Joe Morgan issued a short statement to address ESPN declining to renew his contract after 20 years as the lead analyst on “Sunday Night Baseball”:
I was not surprised by ESPN’s decision. They have been taking “Sunday Night Baseball” in a different direction the last two years and I was not comfortable with that direction.
And that was it, which makes it pretty clear that Morgan was pushed out and isn’t happy.
As for the part about the “different direction” that Morgan wasn’t comfortable with for the past two years, as Richard Sandomir of the New York Times notes it seems pretty obvious that he’s referring to the addition of a second analyst in the broadcast booth, first with Steve Phillips in 2009 and then with Orel Hershiser this season.
Sandomir reports that Hershiser is expected to take over as the lead analyst in 2011, with Dan Shulman replacing Jon Miller as the play-by-play announcer. So far at least there’s been no talk about a potential third person in the booth, so perhaps that “different direction” ESPN took was mostly about having another voice besides Morgan.
Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that the Orioles and Diamondbacks have agreed in principle to a trade involving outfielder Michael Bourn. The trade is in the process of being finalized. It is not yet known what the Diamondbacks are receiving in return.
Bourn will be the second outfielder the Orioles have acquired on Wednesday, as the club also claimed Drew Stubbs off waivers from the Rangers.
With rosters expanding on Thursday, the Orioles are making a concerted effort to bolster the team’s outfield depth. Both Stubbs and Bourn are eligible for the Orioles’ postseason roster if the club makes it.
Bourn, 33, hit .261/.307/.362 with 21 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, 43 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 358 plate appearances.
The Orioles have claimed outfielder Drew Stubbs off release waivers from the Rangers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The club designated for assignment pitcher Kyle Lobstein, whom they acquired from the Pirates earlier on Wednesday, to make roster space for Stubbs, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com reports.
The Rangers designated Stubbs for assignment last week. After clearing waivers, Stubbs refused an assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, so the Rangers released him on Monday.
Stubbs, 31, has taken only 67 plate appearances this season — 42 with the Braves, 25 with the Rangers — as he missed a lot of time between mid-May and mid-August with a sprained left toe.
With rosters expanding, the veteran Stubbs will simply add to the Orioles’ outfield depth.