Baltimore Orioles: Rumor du Jour – Mike Morse


Aug 31, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder

Mike Morse

(38) before the start of a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Morse was acquired by the Orioles yesterday in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On the day when the Baltimore Orioles tendered contracts to all 11 of their arbitration-eligible players, a deal with Nick Markakis appears to be slip-sliding away in spite of Duquette’s statement that its demise is greatly exaggerated.

On this same day, Torii Hunter is off the board of free agent possibilities. Rumored a few days ago to be interested in the Orioles, Rangers, and Mariners above a return to the Twins, it is back to Minnesota for the aged outfielder. Dude, what was all that “wanting to be part of a contending team” talk all about? Good luck with that.

Another day, another rumor. And the rumor du jour is the Baltimore Orioles having interest in Mike Morse

You may recall that the former Nationals star spent a short time with the O’s at the end of 2013, coming in a trade for Xavier Avery and going 3-for-29 … later learning that he was dealing with a wrist injury. Because of this less-than-stellar cup of coffee in Charm City, this rumor is not likely to have a lot of excitement around the inner harbor …

I certainly understand that, and the fellow is age 33 now (which is a lot older than it was for a ballplayer just a few years ago … the window of excellence seems to be closing over time).

However, I am going to sound a more positive tone on this than you may hear from most. When he played for the Nationals, I would sometimes watch their games (at times the Birds were not playing, of course) just to see Morris hit. There are some players that have the ball just “jump” off their bat. At his best, Nolan Reimold was this way; and I believe Jonathan Schoop has this sort of effect from his swing.

Actually, the only horrible year that Morse has had was in 2013 (see injury note above). In 2014, he slashed .279 / .336 / .475 / .811 – all of which is almost exactly equal to his total career numbers.

Let’s run a comparison with Markakis for 2014 …


So Morse had exactly two-thirds of the number of at-bats as Markakis – playing in 24 fewer games while also accounting for Markakis hitting at the top of the order. Clearly Morse is the better power hitter, though he will strike out about twice as often.

Defensively, Morse played 84 games and 579 innings in left field with only two errors. He also played 43 games at first base. He won’t be winning any defensive awards and would likely be most often used as a DH. Without any other additions to the team, this would put Alejandro De Aza in right field and Steve Pearce in left field most of the time.

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As with everything with the Baltimore Orioles, it will come down to price and value. I would think that returning Markakis is more likely, or even getting Melky Cabrera. But who would have believed a year ago today that Nelson Cruz would be with the Orioles in 2014?