Since centerfielder Nyjer Morgan was forced to the disabled list earlier this month, the Nationals have experimented on a full-time basis with what could be the outfield for the 2011 season. Except for the odd day of rest for each player, Washington has started Josh Willingham, Roger Bernadina, and Michael Morse in left, center, and right field, respectively. With Morgan's abysmal offense (.261/.322/.322) and subpar defensive performance, the Nationals would be wise to try this more potent offensive trio in Morgan's absence.
Morgan's limitations appear to make him better suited as a fourth outfielder; however, it appears that the Nationals may have other plans in mind. Ben Goessling of MASN has reported "strong organizational interest in Carl Crawford, an acquisition that would undoubtedly be viewed as a coup of epic proportions in comparison to Morgan's everyman (or worse) production. Crawford, the Tampa Bay Rays' star leftfielder, is a year younger than Morgan has career averages of .295/.336/.440. Not only does Crawford present better numbers across the board, but he also is an even more accomplished base stealer and defender. Crawford is batting .295, has 12 home runs on the season, and has 39 stolen bases in the exponentially more competitive American League East.
As attractive as Crawford is as a player, if the likelihood of his appearance in Washington seems like a pipe dream, that's probably because it is. Already earning $10 million in salary this season, sources indicate that Crawford could command $15 million annually once his contract expires at the end of the 2010 campaign. With deep-pocketed suitors like the Yankees and Red Sox vying for his services, the Nationals - as was the case in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes nearly two years ago - seem likely to be on the outside looking in once again.
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