Nyjer Morgan Doesn't Get It

Posted by Dave Nichols | Friday, September 03, 2010 | , , | 3 comments »

Courtesy of Bill Ladson at MLB.com, here were Nyjer Morgan's comments this afternoon upon learing about his eight-game suspension for "three separate incidents" in the past week, including clipping St. Louis Cardinals catcher Bryan Anderson instead of touching home plate, exchanging expetlives with fans in Miami after bowling over Florida Marlins catcher Brett Hayes -- ending his season with a separated shoulder -- on Tuesday night, and the resultant brawl Wednesday night: 

"Man, they threw the book at me.  What did I do? I feel I haven't done anything. They are blowing this way out of proportion because I'm a hard-nosed player -- because I knocked over a catcher. They throw the ball at me. Come on, what am I supposed to do? I have to take this and try to keep playing.
I feel I haven't done anything wrong expect for playing the game hard and play the game like it's supposed to be played. Wow. I don't know what else to say. It's just a fact that people are blowing this way out of proportion. I don't think you should be suspended for hitting a catcher. ... I don't understand what I did wrong to get an eight-game suspension. They make it seem like I'm Mike Tyson."

Morgan has apparently appealed this current suspension, since he is in tonight's lineup hitting lead-off and he has appealed the pending seven-game suspension for throwing a ball into the stands in Philadelphia, injuring a patron. His original hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, but has been pushed to next Friday, presumably so they can handle both cases.

The league can't appreciate Morgan making these further statements in the press, and it certainly won't help him in the hearing.

Morgan should consider himself fortunate that he "only" got eight games.  Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia got five for his part, and the video shows him throwing a couple punches on the bottom of the pile and then getting tossed around like a rag doll by Adam Dunn.  If Morgan got just three more games than Sanabia, with the Cardinals incident and the yelling at fans incident lumped in, Morgan is lucky he didn't get two weeks.

It amazes me that 1) Morgan appears so clueless to not realize what he's done, unless this is still part of this "underdog tough guy" act; and 2) Why his agent hasn't taken it upon himself to shut his client up.

But I suppose it shouldn't surprise me.  Morgan's immaturity has been on display all season long.

From the glove slamming episode against the Orioles, to pouting about not leading off, to complaining in the press about being put on the disabled list, Morgan has had one episode after another this season where his attitude clouds any benefit from his play.

And that benefit is questionable at best.  He has fashioned a .317 on base percentage this season and once again leads the majors in caught stealing and pickoffs.  While capable of making tremendous highlight reel catches, he all too often takes poor routes, especially on balls over his head.  And throwing has been a nightmare:  missing cut-off men, throwing to the wrong base, and generally displaying a weak, inaccurate arm.

Add it all up, and it seems hardly worth the effort to rehabilitate the player.

But his contract is cheap, and he was the centerpiece of GM Mike Rizzo's "signature" trade thus far in his tenure.  It won't surprise me if the Nats try to make things work with Morgan.  As recently as two days ago, Manager Jim Riggleman said in a prefect world, Morgan is the team's best lead-off hitter.

But it's not a perfect world.  And Morgan just isn't the player he looked like in the six week stretch he had last summer where he batted .351/.396/.435 in 49 games.

Right now, his utter disregard for anything other than "proving himself" makes him a detriment to the team on the field, and an embarrassment off it.


  1. Todd Boss // September 3, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

    Completely agree, and said many similar things a couple days ago here: http://www.nationalsarmrace.com/?p=212

    Problem is; who bats lead off next year if we cut him loose? In an ideal world we sign FA Carl Crawford who slots in perfectly to leadoff/CF and is a like-for-like improvement across the board. In reality he's almost certainly headed to New York (in the latest Yankee flaunting of baseball's lack of a salary cap structure).

    Perhaps the answer is an Espinosa/Desmond combination setting the table for Zimm/Dunn (cross your fingers) and Willingham. I'd take that. Espinosa has a .365 minor league OBP figure (though lower this year as his power increased).

  2. Dave Nichols // September 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM  

    Todd, almost anyone could lead off and be of more use to the team than Morgan has been this season. Espinosa's MiLB OBP suggests he could be up for it, but I know Riggs wouldn't put a rookie in that spot.

    there's plenty of time to decide that though.

  3. Bob D // September 3, 2010 at 11:24 PM  

    Great comments you hit it right on the head - Njyer just doesn't get it.