The Mariners, Nationals and Athletics have combined on a three-team trade that will send Michael Morse to the Mariners, John Jaso to the A's and a three-player package to the Nationals that includes minor league right-handers A.J. Cole, Blake Treinen and a player to be named from the Athletics.
The Mariners have been searching for hitters all winter long and now add Morse, who has hit 64 homers over the last three seasons and posted a .291/.321/.470 line in 430 PAs for Washington in 2012. It's a bit of a homecoming for Morse, who spent the first four years of his career in Seattle before being swapped to the Nats for Ryan Langerhans. The right-handed hitter could see time in either corner outfield spot or at first base, possibly sharing time with Justin Smoak and other newly-acquired veteran bats as Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay. Jaso's departure also clears the way for Jesus Montero to catch everyday, and the M's also have top prospect Mike Zunino waiting in the wings.
Morse has been a strong trade commodity ever since the Nationals re-signed Adam LaRoche. At least five or six teams had shown interest in Morse, with the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox among those linked to the first baseman/outfielder. Morse turns 31 in March and is scheduled to hit free agency next winter.
Cole is on his way back to the Nationals organization after being dealt to the A's last winter as part of the trade package for Gio Gonzalez. Cole, 21, was drafted by the Nats in the fourth round of the 2010 draft and was rated as the 57th-best prospect in the game by Baseball America prior to the season. In 27 starts for two of Oakland's A-ball affiliates, Cole posted a 3.70 ERA, 133 strikeouts and 29 walks over 133 2/3 innings, though the major bulk of that success took place at low A-ball.
Treinen, 24, was the Athletics' seventh-round pick in the 2011 draft. The righty has a 4.13 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.1 H/9 in 133 innings over two pro seasons and made 15 starts last year.
The left-handed hitting Jaso enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, hitting .276/.394/.456 in 361 PAs, the large majority of which came against right-handed pitching. He will likely step right in as Oakland's regular catcher against righties, with the right-handed hitting Derek Norris in line for at-bats against southpaws. Jaso, 29, is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and is under Oakland's control through the 2015 season.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post first reported the trade and the major teams and players involved. Earlier this evening, Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the M's were close to acquiring Morse. Morosi, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times and the Nationals' Twitter feed also added more details about the package going back to Washington.