Orioles acquire Morse for Avery
Needing a boost for the stretch run, the Orioles –who had been aggressively pursuing another bat– acquired Michael Morse from the Mariners in a waiver claim trade on Friday afternoon that sent outfielder Xavier Avery to Seattle.
“We just need a little bit more punch in our lineup and hopefully mike will be able to add that to the team,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Morse, who is expected to fill Baltimore’s designated hitter role. “He’s had some good offensive numbers over the course of his career. He’s a big, physical guy whose athletic and has experience in the postseason.”
The O’s, who are fresh off Thursday’s sweep avoiding win at Fenway Park, are hoping Morse can rebound from a disappointing season. The 31-year-old Morse started the season well in his return to the Mariners — the team he debuted with in 2005– but a broken finger and a strained hamstring set him off track. In just 76 games for Seattle, Morse posted a .226/.283/.410 slash line including 13 homers.
While with the Nationals last year, Morse batted .302 with six homers in September before going 5-for-19 with a homer in the postseason. He spent four years in Washington (2009-12) after four up-and-down seasons with the Mariners, and had career highs of 31 homers and 95 RBIs in ’11.
“He was hot earlier this season,” Duquette said of Morse, who will wear No. 38 with his new club. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back to that.”
The Orioles also won the waiver claim on Minnesota’s Josh Willingham but were unable to swing a deal and they were heavily rumored as the club who wanted Kendrys Morales, who Seattle pulled back off waivers. Seattle needed a a roster spot for Friday night’s debut of young starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, and will get the speedy Avery in exchange for Morse. Avery, 23, was ranked No. 10 on MLB.com’s Top 20 Prospects for the Orioles and has 29 steals with 70 runs scored in 120 Minor League games, split between Double-A and Triple-A.
Morse is expected to join the Orioles in New York, with his availability for Friday’s series opener against the Yankees uncertain. The Orioles aren’t expected to make any more external moves before September callups on Sunday.