The Nyjer Morgan era in a Nationals uniform has officially come to an end.
Washington traded the outfielder Sunday morning to the Brewers for infielder Cutter Dykstra, son of former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra, and cash considerations.
Dykstra, who ranked fourth in the Single-A Midwest League with a .416 on-base percentage and a .312 average, was a second-round pick of the Brewers in 2008 and is still just 21 years old.
It was the unceremonious end to a tumultuous 1 1/2 seasons in Washington for Morgan, who hit .253 with 24 RBI and 34 stolen bases in 2010, but was much maligned for attitude issues on the field that reached their apex with a bench clearing brawl in Florida at the end of last year.
Morgan arrived in camp this spring pledging to have put those issues behind him and many in the organization sensed a renewed focus in the 30-year-old. But it became clear late this spring that the Nationals were favoring Rick Ankiel for the starting job in center field. With Morgan unlikely to be a happy, productive bench player and, at 30, unlikely to develop more in the minor leagues — despite still having an option — the Nationals deemed Morgan expendable.
He didn’t help his cause by telling MLB.com on Friday that he was sure he would be with another team by Opening Day, a prophecy that became true Sunday morning when he packed his bags inside the Nationals’ clubhouse before the team’s game with the Marlins.
Dykstra was drafted as a shortstop out of high school but the Brewers moved him to center field in the 2009, with somewhat disastrous results. They put him back in the infield, at second base, for the 2010 season where he excelled for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, scoring 66 runs, hitting 10 doubles, five triples and five home runs while stealing 27 bases and driving in 39 runs in 100 games.
He will go to the Nationals’ minor league complex for the next week to be evaluated while they decide which level he will start at this season. Single-A Potomac could be the likely landing spot.
For more on Dykstra, and his life as the son of a former all-star, give this story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel a read.