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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pirates - Acquired Milledge

Pittsburgh Pirates - Acquired OF Lastings Milledge and P Joel Hanrahan from the Washington Nationals for OF

Nyjer Morgan and P Sean Burnett

Let’s get the Nats side of the trade out of the way first.  Morgan’s not a good offensive player and a 350/350 season is

pretty much what he can reasonable expected to top out at.  As long as he’s 10-15 runs better than average in centerfield,

where he’s likely to be when all is said and done, he’s a usable player somewhere around league-average.  Problem is, Morgan

turns 29 in a few days and defensive aging among baseball players isn’t a curve, but a line, pointing down.  Sure, he could

be like Mike Cameron and play good defense in center forever, but that’s not typical.  A team like the Nationals should see

upside in every player they pick up and I just don’t see where the upside is in Morgan.  He’s not particularly disciplined,

he’s unlikely to develop any power or improve defensively, so where’s the payoff?  I hated the Milledge trade from the

perspective of the Mets, but sitting there at Thanksgiving ‘07, the idea that Church could possibly develop into a .875-.900

OPS player wasn’t something that was induced from sniffing airplane glue.

The same goes for the Burnett-Hanrahan part of the swap.  Burnett’s upside is a solid LOOGY with unimpressive stuff. 

Hanrahan hasn’t been great (and his peripherals suggest a better ERA than he’s shown), but if he works out, you have a

classic big fastball/slider shutdown reliever.  Obviously, I think Hanrahan is a terrific pickup for the Pirates and way to

turn a commodity into something with upside.

That brings us to Milledge, saved for last for obvious reasons.  Yes, Milledge has been disappointing and his behavior has

frequently left much to be desired.  But against that, you have the fact that people in their early-20s aren’t exactly known

for their amazing levels of maturity and that turning prospects into players and boys into men is their job.  Some

of the reports about Milledge in New York and Washington have been ridiculous - at times, you can almost tell that the

“unnamed sources” speaking to beat reporters are just straining to not use the word “uppity” when Milledge commits such

crimes against humanity like high-fiving fans in a moment of joy and excitement or an interest in rap music.  I know that

60-year-old white guys have more important matters, like getting half a billion dollars in corporate welfare from local

governments, to attend to, but it would be nice if certain organizations would be able to deal with prospects that aren’t

either nice, clean-cut white boys who love Jesus and listen to country music or eager immigrants who used milk cartons as

gloves and desperately want to send money home to their family overseas.

As a player, Milledge has showed flashes at times, coming back from a groin injury last year to hit 299/355/448 in the second

half.  2009 has been a disaster for Milledge, but a disaster essentially consisting of 100 PA.  The idea that Milledge is

done at 24 because of a bad month and a broken hand is absolutely ridiculous.  Yes, Milledge needs to show less indifference

with his defense, but it’s a two-way street - organizations need to show less indifference towards Milledge’s future, as well

and do their ####### jobs.

Is Pittsburgh the right destination?  I don’t really know.  At least they have the right idea, get upside for no-upside.  But

will the organization nurture Milledge as a player, treat him like a valued member of the organization rather than an

annoyance every time he does something that may not be Brent Bozell-friendly?  That remains to be seen.


2009 ZIPS Projection - Lastings Milledge
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   105   11   22   4   0   0   4   3   27   6 .210 .236 .248
Rest-of-Year   204   28   57 10   1   7   24   14   39   9 .279 .337 .438
——————————————————————————————————————

 


2009 ZIPS Projection - Nyjer Morgan
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   278   39   77   6   5   2   27   29   49 18 .277 .351 .356
Rest-of-Year   221   32   58   7   2   1   15   16   40 18 .261 .322 .322
——————————————————————————————————————
Total       499   71 135 13   7   3   42   45   89 36 .270 .338 .341

 


2009 ZIPS Projection - Sean Burnett
——————————————————————————————————————
            W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER   HR   BB   SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   1   2   38   0   32.3   22   11   3   15   23 3.06
Rest-of-Year   1   1   33   0   29.3   30   15   3   16   20 4.60
——————————————————————————————————————
Total         2   3   71   0   61.7   52   26   6   31   43 3.79

 


2009 ZIPS Projection - Joel Hanrahan
——————————————————————————————————————
            W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER   HR   BB   SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   0   3   34   0   32.7   50   28   3   14   35 7.71
Rest-of-Year   2   2   36   0   42.7   41   19   4   20   43 4.01
——————————————————————————————————————
Total         2   5   70   0   75.3   91   47   7   34   78 5.62

Year-to-date totals include minor-league translations, if applicable.

Transaction Oracle, now on Twitter!

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: June 30, 2009 at 10:25 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Zoppity Zoop Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:30 PM (#3238286)
Zim's has carved out a fascinating niche in the stathead world. Projection algorithms, humor, and bug-up-his ass rants is a strange mix.
   2. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:33 PM (#3238289)
But against that, you have the fact that people in their early-20s aren't exactly known for their amazing levels of immaturity


If they aren't known for immaturity, who is?
   3. Brandon in MO (Yunitility Infielder) Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:35 PM (#3238291)
I wonder why the Nats are the worst team in baseball. Let Teddy Win? More like Let the Nats win
   4. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:39 PM (#3238295)
Oops, rewrote the sentence and didn't change immaturity to maturity!
   5. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:44 PM (#3238300)
My Skype Firefox add-on seems to think that Milledge's projection is a phone number.
   6. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:52 PM (#3238302)
But will the organization nurture Milledge as a player, treat him like a valued member of the organization


Hmmm....

GM Neal Huntington admitted on Sunday that he's tried to trade Snell for "several months" but hasn't been offered a legitimate baseball return, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Huntington said he made a mistake signing Snell to a three-year deal that looked good on paper but didn't take into account the "human element". "Our focus now is to salvage something from this situation," Huntington said, "whether that's a trade, or Ian comes back -- maybe that's in the bullpen -- we'll see." For his part, Snell credited an escape from the "negativity" and the performance of his Triple-A catcher for his 17-strikeout performance on Sunday. "The guys made me feel welcome here," Snell said.
   7. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: June 30, 2009 at 11:59 PM (#3238309)
My first reaction to this trade is wondering who will be the first media member to worry that Milledge's bad habits will infect McCutchen without a similar concern for Brandon Moss.
   8. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: July 01, 2009 at 12:17 AM (#3238329)
But will the organization nurture Milledge as a player, treat him like a valued member of the organization

D: "Tell Spot that he's a good cat. And a pretty cat."

W: "I'll feed him."

I prefer the Klingon approach: sometimes the player just needs to be told that today is a good day to play ball.
   9. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 01, 2009 at 12:56 AM (#3238358)
That's the most interesting TO in a while, brah.
   10. fra paolo Posted: July 01, 2009 at 01:51 AM (#3238454)
While I think Dan's got the theory down pat here, he overstates the case against the Nationals.

If Morgan is the only available player who can fix the Nationals' defensive woes—which are considerable, just look at tonight's game—they have to go for it if the price is reasonable. Milledge, as I said in the other thread, is surplus. Hanrahan - well, I wouldn't put it past Joey B lynching him given the opportunity. Hanrahan is probably the most hated pitched on the Nationals' staff at the moment, although the vast bulk of my ire is reserved for Jesus Colome. For his own personal safety, it's better for Hanrahan to be traded.

The interesting question at the moment in NatsTown is, who is going to be the outfielder they send down? Dukes? Harris? Kearns? Willingham? Dunn? Or will they send down an infielder? Or shorten the bullpen? Wow! As many Question Marks as on the Riddler's outfit!
   11. Chris Needham Posted: July 01, 2009 at 01:53 AM (#3238458)
Is it far to tag the Nats with the 'crusty white guy' sort of thing given their success with Dukes and Young?
   12. Srul Itza Posted: July 01, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3238474)
Zim's has carved out a fascinating niche in the stathead world. Projection algorithms, humor, and bug-up-his ass rants is a strange mix.

Actually, projection algorithms and bug-up-the ass rants pretty much defines the on-line stathead world. Think MGL.

It is really the humor that makes ZIM stand out.
   13. Spivey Posted: July 01, 2009 at 03:02 AM (#3238593)
Wait, DZ is supposed to be funny?
   14. Spivey Posted: July 01, 2009 at 03:03 AM (#3238597)
I don't know why I gave him that abbreviation... but it felt good at the time.
   15. Fresh Prince of Belisle Posted: July 01, 2009 at 02:57 PM (#3238920)
Actually, projection algorithms and bug-up-the ass rants pretty much defines the on-line stathead world. Think MGL.


The funny thing is that Symborski's nowhere as mean as he seems to think he is. I don't think he could sustain a rant much past a paragraph or two. He's kind of the opposite of a lot of the statdonks in that, despite clearly being knowledgable, the lighter the topic, the more interesting his writing. I'll probably get banned for this, but the dude's closer to being a smart Bill Simmons than a Gassko/Silver type.
   16. villageidiom Posted: July 01, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3238980)
My Skype Firefox add-on seems to think that Milledge's projection is a phone number.
This is the first time that a stat-based projection suggests that a player will dial it in.
   17. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 01, 2009 at 04:18 PM (#3238985)
What is this, Dan Szymborski Evaluation Day?
   18. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 01, 2009 at 04:19 PM (#3238988)
This is the first time that a stat-based projection suggests that a player will dial it in.

If I ever see the combination, I will totally list the projection for a player as ".867 OPS, .530 SLG, 9 HR"
   19. J. Bowman, upon reflection, does hate pants Posted: July 01, 2009 at 05:03 PM (#3239041)
What is this, Dan Szymborski Evaluation Day?

I think it's Canada Day. Do they normally fall on the same day?
   20. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 01, 2009 at 05:16 PM (#3239054)
Bravo, vi.
   21. Tricky Dick Posted: July 01, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3239093)
I'll second the comments about this article...well written.

Having watched Morgan in a few games, he seems to me to be an outfielder who is much better defensively in LF than CF. He has great speed, but his routes looked less than stellar. I see that his UZR rating is better in CF than LF, which makes me question whether the sample size (54 games in CF for his career) allows us to get an accurate gauge of his defense in CF. Because McLouth held down CF for much of the season, Morgan played mostly in LF for the Pirates. Morgan will be an improvement defensively over what the Nats are used to in CF, but I wouldn't bet that he will be more than slightly above average in CF.

By the way, I find it interesting that two stats oriented sites (here and Fangraphs) come to completely different conclusions about this trade. The fangraphs article views it as a win for the Nationals.
   22. Joey B. "disrespects the A" Posted: July 01, 2009 at 05:49 PM (#3239100)
By the way, I find it interesting that two stats oriented sites (here and Fangraphs) come to completely different conclusions about this trade. The fangraphs article views it as a win for the Nationals.

The analysts I saw on the MLB Network last night (former players, not statheads) were pretty much unanimous in their opinion that it was a terrible trade for the Pirates. The term "head-scratcher" was used more than once.
   23. billyshears Posted: July 01, 2009 at 06:22 PM (#3239176)
Millege is probably going to get jerked around enough that he never amounts to anything.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: July 01, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3239431)
Millege is probably going to get jerked around enough that he never amounts to anything.

Maybe. An interesting thing to me is that the early rumors/media reports were Milledge for Morgan ... and sure the Pirates wanted a little more, but it was apparently the name Milledge that got them listening in the first place. The Pirates had no reason to trade Morgan -- he's not making any money, he's not blocking anyone -- so unless Huntington has a pathological obsession with trading starting OFs (his 4th such trade in a year), the Pirates wanted to make this trade. That should mean that they're looking to give Milledge a legit shot to reach his upside.

If a team other than the Nats had made this trade, I might call them the winner or at least a win-win. If his defense is as good as advertised, then Morgan is (give or take a few runs) an average OF. Dan's of course right that his defense will go in decline but he's still likely to in that average zone for the next 2.5 seasons and that's a perfectly good return for a "failed" prospect (though Hanrahan seems better than your typical throw-in). But the Nats are doing this to ... improve their chances of out-performing the 2003 Tigers? Still, given the Nats wanted to move Milledge and apparently have nightmarish flashbacks whenever the name Hanrahan is mentioned, they did OK here. The concern is more whether they're ever gonna get around to turning good young talent into good players.
   25. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 01, 2009 at 08:10 PM (#3239472)
The analysts I saw on the MLB Network last night (former players, not statheads) were pretty much unanimous in their opinion that it was a terrible trade for the Pirates. The term "head-scratcher" was used more than once.


I think the age difference between Milledge and Morgan is what's getting people. Milledge debuted a year earlier and has almost 400 more MLB PAs than Morgan. So at first glance this looks like a trade of guys around the same age/experience, except that one is a major-league regular and the other guy's scuffling in AAA.

What that misses, of course, is that Milledge made his major-league debut at age 21, Morgan debuted at age 27, and Milledge is still almost five years younger than Morgan. Actually, even BB-Ref understates the real age difference - they list Morgan's baseball age this year as 28; if he had been born two days earlier, they'd call him 29 (his birthday is tomorrow).
   26. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: July 02, 2009 at 06:24 PM (#3240547)
The analysts I saw on the MLB Network last night (former players, not statheads) were pretty much unanimous in their opinion that it was a terrible trade for the Pirates. The term "head-scratcher" was used more than once.


I think that analysis pretty much consisted of:

Morgan: .277 and 18 steals!

Milledge: .167 and clubhouse cancer!
   27. The Essex Snead Posted: July 02, 2009 at 06:33 PM (#3240563)
Flipping around MLB's AtBat iPhone app (&, um, an actual TV), I heard way too many broadcasters sound off on how the Pirates are never going to get anywhere if they keep on trading established major league talent for no-name castoffs, as if these trades are anything like the Giles / Kendall / Schmidt (if you want to go back that far) deals. And the Mets radio guys were riding Milledge like he was Bernie Madoff's investment partner; maybe Gary Cohen was off-mic holding up cue cards. And they were getting on LM for NOT showing any enthusiasm for the game, which is pretty rich -- after the way the NY media crapped in his mouth for deigning to high-five fans after a late-game homer, would you blame him?

One of them mentioned that Milledge was supposedly late to the surgery for his hand injury earlier this year -- anyone know if there's any truth to that?
   28. jwb Posted: July 05, 2009 at 05:52 AM (#3242432)
My Skype Firefox add-on seems to think that Milledge's projection is a phone number.
Phone home, LM!
   29. shoewizard Posted: June 11, 2010 at 01:44 PM (#3556224)
Since trade

Milledge -2.1 WAR For Pittsburgh
Morgan 0.5 WAR for Washington

Net gain for Washington, 2.6 WAR
   30. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 11, 2010 at 01:49 PM (#3556229)
Ha! I don't have to admit jackshit in this thread.
   31. The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: June 11, 2010 at 02:00 PM (#3556236)
Why long-term projections are for entertainment purposes only: Dan's Milledge Projection
   32. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 15, 2010 at 03:19 PM (#3559721)
Net gain for Washington, 2.6 WAR


Not totally. To date, Hanrahan has been 0.5 WAR better than Burnett, so that gets the gap down to 2.1.
   33. Guapo Posted: June 15, 2010 at 04:00 PM (#3559763)
Milledge has zero HRs this year. He led the Nationals in HRs in 2008.
   34. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: June 15, 2010 at 04:26 PM (#3559787)
instead of roid rage, Milledge had roid relaxation.
   35. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 02, 2010 at 10:39 PM (#3577404)
Since tradeMilledge -2.1 WAR For PittsburghMorgan 0.5 WAR for WashingtonNet gain for Washington, 2.6 WAR


since June 11:

Milledge:.340/.415/.511 in 53 PAs
Morgan: .254/.299/.268 in 76 PAs
   36. Mark S. is bored Posted: July 06, 2010 at 03:26 PM (#3579454)
Since tradeMilledge -2.1 WAR For PittsburghMorgan 0.5 WAR for WashingtonNet gain for Washington, 2.6 WAR

since June 11:

Milledge:.340/.415/.511 in 53 PAs
Morgan: .254/.299/.268 in 76 PAs


Since June 20:

Milledge: .222/.282/.333 in 40 PAs
Morgan: .283/.350/.302 in 63 PAs

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