(Picture via Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE)
Orioles’ fans (me included) are dying for this team to make a move to build on last year’s momentum. So far all we’ve gotten is a fourth catcher in Luis Martinez and a below average outfielder in Trayvon Robinson. Not exactly game changing moves. However, that could all change with Orioles and Nationals in discussion about a possible trade for first basemen/outfielder Michael Morse.
Morse could provide a solid bat in the middle of the Orioles line-up. Solidifying a 3-4-5 of Jones, Morse, Wieters. Dangerous to say the least. However, before you start calling for the Orioles to give up Brian Matusz (rumored) and prospects for Morse you might want to consider a few things:
1) Walk-away year. Morse is in the last year of his two year deal. Part of the agreement could be him signing a long term deal with the Orioles. However, if you go into the season without a contract there is no guarantee he resigns. Not sure this team is in the position to take on someone like Morse as a rental.
2) He’s no spring chicken. At the start of the season he’ll be 31. Do the Orioles want to give-up on 25 year old Brian Matusz (again, rumored) for the 31 year old Morse?
3) Injuries. Since 2006 Morse has had the following injuries:
- Torn medial meniscus (2006)
- Torn labrum (2008)
- Strained lat muscle (missed start of the 2012 season)
- Torn cuff and bone bruise (2012)
4) Steroids. Suspended 10 days for steroids in 2006. Apparently Morse claimed it was a result of him taking steroids in 2003. I’m not here to argue that point. However, it’s something in his background that needs to be considered.
5) DH. Major league sources have come out recently saying that Morse strongly opposes being a DH. Even though it seems like a perfect fit. With that in mind if he’s traded to a AL team Morse might be looking to sign with a NL team once he’s contract ends to guarantee he plays in the field. Also last thing you want is someone making $6.5m+ displeased with his playing situation.
6) Defensive struggles. Morse leaves something to be desired defensively (to put it nicely). All you need to know about Morse defensively can be found in his UZR (Ultimate zone rating: the number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs and error runs combined (via fangraphs.com). In 2011 when Morse played 146 games he had a UZR of -5.1 at 1B and -7.9 in LF. Not good….
Something to think about when asking yourself what Michael Morse is worth…