A guy can never give up a home run, never walk a guy and strike out the side every time he pitches, but give up 15 hits an inning and still have a 0.00 FIP.

What a stupid stat.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | June 30, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

@jca: JD Martin publicity driven by a single blog? Please.just.stop.

Maxwell with a 10-game stretch of positive results in AAA; Come talk to me when his BA is above .280 at SYR. His swing is still too long, and he has too many holes in it to be a ML player on a regular day basis, imo.

Posted by: BinM | June 30, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

There's been a lot of talk on here about Rizzo's emphasis on reliability vs. Bowden's obsession with tools and upside. But this might be an even better indicator of Rizzo's focus on high-character "clubhouse" guys, which Morgan apparently is.

Can't say I'm thrilled by this, we're certainly selling these two at bottom value, both have some actual talent if given the right situation. That said, I'm happy we get a useful LHP for the pen for Hanrahan, who we were going to lose for nothing if he was DFA'ed. I'll reserve judgement on Morgan, because I think this is just the beginning of a few moves, and he'll be a very useful 5th OF/defensive replacement who will be very cheap through his peak production years.

Posted by: natinbeantown | June 30, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I saw the same thing, Cavalier, that one the Pittsburgh posters said that Joel would be instantly better because he had been betrayed by the Nats' poor fielding. He gave up "only 3 home runs" in 32 innings. My memory is that he would get to two strikes and give up doubles, hard hit singles, and the lead. I don't recall thinking, "If Ozzie Smith and Willie Mays were backing him up, Joel would be just fine!"

Posted by: flynnie2 | June 30, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, 506. Captain Bligh has my sympathies.

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 30, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Reminiscent of Shawn Hill's reaction upon his release, Flynnie.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 30, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

What a circus this team is!

But I still love 'em! Because, what a circus this team is!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | June 30, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

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