“His overall minor league numbers were a sabermetric nightmare,” a Nats scout said. “That was one time we had to squash ’em and just do the deal.”
Instead, Nats scouts thought they saw a potential power hitter who was playing out of position at shortstop and needed to think (and swing) for power, not try to fit a middle-infield prototype.
By this time next year, best case, the Nats may have two Jayson Werth-level slugging stars in their outfield, the one they paid $126 million and the one named Morse that they stole for Langerhans.
Or, worst case, Morse may not capitalize on his chance to be an Ibanez. And Werth could be the next overvalued Vernon Wells. The latter outcome would leave a cloud over Rizzo. So there’s only a big chunk of the franchise’s future at stake.
On Wednesday, Werth followed Morse’s single with his first home run in more than a month. In that game, Werth also had two other 400-foot doubles that would have given him a three-homer day in most other parks, including those in Washington, Baltimore and Philly.
Morse’s home run signature is to smash himself on the top of his helmet with his right hand as he rounds the bases. As Werth crossed the plate, finally back on the home run train, Morse greeted him with exactly that cheerful blow to the head. So, Werth slugged himself in the noggin, too.
Then they ran off together, two 6-5, late-blooming bombers, one wearing No. 28, the other No. 38. Their pasts symmetrical, their futures linked, they sure looked an awful lot alike.