Is picking up Morse the right move for the O's?
NEW YORK –- Dan Duquette calls him “a big physical man.” Buck Showalter says he’s “a professional hitter.” Adam Jones thinks Michael Morse will fit in with the Orioles because “we’ve got a bunch of weird guys.”
On Friday afternoon, the Orioles Morse from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for outfielder Xavier Avery. The 31-year-old Morse was picked up as an additional right-handed bat, something that the team had been looking for over the past few months.
“He’s somebody we’ve thought about off and on,” Showalter said. “He’s been on the radar.”
Morse will be a free agent at the end of the season. In 2011, Morse hit .303 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs with the Nationals.
“Everybody’s seen what he can do and just imagine if he comes here, and he’s going into a free agent year, he can set up his future nice if he comes here and has a very nice strong September and help us with this playoff push,” Jones said.
Jones and Morse played with Seattle in 2006 and 2007.
This year, Morse was batting .226 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt to get a proven major league run producer like Michael,” Showalter said.
He’ll be a designated hitter for the Orioles, but can play the corner outfield positions and first base.
“He’s got some pop in his bat. He likes the area having been here the last few years. We’ll see if he can help us the last month of the season,” Duquette said.
Duquette also likes that Morse played in the postseason for the Nationals last year. Washington manager Davey Johnson said he thought it was a good acquisition for the Orioles.
""He’s a big impact on the lineup. Huge. At Camden Yards? I shudder to think. That ballpark’s made for him. He’s that right-center hitter and that’s the jet stream. He’s a good fit there," Johnson said before the Nationals' game with the Mets on Friday.
In less than two months, Duquette has acquired pitchers Scott Feldman, Francisco Rodriguez, Bud Norris and Morse.
“It makes me feel good about our farm system. If you look at how we acquired all these players, it’s been from things we’ve done from within,” Showalter said.
The Orioles traded farm system products Jake Arrieta, Nick Delmonico, L.J. Hoes and Avery as well as Pedro Strop for the four acquisitions.
Avery, who is 23, batted .223 in 32 games for the Orioles in 2012. He was recalled for one day in June, but did not appear in a game. Once a highly valued prospect, Avery, who was the team’s second-round draft pick in 2008, was batting .237 for Norfolk.
“Avery had some promise,” Duquette said. “We just needed some additional help down the stretch.”
The Orioles are not sure when Morse will report. He must be added to the roster by 11:59 p.m. Saturday night to be eligible for the postseason roster.
NOTE: The Orioles signed first baseman Dan Johnson, who has played with Oakland, Tampa Bay and the Chicago White Sox, and spent this season with the Yankee’s Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team. Johnson replaces Avery on Norfolk’s roster.