Thursday, September 9, 2010, 2:25 p.m.
By Holden Kushner
What do Adam Dunn and Nyjer Morgan have in common? Neither player will be a member of the 2011 Washington Nationals.
After Morgans numerous on-field meltdowns and poor performance at the plate, Mike Rizzo cant justify putting him on next years roster. Morgan shouldnt be allowed on the field again this season. Hes become a danger to himself and his team.
Deep down inside, Morgan really seems to be a good person. Right now hes caught up in a downward spiral that forced him to be suspended for 15 games and put his teammates in the middle of a brawl with the Florida Marlins.
Lets not forget that the speedy centerfielder has just a .316 on base percentage, which is unacceptable for a leadoff hitter. Hes also been caught stealing 16 times in 49 attempts.
The front office probably wont pony up a three-year deal to Adam Dunn, even though they should. The only other free agent first baseman available this offseason thats worth three years and 40 million dollars is Carlos Pena. As Ive stated numerous times before, Pena is the only viable free agent option over the next two seasons that will be productive, available and willing to play for this team.
Which veteran with an expiring contract should be back? Lets start and finish with Josh Willingham.
The Hammer was on pace for his first 25 home run season after blasting 24 in 2009. At 31 years old next season, hes in the prime of his prime. With Willingham coming off injury, he should be affordable for his production over the next three seasons as Washingtons starting left fielder and fifth-place hitter.
For the 2011 Nationals, the younger, the better. Well see lots of Zimmerman, Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos, Storen, Zimmerman and hopefully as some point, Strasburg. Mix in a Josh Willingham and Pudge Rodriguez and this franchise can get one step closer to respectability.