Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Elijah Dukes Optioned To Syracuse
Once again, not wanting to be forced into giving up any player without perusing all opportunities--Interim GM has optioned Elijah Dukes to AAA Syracuse to add Nyjer Morgan to the 25-Man Roster. Our Washington Nationals were one roster spot short when they traded Joel Hanrahan off the active roster yesterday (along with Lastings Milledge) and received Morgan and Sean Burnett in return.
This decision is going to be a good test of Elijah Dukes and his work ethic. Struggling most of the past two months, Elijah has not played well, swung at too many bad pitches and, at times, seemed to not give 100% in the field. Will he take the demotion--as it's intended--to better himself for the future? Or, will Dukes make a lapse in judgment and not take the move seriously? There were some reports that Our Number 34 was sulky about his playing time in DC. What will he think about playing in Syracuse?
We hope Elijah rights himself and returns to The Big Leagues--taking advantage of all of his God-Given talents. Elijah Dukes has the ability to be a supreme Major League Baseball Player. He just hasn't figured it all out yet. Good move by Mike Rizzo to again be bold and make a decision few publicly considered. Our Interim GM is still able to maneuver for potential trades down the line--without sacrificing any current talent on hand.
Here is the press release from Our Washington Nationals:
NATIONALS ADD OUTFIELDER NYJER MORGAN AND LEFTHANDER SEAN BURNETT TO ROSTER, OPTION ELIJAH DUKES TO SYRACUSE
The Washington Nationals today added outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-handed pitcher Sean Burnett to their 25-man roster
and optioned outfielder Elijah Dukes to Syracuse of the Triple-A International League. Nationals Assistant General Manager and
Vice President of Baseball Operations Mike Rizzo made the announcement.
Morgan and Burnett were acquired on Tuesday from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for outfielder Lastings Milledge and
right-handed pitcher Joel Hanrahan.
The 28 year-old Morgan was batting .277 (77-for-278) with six doubles, five triples, two home runs and 27 RBI in 71 games
with Pittsburgh prior to the trade. Thanks to a career-high 29 walks and a .351 on-base percentage, Morgan has scored 39 runs this season, or two fewer than his career total in 86 games entering 2009. His five triples rank among NL (tied for second) and MLB (tied for third) leaders. Morgan paced the Pirates in batting (.322, 66-for-205) against right-handed pitchers in 2009.
Morgan is blessed with the brand of speed that the Nationals were lacking both on the basepaths and in the outfield. Morgan
currently ranks fifth in the National League with 18 stolen bases, and his eight swipes in June are just one less than the nine
registered by Washington in the month. Morgan played primarily left field for the Pirates. He currently leads all MLB left fielders in total chances per 9.0 innings and range factor per game.
Morgan’s patience (3.9 pitches seen per plate appearance) and batting eye (career-best walk ratio of one base on balls per
11.1 plate appearances) have both played a role in his breakout 2009 season.
Burnett, 26, was 1-2 with six holds, one save and a 3.06 ERA (11 ER/32.1 IP) in a team-leading 38 appearances for Pittsburgh
at the time of the trade. A two-time (2001 and 2002) Pirates Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Burnett is 7-8 with 14 holds, one save and a 4.54 ERA (81 ER/160.2 IP) in 109 games (13 starts) spanning three big league seasons with Pittsburgh.
Burnett sports a .200 (22-for-110) batting average against in 2009, and has been nearly equally effective against left-handed
batters (.189, 10-for-53, four walks) as those that hit from the right side (.211, 12-for-57, one home run). Burnett shifted exclusively to relief in 2008 and in 96 appearances since, has neutralized opposing left-handed batters with a stingy .178 (23-for-129) batting average against.
The Pirates’ No. 1 selection (19th overall) in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, Burnett is currently tied for seventh in the National League having allowed only four of 28 inherited baserunners to score. His .345 slugging percentage against is .067 better than the NL average of .412.
Dukes, 25, batted .244 (47-for-193) with 13 doubles, one triple, six home runs and 30 RBI in 57 games with the Nationals.