I see that the trade is confirmed now, so I thought I’d share my thoughts quickly before the gamethread goes up. What this trade comes down to is this: a rebuilding team can never turn down a trade that offers a net talent gain as big as this one does for the Pirates. I’m not trying to knock Nyjer Morgan here, either, but Morgan is what he is; he’s a great defensive player that doesn’t offer much at the plate. In left field, that’s not really an option for any team. Some people will try to spin this trade as speed for power, but Morgan’s speed on offense is incredibly overrated. His OBP hovers around .350 and he’s been thrown out in 10 of his 28 stealing attempts.
Lastings Milledge is a risk for any team at this point. He’s hit OK in his Major League career, but questions about his attitude have overwhelmed everything. The thing to remember is that if he turns out to be a bust and we give up on him in two years, we still ventured very little to get him here in the first place. Morgan isn’t a long-term starter in left field; he was fun to watch, he was funny, and he probably would’ve been awesome to grab a beer with, but he wasn’t a long-term answer. Milledge, quite simply, might be, and that’s a risk that we have to take.
For everyone that’s worried about Milledge’s character, remember one of the most crippling moves that Cam Bonifay made as a Pirate. He called Jose Guillen up way too early, got frustrated when he was immature, and shipped him out for cents on the dollar. Eventually, he became a solid every day player. Milledge is easily as talented as Guillen was and we’re on the receiving end of the deal this time. Now, instead of being the future of the Mets or the savior of the Nationals, he can slide into Pittsburgh behind Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez in the spotlight. The Pirates will give him a chance to play and he’s not going to be expected to save the world here.
Maybe Milledge will be a star and maybe he won’t, but I’m glad that we’re the team that’s going to find out.