Will Tony Plush's act play in Japan? That's one of the many questions to be answered after learning that Nyjer Morgan has signed a one-year contract with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan's Central League. The Associated Press reports that the BayStars will pay Morgan $1.6 million and plan to bat him third.
If the move isn't accompanied by a camera crew out to make a reality show, they're seriously missing an opportunity. Despite having his own share of critics, few personalities in the majors can be as entertaining as Morgan when his debonaire alter ego, Tony Plush, appears. The last we heard from Plush, he said his Twitter account had been hacked after some awkward personal information appeared on it. Hopefully that got cleared up.
On the other hand, perhaps Morgan needs a year away to collect himself and just think about baseball.
After being a key part of the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff season in 2011, Morgan slumped this past season, batting .239/.302/.308 (ouch) with 12 stolen bases in 322 plate appearances. He has developed a habit of having one good year, then a bad one. Morgan's timing was bad, as his down year came in his free-agency year. With even Michael Bourn finding it hard to get an agreeable offer on the free-agent market this winter, apparently Morgan's best opportunity lied overseas.
And then there's Morgan's reputation, which has been hurt not necessarily by Tony Plush but by Morgan letting his temper get the best of him.
Morgan turns 33 in July, so it's possible we've seen the last of him in the majors. Even if he makes good in Japan, and they don't throw him out for acting too strangely, he might want to stay. Establish himself, put down some roots, chill. The lack of ice hockey in Japan worries me for him, though. Anyway, if this is the last of Plush, it was fun. No matter what the haters say. (Even if they're kind of right.)