Mariners Insider

Some thoughts and reactions to the Mike Morse trade

Post by Ryan Divish on Jan. 17, 2013 at 10:39 am with 7 Comments »
January 17, 2013 5:18 pm


It’s been about nine hours since the Mariners traded for Mike Morse and sent John Jaso to the Oakland A’s in a three-team trade.

Here’s my story on the trade with some good quotes from Morse and Jack Zduriencik.

My first reaction to it? Well, after the sheer panic of looking at my phone and seeing eight missed calls and 12 texts, I guess my next reaction was a shoulder shrug. Maybe a “hey, I got something to write about for a few days.”

There seems to be this need for everyone to determine whether a trade is good or bad or otherwise in the moments after it has occurred.

And in some cases like the Erik Bedard trade it’s easy to have an opinion.  The Mariners gave up five guys, including their best hitting prospect and a top pitching prospect  for a moody starter, with a history of injuries, who had pitched more than 150 innings only twice in his career. It’s easy to have an opinion on something that dramatic.

But this is 1-for-1 trade with two major league players, who have some definite strengths and also some glaring weaknesses. The Mariners did not give up any of their prized prospects in this deal.

Obviously, Jaso was one of the most productive hitters on the Mariners last season. A cynic would point out that isn’t the highest compliment in the world.  Still, Jaso put together solid at-bats understood how to draw walks, while rarely striking out. He also had knack for hitting in big situations. There is value in that. Defensively, his catching skills are considered below average in almost every regard by scouts. Is he functional behind the place? Yes. He gives good effort. And I would rather watch him catch 100 games before one Miguel Olivo game. But with Jesus Montero on the roster, Jaso was never going to be more than a part-time catcher, while stealing some at-bats at DH. Jaso is a good hitter and will be missed, but let’s not turn him into Ted Williams.

Morse, who used to be a part of this organization before being traded for Ryan Langerhans in 2009 (a whole other dissertation for another time), returns as an expected middle of the order threat to hit behind Kendrys Morales. He has power. More power than I ever thought he would possess after seeing him play over 100 games with the Rainiers. In 2011, he hit .301 with 31 homers with 95 RBI and a .910 OPS. Last year, he missed 50 games and still hit .291 with 18 homers and 62 RBI. The numbers might have been better. But basically Morse missed all of spring training and only got 23 plate appearances in his minor league rehab before being activated. Consequently, he struggled early as he tried to find his swing and rhythm. Hit .217 over the first 21 games with one homer and 7 RBIs. In the next 83 games, Morse hit .310 with 18 homers and 55 RBI.

So you have one guy who gets on base at a high rate and doesn’t strike out, and you trade him for another guy who hits homers strikes out more and doesn’t get on base as much. And neither of them is particularly good defensively at their main positions. It doesn’t completely even out. But the Mariners are searching for power and every day player. Jaso, despite some people’s protest, isn’t an everyday player.

Perhaps the biggest difference is contract status. Jaso is under club control for three more years. Morse will be a free agent after this season. Morse could be gone after this season. Heck, he could be gone at midseason if he is hitting and the Mariners are out of it.

Some people will point out that the Mariners have a glut of not great defensive left field types – Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Morse – along with several 1B/DH types – Justin Smoak, Mike Carp, Kendrys Morales and Morse. It will sort its way out. It usually does. Injuries, lack of performance and other roster moves will make it work.

I really don’t know what to say about the trade. I can see why people wanted to keep Jaso. I can see why the Mariners traded for Morse. I have no outrage. I have no joy. I have no more words about this ..

From around the Marinersphere ….

From the Nationals perspective ….

What the A’s have to say ...

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Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. Morse is a good player. All of a sudden, Mariner fans shouldn’t be so mad about their offense. It may not be great, but it no longer sucks.

  2. bbnate420 says:

    You’d never know that reading most of the posts around here, BobbyK. If Montero and Ackley make a significant improvement next season, not all that unlikely to imagine, then they could even dare I say be an average offense. We’ll see how the new Safeco plays into this as well.

  3. Bobby, most Mariners fans will find something to be upset about. Fans have been screaming for hitting for the last 5 years or so. Most years before that fans were screaming for pitching (esp. when Junior, Edgar, and Buhner were all in their prime and Big Unit was our only starter worth mentioning). I like the job that Z has done, but us Mariners fans don’t have a ton of experience in having a front office that actually has a plan. Kind of like the Hawks, in the years after the SB and before PC/JS.

  4. Palerydr says:

    I have been a fan since the M’s started playing so forgive me if my patience is wearing thin. I like Jack and what he’s doing especially with the farm system however, I want to see some tangible results on the field and I want to see them this year. If I were Jack I would add Bourn. I would sign him to a 3 year deal with a team option for a 4th. You have to deal with Borass so you’re gonna have to overpay even though the market appears weak for his services. He would be the leadoff hitter we could use as well as play close to GG caliber defense in CF. He would also give us insurance when Guti gets his annual inj.

    Signing Bourn gives us Bay, Carp, Guti, Iabnez, Saunders, Thames, and Wells fighting it out for 4 outfield spots as we currently don’t have a utility INF capable of playing OF. Looking at it from my perspective I see Bay, Carp, Thames and Wells as the guys on the outside looking in. Personally I would package Carp, Wells and Thames with a pitching prospect for a decent starter and SS prospect.

  5. Figgins’ career numbers were better than Bourn’s at the time we signed him, across the board. Granted, Bourn plays a premium defensive position, but it’s not like Saunders is a bad CF (if Guti can’t stay healthy). I don’t like the idea of a 3-4 year deal for a player who has a game built around speed, and will be closing in on his mid-30′s when the deal is up. With PED’s (fingers crossed) out of the game, management and fans need to get more realistic about players’ peak years and the decline phase of their game.

  6. Palerydr says:

    Most players through history drop off at 34 years of age I saw a study on it once. The study listed 50 players who after the age of 34 went from being productive players to done. I’m sorry I don’t have a link to back this up as I saw it some years ago.

  7. Palerydr says:

    This isn’t the article but at the end it shows a graph that supports my statement.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=9933

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