With the waiver trade deadline coming up fast, the remaining contenders are doing their best to shore up their holes. No team has been more active on waivers than the Baltimore Orioles who finally landed the power bat they've been looking for.
Xavier Avery for Mike Morse. O's all in
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) August 30, 2013
All in? Yeah, not quite. Morse could help the Orioles, but he isn't exactly a game changer. Morse has been far from the "Beast Mode" sensation he was with the Nationals last year. His aborted return to Seattle has been riddled with injury and ineffectiveness as his .283 OBP and 97 OPS+ demonstrates. While getting away from Safeco will help Morse, it seems highly unlikely that he is going to suddenly recapture the 31-homer form he had in 2011. This is less "all-in" and more scraping the barrel. Baltimore had put in claims on many hitters this month, including a claim on Josh Willingham that they held at the same time as the claim on Morse before ultimately consummating this deal.
Nonetheless, Morse fills a need. Baltimore has been trying to get by the best they can at DH with the likes of Wilson Betemit and Steve Pearce. Morse could slot in as the primary DH for Baltimore, but it seems more likely that he will share time with Betemit. It is possible Morse could also spend some time in left field, but that would be a bad idea given Morse's massive defensive deficiencies.
The going price for renting Mike Morse for a month was forking over young outfielder Xavier Avery. In a vacuum, that is a solid get for the Mariners. Avery is a big league ready player who is a top 15 prospect in the Baltimore organization. He's an excellent athlete who should be a much better defensive fit than Morse in Seattle, but his bat may not be good enough to stick in the majors. He's made some real progress with his plate discipline in the last two years which, coupled with his excellent speed, could make him a top of the order option for the Mariners if everything works out. More likely though is that Avery ends up in a reserve role which is perfectly fine for most teams.
The problem is that it is hard to separate this Morse trade by Seattle from the Morse trade Seattle made before the season to acquire him in the first place. That deal was widely panned at the time as it cost them John Jaso. The Mariners at least had some sort of plan to inject more power into their lineup at the time. That obviously didn't work out, so now they are back to the speed and defense philosophy at least with this one move. At the end of the day, the M's gave away Jaso so that they could get a bench outfielder. But at least the Mariners salvaged there original mistake a little bit by getting a small asset instead of letting Morse walk away for free which they seem to be more than happy to do with Kendrys Morales for reasons that remain unexplained.
When it is all said and done, the Orioles got a tiny bit deeper and better while Jack Z still hasn't done much to help save his job in Seattle.