Tony Plush is trying to return to the big leagues, and Joel Hanrahan is trying to pick up where he left off prior to elbow sugery.
Nyjer Morgan, the talkative former Nationals, Brewers and Pirates center fielder who went by the nickname “Tony Plush,” is attempting to land a major league contract after spending the 2013 season playing in Japan, his agent told ESPN.com.
Morgan hit .294 with 11 homers in 108 games for Yokohama in Japan’s Central League last year.
The speedster got off to a great start with the Nats after coming over along with Sean Burnett in a trade that sent Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge to the Pirates in June of 2009, hitting .351/.396/.435 in 49 games. But his performance dropped off in 2010, when he had an OPS of just .633 and was caught stealing 17 times in 51 chances.
The Nats then sent the talkative Morgan to the Brewers in the spring of 2011, where, like in D.C., he made a positive early impression, hitting .304/.357/.421. His performance again dropped in his second season with a new team, however, as he posted a .239/.302/.308 line in 2012.
He made a few headlines with his mouth and had some negative on-field actions during that season and was granted free agency the following year.
Morgan’s new agent told ESPN.com that six-to-eight teams have expressed interest in signing the 33-year-old outfielder.
I think it’s pretty safe to bet the Nationals aren’t one of them.
Meanwhile, Hanrahan will work out for teams in spring training, according to MLBTradeRumors.com, and will try and score a deal a year after blowing out his elbow early in the season with the Red Sox.
Hanrahan, the former Nats reliever who struggled in D.C. before turning into an All-Star closer in Pittsburgh, posted a 9.82 ERA in nine games with the Red Sox last year before the elbow surgery knocked him out of action for the rest of the season.
Nats general manager Mike Rizzo has always thought highly of Hanrahan and has said that letting the right-hander go when he did is probably his biggest regret since taking over GM duties in D.C.
Many - including myself - believe that Rizzo stuck it out with reliever Henry Rodriguez as long as he did because he didn’t want to end up in another Hanrahan situation, letting another promising hard-throwing right-hander get away. The Nats eventually designated Rodriguez for assignment last summer after he continued to struggle with his control.
What are the chances that Rizzo tries to reunite with Hanrahan now that he’s a free agent and looking to find a job? Better than the odds of Rizzo reuniting with Morgan, I’ll say that.