The Pirates, who have pushed to restock a thin farm system by making numerous trades in the past year, get Milledge and reliever Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals for the fleet Morgan and left-hander Sean Burnett, a former first-round draft pick.
Just as they did last season by dealing Jason Bay and Xavier Nady, the Pirates have traded two of their three starting outfielders before Aug. 1. They sent former NL All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth to the Braves on June 4 for pitcher Charlie Morton and two other prospects.
Though rumored for several days, the Nationals trade is somewhat surprising because the Pirates dealt Morgan -- who turns 28 on Thursday -- less than halfway through a promising first season as a starter. He is hitting .277 with 2 homers and 27 RBIs, only four fewer than No. 3 hitter Freddy Sanchez, and has 18 steals, although he has been thrown out 10 times.
Milledge, a former top Mets prospect, has played in only seven games with Washington while spending part of the season rehabilitating a broken right ring finger that required surgery in May. He is expected to join Triple A Indianapolis before being called up by Pittsburgh later this month.
Milledge, 23, has more power than Morgan -- he has 25 homers in 897 career at-bats -- but has been bothered frequently by injury problems that include a broken right hand, sore foot and groin strain. He hit .268 with 14 homers, 61 RBIs and 24 doubles in 138 games last season, earning him a spot on the cover of the Nationals' media guide this season.
Still, Milledge was a major disappointment to the Nationals, who dealt two starters -- catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church -- to acquire Milledge from the Mets in November 2007.
The right-handed Hanrahan, 27, is 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in 34 games -- he was demoted from the closer's job -- and has a 5.30 ERA in 115 career games. Burnett, the Pirates' top pick in 2000, is 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 38 games and has pitched in 96 games the last two seasons.