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Friday, April 8, 2011

It's Official: I Love the Trade For Nyjer Morgan

I admit I was nervous when I first heard that Doug Melvin had shown interest in Nationals' center fielder Nyjer Morgan. I had heard the stories, had seen the clips, and feared that Doug might be sacrificing clubhouse chemistry in his attempt to go "all-in" in 2011. Melvin quickly shot down the rumor, only to acquire Morgan two days later for Cutter Dykstra. After the trade I wrote about Morgan, mainly focusing on his struggles last season and the problems that followed, while closing by mentioning his plus-defense and speed.

Since the trade we've heard from former (and current) teammate Wil Nieves that Morgan respects his teammates, and we've seen on the field the value Morgan brings to the Brewers. He's fast. He's aggressive. He plays hard. He scored the winning run yesterday after stealing third base and knocking the ball out of All-star catcher Brian McCann's glove in a collision at the plate. So far he's batting .462 with a double, a triple, and a walk while still seeing limited playing time, and he's already provided a few defensive gems.

Morgan's style of play fits in perfectly with this Brewers club and its manager, and the team could use a contact hitter near the top of the everyday lineup. He's shown he can inject energy into the team and going forward he's sure to grab more playing time in right field until Corey Hart returns. He'll certainly take over in center field if Carlos Gomez can't regain the plate approach he showed in Spring Training.

On top of everything, he's inspired someone to create a twitter account based on his game-time alter-ego, Tony Plush (Tony_Plush). Yes, Nyjer Morgan truly has an alter-ego. Nyjer is the man outside of the game, while Tony is who we see on the field. So far Tony_Plush has provided some amusing anecdotes. This morning, with the Brewers-Cubs series drawing near, he provided a string of quality tweets:

"While Tony Plush awoke feeling full of vigor, his teammates have been telling him about Cubs supporters. As a gentleman, he has concerns." "Plush heard Cubs fans cross the border like mouth-breathing hordes sweeping across the moors, eager to berate and blaspheme." "That they act with a belligerence befitting a team that has won a World Series more recently than the year the first Model T was produced."

In the end, as with any player, Brewers fans will judge Morgan by his contributions to the team. He's off to a good start, and his presence on a loose, easy-going team should help him avoid a repeat of the problems of 2010.  So far, I'm very pleased with the trade.

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