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Pittsburgh Pirates Live Up to Name, Rob Washington Nationals

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Active day for Neal Huntington and company.

They send Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to D.C. for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan.

I'm not sure I understand this from the Nationals perspective. Yes, they need defense, but Morgan is basically Ryan Langerhans - a guy they just valued equal to that of Mike Morse - and they have about a dozen outfielders hanging around already. Burnett is nothing special. His 3.06 ERA is shiny out of a relief role, but his FIP is 4.5, his BABIP against is .218, and his strand rate is nearing 80%. Guess which way that ERA is going to go with the worst defense in the league behind him.

Milledge isn't much of a centerfielder, but he's nearly five years younger than Morgan and already an equal hitter. He comes with baggage and tools, whether he puts it all together or not is yet to be seen. As for Hanrahan, his ERA is an awful 7.71. Of course his BABIP is .451 and his strand rate is 62%. Yes, he's given up some liners this season, but his FIP is a solid 3.56, and his tRA 4.30. Hanrahan was going to become a smart buy-low for some team this July, as it turns out, the Pirates beat everyone to the punch.

Morgan is the better player now, but Hanrahan is miles better than Burnett, and Milledge's upside makes him for more appealing to a team not planning on competing this season. The Nationals had enough outfielders already to deal Milledge without getting one in return; throwing in Hanrahan to get an inferior pitcher in return is the glue on the cake.

Neal Huntington sold high and bought low here. It's hard to see a downside for the Pirates.