Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ryan Langerhans for Mike Morse

Obviously this isn't a trade that's going to ring out in the history books for either franchise, but it's a bit of a head-scratcher.

Rizzo's been sending every indication that this priority is upgrading the defense, especially in the outfield and bringing in more good "clubhouse guys." Based on that, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes all seem like bad fits.

Meanwhile, Ryan Langerhans seems like a particularly good fit, at least as a fifth outfielder. He's a career +18.0 UZR/150 in LF and +25.8 in right. He's a patient hitter with good on base skills, evidenced by the .380 OBP he put up in 139 PAs last year and .371 in 242 plate appearances with Syracuse this year. We don't have room for him now, but if we're about to ship off a corner outfielder or three, Langerhans would be the best choice to bring up.

Morse on the other hand doesn't provide much if anything more than we already have in Kory Casto and Pete Orr. He doesn't have the glove for the middle infield anymore, and he doesn't have the bat to be an asset at the corners. He rarely walks (career MLB 7.1% walk rate) and has basically no power (career .097 ISO power).

I guess there's some value in depth, and we don't have much in the infield organizationally, but I doubt very much that Morse could provide even replacement-level value at any position on the diamond.

18 comments:

Souldrummer said...

I agree with you that this is a hard move to figure out. Does it make more sense from Syracuse's perspective than from the Nationals' perspective? In other words, given the satisfactory AAAA outfield of Patterson, Padilla, and Maxwell, do they feel that a better offensive option in the infield is an upgrade on either Kasto or Orr.

Alternatively, could this be some kind of mercy move for Langerhans to get something of value for a guy who has been a good soldier?

We've already seen that they value Patterson and Maxwell ahead of him by their call up choices in the face of injury. If that's the case maybe they felt it's best to move him.

But I'm with you, a good defensive player whose willing to take a walk would seem like a valuable insurance policy.

John O'Connor said...

I agree with Souldrummer's supposition that this might be a "mercy move for Langerhans." Whether it's right or not, Langerhans didn't figure in the Nats' plans at all. I understand he's going stright to Seattle's major league team. If a guy has no prospect of contributing in the majors here, the humane thing is to trade him for virtually anything that might better fit management's plans.

Good luck to Ryan.

Will said...

I guess we're slowly making up for the Vidro deal.

Also, I'm not sure how you can say, "Rizzo's been sending every indication that this priority is upgrading the defense, especially in the outfield and bringing in more good "clubhouse guys.""
The dude's below average defensively at every position he's played except for a handful of games at first and in right. On top of that, he's not your prototypical "clubhouse guy".

Steven said...

Hendo--Morse can't play SS anymore. I really do think Pete Orr/Kory Casto is a pretty good comp in what we're getting here.

Steven said...

As for the assumption that Langerhans doesn't fit into our short-term plans, that's only true if we're not about to deal a corner OF or 3. I don't think it's right to say that Max and Patterson are ahead of Langerhans necessarily--Ryan's not a CF. He's a plus defender in a corner, but below average in CF. But let's say you trade Willingham for a CF, it might make sense to drop Belliard and replace him with Langerhans, making AG and Wille your backup IF.

Rich said...

With the benefit of hindsight, I think one can safely say that the assumption that Langerhans doesn't fit into our short term plans is 100% correct.

John O'Connor said...

Given the transactions so far this year, I think it's safe to say the front office views Patterson and Maxwell ahead of Langerhans in the pecking order, and if a corner outfielder got moved, I assume one of them would be called up and Willie Harris would get at bats in left field when Patterson or Mexwell played.

Again, whether Langerhans should be so buried in terms of the nats plans isn't the issue. He is so buried and moving him along where he can get a chance is the decent thing to do.

Dave Nichols said...

they are clearing room at the triple-A level for the return of Milledge.

Steven said...

So that they can trade him? Dave--don' you think that if they deal Milledge, and one of Willingham and Dunn that they'll want someone like Langerhans? There's a significant step down from Langerhans to Patterson, and Maxwell needs to be playing every day.

Mr. Mustache said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Mustache said...

Rizzo said the deal was a favor to Langerhans. See the Nats Journal. What is it with the organization doing favors for everyone? (Meathook)

Seems like Morse can play an average 1B and RF (albeit severely limited sample sizes). For a guy who has twice tested positive for steroids, you have to wonder how where his 10 HR have come from. He hasn't shown ANY power since like 2004 (when he was juicing).

Steven said...

The theory that this is a favor to Langerhans rests on the premise that he had no future here.

It's that premise that I'm questioning. If we're about to ship out a couple corner OFs Langerhans is the guy we should be looking to fill in as the 5th OF.

Ben said...

Only if you figure that Bowden is going to be dong the trading, and that any other outfielders brought in will be toolsey guys who can't defend. Langerhans doesn't bring much more to the table that Bernardina and Morgan. If Rizzo get's his Christmas wish and signs a long term solution in the outfield he suddenly is behind our new CF'er, Berndarina and Willie Harris.

I think this i a very decent trade. If we get Morgan.

Anonymous said...

I also think that the business of repairing the Nats image in the league among players makes this worthwhile. Yes it is a business first and foremost, but if you have no plans for Langerhans (and Steve I know that is your point) then it makes sense to get some general goodwill out of the guy and move him when it is good for him.

Souldrummer said...

Dave - "they are clearing room at the triple-A level for the return of Milledge."

I always forget about Milledge. That makes sense that they may want to clear room for Milledge if they want to see what they have in Milledge as they consider trading him for Milledge.

If you read the Seattle links, they are ecstatic that they have gotten rid of Morse and signed Langerhans.

Steven, I think half the battle for you may be the lack of SABR sense in their handling of the outfield. The Dunn/Dukes/Willingham outfield was egregiously bad. Patterson was offensive. Keeping Maxwell up so that he could develop his strikeout swing was screwy. The length of time it took them to realize that Willie Harris has value [probably more than Morgan in my opinion] bothers us.

It's hard to understand what they're doing.

Waiting for your thoughts on the Martis move btw, Steven. :-)

Mr. Mustache said...

Would you deal Milledge for Rios and his contract? I would and Rios would be playing CF on the Nats.

Deacon Drake said...

Operating under the premise that Rizzo does know what he is doing. Having watched Billy Beane work for more than a decade, the theory is that one move should set up the next two.

With this, they opened up their outfield surplus a little by trading away a player with ML experience for player with ML experience. Now the Nats have room in AAA for an outfield bat should they want to stash one.

Now they also have a surplus of middle infielders. Morse has hit in Safeco before, so the assumption is that he will hit better than anyone except Guzman. Guzman is posting a fairly ridiculous career year, is passing his prime, and is due an extra 8 M next year. If someone is maxing his value right now, it may not be Nick Johnson... Cristian Guzman may get tossed around this month.

* I don't trust Morse, Hernandez, or any of the guys at Syracuse, but if Guzman can bring two solid prospects (better than Morse) from a contender desperate for SS help, sweet. Plus, they may be looking for someone just to keep the seat warm for Danny Espinoza.

kevin bradley said...

Fast forward to 2012....