It appears as though the Seattle Mariners will be the winners of the Michael Morse trade sweepstakes. Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal reported that the Mariners were on the verge of acquiring the right handed 1B/DH (I use that 1B loosely) from the Washington Nationals, and the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore reports that it’s done. The Nationals will receive pitching prospect A.J. Cole and an additional prospect plus a PTBNL from the Oakland Athletics in a three-team deal, which will also see John Jaso shipped to the Bay Area.
Morse became expendable after the Nationals brought Adam LaRoche back on a two-year, $24 million deal. Morse hit .291/.321/.470 with 18 home runs in 430 plate appearances last season, but was limited to 103 games due to a right lat muscle injury. The 30-year old enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 in which he hit .303/.360/.550 with 31 home runs.
Morse spent parts of four seasons with the Mariners between 2005 and 2009 after he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Freddy Garcia trade. The Mariners eventually flipped him to the Nationals for Ryan Langerhans.
With Morse, the Mariners grab themselves a power right handed bat that could potentially reap the benefit of the altered dimensions set for Safeco Field next season. The biggest shift in distance to the wall is set for left-centre where the fence will come in 17 feet. Morse demonstrated excellent power to left and centre in 2011 when he had his big year, but hit 10 of his 18 home runs in 2012 to right field.
Morse has one year remaining on his current contract and will earn $6.75 million. It’s likely that he’ll see significant time at DH while the Mariners allow Jesus Montero to play catcher as Mike Zunino awaits his opportunity to usurp.