Logan Morrison
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Logan Morrison to undergo season-ending surgery

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Twins first baseman Logan Morrison is done for the season. The team placed him on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a left hip impingement, for which he’ll have to undergo season-ending surgery sometime in the near future. The expected recovery period is anywhere from 4-8 months, which makes a potential comeback impossible in the remaining seven weeks of the 2018 season.

It’s not clear what triggered the injury in the first place, but Morrison told reporters that he had been battling the pain since spring, if not longer. There’s a chance he’ll be able to make a full recovery by the start of spring training in 2019, but it’s not yet clear whether the Twins will be inclined to exercise his $8 million option this fall. Even taking his injury into account, the 30-year-old infielder slashed just .186/.276/.368 with 15 home runs, a .644 OPS and -0.7 fWAR through 359 plate appearances, by far and away his worst output since the start of his career in 2010. Whether he can get back to the .246-average, 38-home run levels of his 2017 campaign with the team remains to be seen.

In a corresponding move, top pitching prospect Kohl Stewart has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester and will take Morrison’s place on the roster. Per MLB Pipeline, the 23-year-old Stewart ranked 28th out of the team’s top 30 prospects in 2018 and managed a combined 4.47 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 through 108 2/3 innings at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this year.

Nationals’ sell-off a vindication for Dusty Baker

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The Nationals threw in the towel on Tuesday, trading second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and 1B/OF Matt Adams to the Cardinals. The club also placed outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Bryce Harper on revocable waivers but took him back. The Nats’ sell-off is a vindication for former manager Dusty Baker, let go after the Nationals failed to advance past the NLDS for a second straight year.

Baker had roughly the same team current manager Dave Martinez did. It was arguably worse, considering he never wrote Juan Soto‘s name on the lineup card. The 2018 squad, sans Baker, has been marked by mutiny and underachievement. While failing to reach the NLCS in Baker’s two years was disappointing, he took them to Game 5 in the NLDS both years as well as 95 and 97 regular season wins. Right now, Martinez’s squad has a winning percentage more than 100 points lower than Baker’s last year. They’re on pace to go 80-82, which would be their first sub-.500 season since 2011.

Baker has always had an undeserved bad rap. He was, correctly, blamed for the Cubs’ demise, due somewhat to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior falling apart, ostensibly from overuse. However, after his stint in Chicago, Baker took the lowly Reds from the bottom of the NL Central to the top in two years between 2008-10. Then he took the Nationals, which had won a meager 83 games in 2015 and had made the playoffs just twice since moving from Montreal, to two consecutive NLDS Game 5’s.

Not much changed from 2017 to ’18. Martinez inherited Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, and Koda Glover, among others. But for one reason or another — injuries, admittedly, make up one reason — almost all of these players are having worse years under Martinez than under Baker. Describing the 2018 team to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Baker said, “They’re together, but they’re separate.”

Is it strictly Baker that would make the difference? No, of course not. But the Nationals organization seems unwilling or unable to address issues that may extend into the front office. The Nats seem happy to go through a new manager every couple of years and hope that fixes all that ails them. Since Frank Robinson’s five years at the helm from 2002-06, Manny Acta managed two and a half years, Jim Riggleman one and a half, Davey Johnson two, Matt Williams two, Baker two. Maybe the problem was never the manager. Perhaps the problem is the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo.