Michael Morse Rumors
DECEMBER 17th, 3:06pm: The Giants announced that the deal is official.
DECEMBER 12th, 9:59am: Morse's base salary is an even $6MM, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
9:15am: Morse will receive a base salary of roughly $5MM, and his contract contains additional incentives, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
8:41am: The Giants have agreed to sign Mike Morse, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area (on Twitter). John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that it's a one-year deal for Morse, who will serve as the Giants' left fielder (Twitter link).
Morse, who is represented by ACES, battled significant injuries in 2013 en route to a career-worst .215/.270/.381 batting line with 13 homers between the Mariners and Orioles. His 2010-12 seasons were a different story, however, as Morse posted a gaudy .296/.345/.516 batting line with 64 homers in 1298 plate appearances for the Nationals as a first baseman/outfielder.
The caveat with Morse is that even in his most productive seasons at the plate, he's still a defensively challenged player. Morse has a career UZR/150 of -18.3 in left field, meaning he'll need to return to his 2010-12 form at the plate to provide a significant level of all-around value to the Giants. Morse also has experience at first base, where he's a more passable defender, so the Giants could at least entertain the idea of flipping him and Brandon Belt if Morse's glove is too rough in the outfield.
Morse will join an outfield alignment that will have Hunter Pence starting in right field, Angel Pagan manning center field and Gregor Blanco likely seeing plenty of time as a late-inning replacement for Morse in a fourth outfielder's role.
Earlier today it was reported that the Giants still hoped to add a right-handed swinging outfielder. The Giants were said to be in negotiations with Jeff Baker as recently as yesterday afternoon, but clearly elected to go a different route.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Rangers made headlines today by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Before going on to NFL stardom, Wilson was selected by the Rockies as a second baseman in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, and Colorado retained its rights to Wilson until this morning. Wilson will report to Spring Training and talk to the Rangers' minor leaguers in a motivational capacity. "We decided if he ever wanted to play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want with us," Texas assistant GM A.J. Preller told reporters, including MLB.com's Richard Justice. The Wilson selection isn't a gimmick, ESPN's Richard Durrett writes, and Jon Daniels is excited to have Wilson's winning qualities in the organization, though Daniels stressed that the club isn't trying to distract Wilson from his NFL goals. Here's more out of the AL West...
- Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz remain unsigned, which is good news for the Rangers, ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett writes. The Rangers like both players and are hoping that their asking prices drop the longer they stay on the market. Daniels said that his team's pursuit of Choo was "unchanged" from yesterday.
- There is a chance that Michael Young could rejoin the Rangers if both parties see a fit, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez tweets. Texas dealt its longtime franchise staple to the Phillies last offseason and Young was subsequently dealt to the Dodgers in August.
- Despite recent rumors linking the Angels to Matt Garza and Raul Ibanez, general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters (including Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times) that his team doesn't have any outstanding offers to free agents.
- In a special piece for FOX Sports, new Mariners first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison wrote about the experience of being traded to a new team. Morrison's piece is particularly fascinating in that it was written prior to the trade that sent him to Seattle. LoMo says he doesn't have any ill feelings toward the Marlins organization, adding that contrary to public opinion, owner Jeffrey Loria was "great and generous" to Morrison and his family. Loria allowed Morrison and his family to use his personal plane to get to Kansas City for the funeral of Morrison's father.
- The Astros spoke to the Marlins about Morrison and also pursued Corey Hart and Mike Morse, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. Jose Veras rejected the Astros' initial contract offer but the two sides still share a mutual interest in a reunion.
- The Yankees, Indians, Braves, Phillies, Blue Jays, Twins and Indians were all involved in trade talks for Brett Anderson before the Athletics sent the right-hander to the Rockies, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
The Astros are in serious discussions with Michael Morse, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Earlier today we learned that Astros skipper Bo Porter is pushing for Morse in Houston.
Morse, who hit just hit .215/.270/.381 last year, reportedly wants a $7MM or $8MM on a one-year deal. In Morse's defense, he battled significant injuries in 2013 en route to that career-worst slash line. He's quite familiar with Porter, who was the Nationals' third base coach from 2010-12 when Morse posted a strong .296/.345/.516 batting line with 64 homers in 1298 plate appearances.
Morse is a client of ACES, as shown in the MLBTR Agency Database.
A look at the AL West..
- The Mariners' plan for Corey Hart is to see time in the outfield and at DH and he's not necessarily slotted for first base despite his knee troubles, tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- Astros manager Bo Porter is pushing for Michael Morse in Houston, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Morse is said to be willing to do a one-year deal to re-establish his value.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says that he has had a few conversations with Nelson Cruz's agent and will continue to talk with him, tweets Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com.
- The Angels aren't close to any free agents signings, so if Matt Garza is nearing a deal somewhere, it's not with the Halos, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
Here are some quick notes from around the West divisions:
- The Mariners have interest in re-signing outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, likely to a one-year, incentive-based deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. (Twitter links).
- M's GM Jack Zduriencik also says the Mariners might attempt to improve their outfield via trades, Divish tweets.
- The Dodgers are discussing Michael Young as a possible option in their infield, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes (via Twitter).
- Mike Morse wants $7MM or $8MM on a one-year contract, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. That seems to be a lot to pay a player who hit .215/.270/.381 with poor defense last season. The Astros are reportedly among the teams interested in Morse.
- The Astros have also recently spoken with representatives of outfielder Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart writes (via Twitter). Sizemore, 31, last played in the big leagues in 2011.
- The Rockies are interested in both Morse and Young, the Denver Post's Troy Renck tweets.
- Now that the Mark Trumbo trade is complete, the Angels are likely to keep second baseman Howie Kendrick, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets.
- Giants GM Brian Sabean says that if infielder Pablo Sandoval comes to spring training in good shape, the Giants would consider signing Sandoval to an extension, MLB.com's Chris Haft tweets.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels says free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn't owe the Rangers special consideration despite missing 50 games in 2013 after being suspended, reports ESPN's Richard Durrett. "He had a decision to make," says Daniels. "[W]e all understood the position he was in. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t view it that way. I don’t think he owes us." Cruz could have appealed his suspension and continued to play for the Rangers last season, but he chose not to.
- If the Diamondbacks are unable to trade for a pitcher, they could pursue Matt Garza, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets.
4:22pm: There's mutual interest between Morse and the Astros, tweets Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
4:10pm: MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports that the Astros are interested in outfielder/first baseman/DH Mike Morse as well as right-handers Jesse Crain and Chad Gaudin. Additionally, according to McTaggart, right-hander Jose Veras would like to return to the Astros after being traded to Detroit in July and having his club option declined following the season.
Morse battled significant injuries in 2013 en route to a career-worst .215/.270/.381 batting line with 13 homers between the Mariners and Orioles. He's quite familiar with Astros manager Bo Porter, who was the Nationals' third base coach from 2010-12 when Morse posted a strong .296/.345/.516 batting line with 64 homers in 1298 plate appearances.
Crain, who attended college in Houston, missed the final three months of the 2013 season after posting a historic scoreless streak. The 32-year-old allowed just three earned runs in 36 2/3 innings for the White Sox, averaging 11.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 en route to a pristine 0.74 ERA. Gaudin posted a strong 3.06 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 97 innings for the Giants, serving as both a reliever and a starter. Based on McTaggart's report, Houston seems to like him as a reliever.
Veras, who spent the first four months of the 2013 season as Houston's closer, he offered high praise for the Astros organization:
"It feels like family there. It’s a young team and they’re hungry to win. I feel part of the team. I doesn’t mater to me if we won or lose. When you play as a team and everybody cares, that’s the best part for me."
Veras posted a 3.02 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 62 2/3 innings between the Astros and Tigers, collecting a career-high 21 saves along the way.
It remains to be seen whether or not Masahiro Tanaka will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but if he is and the Diamondbacks have yet to address their starting pitching needs, expect Arizona to place a bid on the Japanese right-hander, tweets Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Here's more on the D-Backs and a pair of their NL West rivals:
- Kevin Towers and the D-Backs don't mind waiting on Eric Chavez, who is deciding where he wants to play and monitoring Arizona's moves, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
- Asked about the possibility of trading Archie Bradley, Towers suggested today that it would be "very, very tough" for the D-Backs to do so, tweets Gilbert.
- The Padres have interest in Scott Downs, among other southpaw relievers, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. San Diego's Josh Byrnes confirmed that the team is casting a wide net for bullpen help, indicating that he has touched base with "most" available left-handed relievers (Twitter link via Adam Berry of MLB.com).
- According to Berry (Twitter links), Byrnes said the Padres have weighed "six or eight ideas" and have meetings set up to discuss free agents and trades. Byrnes also shot down the latest round of Chase Headley rumors, stating that the team views the third baseman as part of its 2014 plans.
- Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area has some details on the Giants' search for an outfielder, tweeting that the Giants called three times on Norichika Aoki before the Brewers decided to send Aoki to the Royals. In a second tweet, Baggarly says the Giants are interested in Michael Morse and Corey Hart, but probably not at the years and dollars those players will command.
- John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle provides a couple more Giants updates, reporting that no teams have inquired on San Francisco's five starters, but that the club's young pitching has drawn some interest. Shea adds that the team appears unlikely to bring back Chad Gaudin (Twitter links).
The Marlins officially announced their signing of Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal earlier today at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, and they reportedly finalized a two-year deal with recent non-tender Garrett Jones as well. The Fish are far from finished, however, as they're reportedly nearing a trade of first baseman Logan Morrison as well. More Fish-centric links for your Monday evenings...
- The Marlins are looking for right-handed bats, but they're not pursuing Mike Morse, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (on Twitter).
- Frisaro also tweets that the Marlins would like to sign or trade for a veteran reliever to add to their relief corps.
- The decision to non-tender right-hander Ryan Webb was strictly about allocation of the team's resources, GM Michael Hill told MLBTR's Tim Dierkes, who is on-site in Orlando (Twitter link).
- Hill also told Tim that third base is currently the team's top priority (Twitter link).
- Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel elaborates on that third base search, noting that the Marlins are interested in former Brewers top prospect and Jacksonville, Fla. native Mat Gamel. Gamel was recently non-tendered by the Cubs recently.
- Within that same piece, Rodriguez notes that the Marlins have told teams they're open to taking a right-handed or left-handed hitting third baseman in trades. Two names of interest are Miami alum Danny Valencia (currently with the Orioles) and Josh Harrison of the Pirates.
In an Insider post (subscription required), Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio names eight players who could be traded during the Winter Meetings. The Rays' David Price tops the list with Bowden's possible destinations starting with the Dodgers. The Dodgers also have two of their own on the list: outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Here's more on the Boys in Blue and the rest of the NL West:
- Re-signing Juan Uribe figures to be at or near the top of the Dodgers' to-do list at the Winter Meetings, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- Uribe is not seeking a three-year contract and the holdup with the Dodgers is either their desire for a one-year deal or money, tweets ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted confirmation of an earlier report the Rockies are interested in Raul Ibanez, but cautioned nothing is serious at this point. Renck also noted Michael Young is on the club's radar for a bench role.
- The Rockies are also becoming more serious about Michael Morse along with the Giants, Marlins, and Rangers, reports the New York Post's Joel Sherman (Twitter links).
- There's been speculation the Giants could be a fit for Ichiro Suzuki, but Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets he doesn't believe that's the case.
- The demands of the trade market will determine what course Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers takes during the Winter Meetings, reports azcentral.com's Nick Piecoro. "Most people are asking for quite a bit right now, I'm not real excited about what I'd have to give up in the trade market," Towers said. "I'm hoping maybe the price starts to come down. If not, then I'll turn to more free agents."
- Left-hander Erick Threets is looking to play in Asia, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League pitching to a 7.04 ERA, 5.9 K/9, and 7.5 BB/9 in 23 innings covering 27 relief outings. Threets' last MLB affiliation was with the Dodgers' Triple-A team 2012 and his last appearance in a big league game was in 2010 for the White Sox.
Dave Stewart, Matt Kemp's agent, has a "strong feeling something could happen" involving his client at the Winter Meetings, the former pitcher tells ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. "This is the first time we've experienced this," Stewart said. "This is the first time we've heard it this much, and the first time we really believe something could happen." The Dodgers have been listening to offers for Kemp, and the Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox have all been linked to the outfielder, plus other teams.
Here's the latest from around the NL West...
- The Rockies are still looking for bullpen help and have maintained their interest in Jose Veras and Jesse Crain, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links). The club's interest in Crain, of course, hinges on whether he is healthy following the shoulder injury that prematurely ended his 2013 season.
- The Rockies had interest in Corey Hart and Mike Morse but both players profiled better as first basemen, Renck notes, a position that Colorado has since addressed by signing Justin Morneau. The Rockies have a hole in left field, with Carlos Gonzalez shifting to center and Michael Cuddyer remaining in right.
- The Padres had some interest in David Murphy and Nate McLouth, MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets. With Murphy and McLouth respectively signed by the Indians and Nationals, however, San Diego's search for a left-handed hitting outfielder may have ended with their trade for Seth Smith.
- Ichiro Suzuki seems relegated to the bench in New York, so John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links) thinks the Giants should try to acquire the veteran address their outfield depth. Shea notes that Suzuki and Giants manager Bruce Bochy share an agent, plus Suzuki could be cheaply acquired from the Yankees. San Francisco had some interest in Ichiro when he was a free agent last winter.