I'm sold. I had the feeling since last year's draft that this FO finally had the right idea but I've been cautiously optimistic, as any long-term Bucco fan should be with new management. Dealing Nyjer for Lastings Milledge today really cemeted my optimism but not for the obvious reasons.
This trade was one that the Pirates have been on the other end of for the last 15 years. It should be clear as day to anyone paying attention to what has been happening. The Nationals (I live in DC so I feel like I have a good perspective on the mood here) are DESPERATE. Desperate teams do dumb things. They're desperate to win, desperate to draw fans. Teams that are in this position (read Pirates 1992-current) and can't fight the urge to get better immediately do stupid things. So the Nats trade for Nyjer Morgan, immediate help at leadoff and give up on the guy that just recently graced their opening day program. That's a buy high-sell low strategy if I've ever seen one. It's a Dave Littlefield special. Improve the leadoff spot and bullpen now... at the price of young talent. Anyone who thinks the Nats won this deal isn't a Pirates fan or hasn't been paying attention. It doesn't matter if Milledge flames out or Hanrahan's ERA continue to skyrocket. The Buccos did the right thing today and that's all we should ask.
Lastly, it's nice to now know that there's a team above the Buccos on the get-ripped-in-every-deal list. This smelled like a lemon for the Nats when I had read rumors that they had inquired about Nyjer and the Bucs had asked for Milledge and one of the Nat's young (talented) starters. No reasonable team would make this request... but how many times have we read these types of rumors with the Bucs on the other end? That means Neal & Co knew they could take Riz to the cleaners and started out with insane demands. Look objectively at this deal and it's clear. Nyjer, at 28, has none of the upside of Lastings and I'd make the argument Milledge's performance from last year was better than Nyjer's so far this year. Burnett is at best as talented as Hanrahan. Good work, Neal.