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The Pirates-Nationals trade, one year later

On this date one year ago, General Manager Mike Rizzo made the first major trade of his tenure leading the Nationals. He shipped Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett - a "fabulous trade," Morgan joked today.

While Morgan played much better last year upon arriving from the Pirates than he has this season, the trade has paid off for the Nationals, Rizzo believes. He said he still considers Morgan "a long-term answer in centerfield and at the top of the order. We got ourselves a terrific left-handed relief pitcher. We're extremely happy with where we're at in the trade. It's been great."

Likewise, Morgan has appreciated the ramifications of restarting his career with Washington. "It's still exciting," Morgan said. "I'm still excited about coming over here. I love the way the direction of the organization is going."

After coming to the Nationals last season, Morgan hit .359 with a .403 on-base percentage and a .441 slugging percentage. His surge was attributed to a new setting and a fresh start, but it may have simpler than that - Morgan has always started slow and finished fast.

Given Morgan's history, Rizzo has reason for optimism. Before the all-star break in his career, Morgan has hit .258/.324/.332 in average, on-base and slugging. After the break, his numbers have leapt to .340/.392/.442.

"I always pick it up in the second half," Morgan said. "It's always been like that. Even in the minors, it was always like that. I've been here before. Now it's time to turn it up."

* * *

One year later, it seems the trade was pretty even and worked out reasonably well for both sides. Here's a statistical comparison between the relievers and the outfielders since moving to their new team:

Nyjer Morgan: .295 AVG, .345 OBP, .368 SLG, 1 HR, 41 SB
Lastings Milledge: .282 AVG, .340 OBP, .384 SLG, 5 HR, 10 SB

Sean Burnett: 3.14 ERA, 68 games, 51 2/3 IP, 1.22 WHIP, .205 AVG, 7.7 K/9
Joel Hanrahan: 2.95 ERA, 67 games, 64 IP, 1.23 WHIP, .202 AVG, 12.0 K/9

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 30, 2010; 6:41 PM ET
Categories:  Nyjer Morgan  
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Next: Ian Desmond: 'I haven't really been getting it done'


Just watched a MASN piece on Nyjer Morgan; well, I think it was MASN; it could have been the Sci-fi Channel. Made Nyjer look like a shoo-in for the All Star team

Posted by: swanni | June 30, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

>>"Rizzo said he still considers Morgan "a long-term answer in centerfield and at the top of the order."

Well that's really unfortunate to hear. Talk about throwing good money after bad. Guy can't simply admit he made a mistake and move on. Too bad.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 30, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-HOPE you're wrong, Hawk, still like what we saw last year...but.....the light is getting dimmer by the failed bunt. And even if he does "turn it up" in the 2nd half-well, that still leaves us short for half the year. Not exactly acceptable....unless you are Tex, etc....ONE dinger, huh?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | June 30, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

A winning ball club cannot afford to have a nominal lead-off man that takes half a season to "get it going." Unless he can make a remarkable turn around in his "baseball intelligence" - not to mention his on-base % - Morgan will not be a long-term answer in Center. The good news is that the team may have a player on the roster to be their long term answer in Bernadina.

Posted by: mgilham | July 1, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with mgilham. Nyjer has lots of potential, and I don't even mind the slow starts. The problem is lack of baseball IQ-eg, not throwing to the cutoff man, not bunting properly, not stealing a high PERCENTAGE of bases. He's not the same guy--offensively or defensively--as last year, leading me to think he may have personal issues. I was in love with him last year, but now I'm ready to go with Bernadina, too, unless Nyjer shows he's smart enough to learn the game at age, what, 30?

Posted by: jdsp2000 | July 1, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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