I regularly hear from Orioles fans disappointed that the team hasn’t done more this off-season. Michael Morse’s apparent availability has done little to change that skepticism, and it probably shouldn’t.
Dan Duquette is more than capable of pulling off a risky trade. Remember the outcry when the team traded Jeremy Guthrie last February for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom?
It turned out to be one of the keys to their season. Would a Morse trade be the same?
In a conference call to discuss Adam LaRoche’s re-signing, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo insisted the team didn’t have to deal Morse.
While Washington doesn’t have to trade Morse, it doesn’t make sense to keep a high-priced ($6.75 million) player on the bench. If the Nationals kept him, he could spell LaRoche at first, Jayson Werth or Bryce Harper in the outfield as well as be Davey Johnson’s daily option to pinch hit. Morse would be great insurance in case or injuries, but for now he’s a luxury.
The Orioles and Nationals have never made a deal in the eight years they’ve shared the region. While Duquette said at the Winter Meetings, that shouldn’t be an impediment, Rizzo might rather trade him to Texas, Cleveland or Seattle, from where he came.
If Morse had a big year for the Orioles and the Nationals suffer a key injury that might reflect poorly. Morse would be an ideal fit in Baltimore, but he has just a year to go before free agency, and an extension could get complicated.
Morse has no shortage of suitors, and the Orioles don’t have terrific prospects to trade beyond their untouchables.
Fans, don’t start picturing Morse as the Orioles’ first baseman or DH just yet, but you knew that all along.