Report: Mariners Acquire Morse In 3-Team Swap


Michael Morse, a big right-handed bat the Rangers have been linked to this offseason — even if it was only wishful thinking from the fan base — has been traded from the Nationals to the Mariners as part of a three team trade. As per MLB Trade Rumors, Seattle will send catcher John Jaso to Oakland, and the Athletics will ship off RHP A.J. Cole to the Nationals.

Morse, 30, has spent the last four years in the Nationals organization, with whom he hit 67 home runs in roughly 1,300 plate appearances. He’s known as a large, hulking bat in the middle of the lineup, though his bat is basically the only tool he possesses that translates onto the field. His defense is atrocious according to Fangraphs’ UZR, where — as a 1B/OF — he’s cost his team 28.4 runs in the last three years alone.

He’s basically a guy mainstream traditionalist fans would consider a good player before the new wave of baseball knowledge came into effect. Damn those Sabermetricians.

Along with his pretty solid power, and his not so so-so prowess to man a position, another alarming set of stats comes by way of his strikeout-to-walk ratio. Throughout his career, he’s posted a 5.9% walk rate, or basically a walk every 17 plate appearances. That’s well below average both at 1B and for corner outfielders. He also totes with him a lifetime 21.8% strikeout rate, or about a K every plate appearances. Not so good.

That’s the main reason he wouldn’t have fit in Arlington. He doesn’t mesh with the current makeup of the lineup.

Aside Morse, the real winners of today’s trade are none other than last year’s AL West Champions, the Oakland A’s. They acquired the left-handed power of the now former catcher of the Mariners, John Jaso. Last year Jaso, 29, produced a triple slash line of .276/.394/.456, a robust 143 wRC+ — elite for a catcher, even if it was only in 108 games. Converse to Morse, Jaso actually has a lifetime walk rate of 13.3%, with a K rate at only 12.2%.

After ascertaining Chris Young for Cliff Pennington, and now Jaso for A.J Cole, Oakland has gotten their hands on two positional upgrades at minimal cost. All of a sudden, it appears, just like in 2012, that if Oakland’s young rotation can measure up to its competition in 2013, the A’s will be a force to be reckoned with in the West.

More to come.