The Cleveland Indians have reportedly signed veteran outfielder Nyjer Morgan to a minor league contract. This report is confirmed by ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The deal comes with a non-roster invite to training camp.
Morgan is one of the more infamous players in recent baseball history, known mostly for his alter ego, Tony Plush, as well as his play within the 2011 and 2012 Major League playoffs. In September 2011, when Morgan was with the Milwaukee Brewers, over 43,000 fans attended “Tony Plush Rally Towel Night” at Miller Park. Morgan made headlines with his exuberant lingo and an aggressive style of play that he referred to as “Plush-damentals.” He would later be the man who advanced the team to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1982 with a walk-off single.
Unfortunately, it would be that same year where Morgan taunted the St. Louis Cardinals, referring to future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols as “Alberta” on Twitter. It would be not long after that Pujols would hit four home runs in a 12-3 romping of the team that would ultimately be sent packing.
Morgan, 33, is a .280 career hitter (with excellent splits against right-handed pitching) with 117 stolen bases in parts of six seasons with Pittsburgh, Washington and Milwaukee. His most productive season came in 2009, when he hit .307 with 42 steals for the Pirates and Nationals. He hit .294 with 11 home runs in 108 games with Yokohama in Japan’s Central League in 2013.
A speedy, slap-hitting outfielder with nary a filter, Morgan won’t make many fans among baseball puritans who live by book and cherish the unwritten rules. While the signing can be categorized as low-risk with potential reward, it could also morph into one of the better story lines to come out of Goodyear, Arizona this spring.
(AP Photo/Jim Prisching)