With the Nationals re-signing Adam LaRoche, it now appears they would like to trade Mike Morse. The 1B/OF will be 31 in 2013 and has one year left on his contract. He will make $6.75 million in 2013.
On the surface, he seems like an ideal designated hitter candidate for the Rays. In the last three seasons he has averaged .296 with a .345 OBP and 21 home runs (his ’10-’12 wOBAs = .377/.390/.340). However, despite being a poor defender, Morse is “strongly opposed” to being a designated hitter according to Ken Rosnethal.
There is also the question of what the Rays would have to give up. While Buster Olney doesn’t think the Nationals would get very much (see below), Adam Kilgore says the Nationals are seeking “young, starting pitching prospects or a major league reliever, particularly a left-hander.” Does that sound like anything the Rays would be willing to give up for a one-year rental? It doesn’t sound very promising.
Here is what some are saying about Morse…
Ken Rosenthal says the Nationals have spoken with 5-6 teams about Morse. Those teams include the Rays, Mariners (the favorites according to one executive), Yankees, and Orioles with “varying levels of interest.“ [Twitter]
Buster Olney doesn’t think the Nationals can get very much for Morse. “Some GMs say privately that while they like Morse, they can’t see surrendering much, given his lack of a natural position and his lengthy injury history. And the Nationals will be hurt by the fact that there are similar players on the market, most notably Jason Kubel.” [ESPN Insider]
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says Morse “will almost certainly be traded” in the next five weeks. [Washington Post]
Meanwhile, Morse is taking a break from social media for a while. [@Dc_BEAST38]http://www.raysindex.com/