From the indefatigable Dejan Kovacevic:
- Milledge The Pirates and Washington have agreed in principle to a trade that would send outfielder Nyjer Morgan and reliever Sean Burnett to the Nationals for outfielder Lastings Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan.
Outfielder Garrett Jones will be recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis.
This deal is widely going to be hailed as a win for the Pirates, and I suppose that it probably is. After all, Nyjer Morgan's never going to be anything more than a fourth outfielder (on a good team, anyway), while Lastings Milledge still has a chance to be a first or second outfielder.
I wonder, though. When you're trying build an organization, shouldn't character be a significant consideration? I know I've basically dismissed such things for some years now, because I believe in writing about things I can quantify, and I don't have the first idea about how to quantify character and chemistry and all those wonderful things. Still, a lot of baseball executives with a lot of wins under their belts do talk about those things with great passion, and I would be foolish to summarily dismiss that passion.
There's another little issue, which is that Milledge has been terrible this season. You probably recall his struggles with the Nationals, which got him sent back to the minors. In 22 Triple-A games, he's done practically nothing. A meaningful sample size? No. But at some point you actually have to produce. Milledge is now 24, and he's got an OPS almost exactly the same as Nyjer Morgan's. Milledge might yet become a star. He'd better hurry, though.