WASHINGTON - APRIL 08: Nyjer Morgan #1 of the Washington Nationals slides into third base for a triple in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on April 8, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
185 games, 789 plate appearances, 26 doubles, 58 stolen bases and 24 caught stealings after Washington Nationals' General Manager Mike Rizzo declared, "We have our center fielder," in a 6/30/09 article by MLB.com's Bill Ladson entitled, "Nats get Morgan, Burnett in swap with Bucs", upon acquiring a then-29-year-old Nyjer Morgan from the Pirates, the Nats have announced a deal that sends Morgan to the Milwaukee Brewers.
@NationalsPR: "Nationals acquire INF Cutter Dykstra and cash considerations from Brewers in exchange for CF Nyjer Morgan.
The Nationals acquired Morgan from Pittsburgh in a four-player deal that sent OF Lastings Milledge and RHP Joel Hanrahan to the Pirates for Morgan and left-handed reliever Sean Burnett. Morgan was described by the then-interim GM, Mr. Rizzo, as a, "...speed-type of player that can play above-average defense for us in center field, give us a top-of-the-lineup bat that can create a little havoc on the basepaths and get you a stolen base when you need it," as he said in an AP article at the time at ESPN.com.
A season-ending injury ended Morgan's strong start in the nation's capital in late August '09, and a disappointing 2010 campaign which was followed by a Spring Training in which the outfielder struggled early before showing some signs of improvement at the plate, the Nationals made the decision to go with veteran Rick Ankiel in center to start the 2011 season, and in Morgan's mind, the decision made him expendable and effectively ended his time in D.C., as he told MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) late last week (as quoted on Twitter):
"'I'm a realist. I'm not going to sit here and be like, 'Oh, no. I want to finish my career here.’ I just think this place isn’t for me. I’m not saying there are bad people here. It’s just that, maybe, I’m not a fit here anymore. It’s time to move on.'"
Morgan apparently read the situation correctly. The Nats send the 30-year-old, four-year MLB veteran to the Brewers in exchange for the son of former Major Leaguer Lenny Dykstra, Cutter Dykstra. Dykstra is a 21-year-old '08 2nd Round pick by Milwaukee who's put up a .274/.374/.383 slash line in 238 games and 970 plate appearancess at Rookie and A-ball in the Brewers' system. Here's what the Nationals' press release has to say about Dykstra:
"Dykstra ranked fourth in the Single-A Midwest League with a .416 on-base percentage and .312 batting average last season while playing for Wisconsin. The 21-year-old scored 66 runs and posted 10 doubles, five triples, five home runs, 39 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 100 games for the Timber Rattlers.
"Dykstra was selected by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and has a .374 on-base percentage with 49 stolen bases in three minor-league seasons. Recently tabbed the eighth-best prospect in the Brewers organization by Hardballtimes, Dykstra was rated the second-best prospect in the Single-A Pioneer League and seventh-best Brewers prospect by industry-insider Baseball America following the 2008 season."
The Nyjer Morgan era in Washington, D.C. is officially over. How long will the Rick Ankiel era last?