Displaced In D.C., Morgan Moves To Milwaukee

The Deal
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo’s first move at the helm of the franchise was trading for center fielder Nyjer Morgan (and lefty reliever Sean Burnett) in July 2009. Morgan breathed life into the club in his first D.C. campaign, batting .351/.396/.435 with 24 steals in 49 games, but he slumped badly in his followup and drew two suspensions, one for his role in inciting a brawl with the Marlins and another for throwing a ball into the stands.

So when free agent import Rick Ankiel outplayed Morgan in spring training to win the center-field job, the Nationals decided to shop the displaced Morgan to other teams rather than send him to Triple-A on his third and final optional assignment. The Brewers had a natural level of interest, having just traded reserve outfielder Chris Dickerson to the Yankees. Milwaukee also had a player of its own who could benefit from a fresh start with a new organization—21-year-old Cutter Dykstra—so the two clubs struck a deal. The Brewers also included $50,000 in the deal.

Nationals Acquire
Cutter Dykstra, 3b

Age: 21. Position: 3B (79 G), 2B (1 G), 1B (1 G).

Born: June 29, 1989 in Manhasset, N.Y.

Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 180. Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Westlake HS, Westlake Village, Calif.

Career Transactions: Selected by Brewers in second round of 2008 draft; signed June 7, 2008.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Wisconsin (MWL) LoA .312 100 353 66 110 10 5 5 39 55 72 27 .416 .411

The son of three-time all-star Lenny Dykstra, Cutter ranked 13th in the minors last year with his .416 on-base percentage. But as a fourth-year pro who doesn’t hit for a lot of power and who lacks a natural position, he presents a tough profile for his employer. A second-round pick as a prep outfielder, Dykstra played mostly center in his 2008 pro debut before switching to second base in ’09. His glove did not make the transition (he committed 20 errors in 55 games at the keystone), and neither did his bat. In 437 plate appearances in his two years in the Rookie-level Pioneer League (the top hitter’s league in the minors), he batted just .256/.351/.377 with 10 homers and 15 doubles/triples. Dykstra’s bat recovered with his second assignment to low Class A Wisconsin last season, but he showed little aptitude for his new position of third base (.894 fielding percentage). A solid athlete who makes consistent contact, Dykstra’s top tool is his average running speed. He doesn’t throw particularly well or project to hit for power, but he has a feel for the strike zone and could forge a career as an on-base-oriented fill-in.

Brewers Acquire
Nyjer Morgan, cf

Age: 30. Bats: L. Remaining Commitment: $450,000 salary for 2011, then arbitration-eligible for 2012-13 seasons.

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Washington (NL) 2010 .253 136 509 60 129 17 7 0 24 40 88 34 .319 .314
3-Year Totals .281 314 1138 160 320 45 14 3 70 90 194 85 .343 .353

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