Michael Morse is finally headed home to the Seattle Mariners, the team that he made his MLB debut for in 2005. The Mariners had recently tried to acquire Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks only to see Upton block the trade.
Morse comes back to the Mariners in a three-team trade that saw the Mariners ship John Jaso to the Oakland Athletics while the Washington Nationals receive pitching prospect A.J. Cole, whom the Nationals had traded to the A’s in the trade for Gio Gonzalez prior to last season, pitching prospect Blake Treinen, and a player to be named from the A’s.
This deal is a huge boost for the Mariners who needed to add some offense to an offense that seemed completely devoid of it last year. Morse will join Jason Bay, a reclamation project from the New York Mets, Raul Ibanez, and Kendrys Morales who was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels.
Adding Morse, Ibanez, and Morales coupled with the trade of Jaso means the starting catching job is Jesus Montero’s to lose. Morse will likely play in the outfield while Morales splits time at DH, the outfield, and at first base.
Several team had called the Nationals about Morse but the Mariners were able to pry him away and only gave up a catcher who figured to be a backup this season. Not a bad haul for GM Jack Zduriencik who needed to add offense in the worst way. Seattle had even brought the fences in in hopes of jump-starting their bats.
Morse isn’t a cure-all for the offense but he certainly should help improve a lineup that scored only 619 runs last season. Perhaps the added protection could jump-start Justin Smoak’s bat, something the Mariners have been waiting for since shipping Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers a couple of seasons ago. Smoak is still young enough to turn it around and this could be his last chance.
Although Morse is no Upton, he isn’t a bad consolation prize.