Numerous reports have emerged stating that former Pittsburgh Pirates‘ outfielder, Nyjer Morgan, was looking to make a return to the MLB ranks after spending the 2013 season playing in Japan. Morgan was a member of the Pirates during the 2007 season, but his tenure with the club was effectively terminated in 2009 with the trade to the Washington Nationals which brought Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Pirates in exchange for Morgan and Sean Burnett. During the later years as a Pirate, Morgan’s alter ego, Tony Plush, emerged and was used as an entertainment vehicle, making him a fan favorite.
A few sources have suggested that the Morgan camp may target Pittsburgh as a potential landing spot, but with the Chris Dickerson signing that wouldn’t make a ton of sense. Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen have already solidified their starting spots in left field and center field respectively, so Morgan would be in the hunt with about a half dozen other guys for the everyday right field job. Several experts are projecting that Gregory Polanco will occupy that position full-time at some point this season, so Morgan would enjoy a backup role at best with the Pirates.
Morgan posted decent numbers for the Bucs during his time with the team, producing a TSL of .286/.351/.376 and converting 65 percent of stolen base attempts. But after a year removed from MLB action, there is no telling if he will ever reach that level of productivity again. Morgan and Dickerson seem to be fairly congruent from offensive and defensive perspectives with the deciding point of Morgan being the faster of the two. Travis Snider is a potential power threat, as is Andrew Lambo, and both could also platoon with Gaby Sanchez at first base.
It will be interesting, or at least entertaining, to follow the Nyjer Morgan story over the next couple of weeks leading up to Spring Training to see if he catches on with another team. If he does receive an invite to the Pirates’ camp, fans certainly shouldn’t be disappointed.