Examining the Morse market

The Tampa Bay Rays have been mentioned around baseball as one team that could look to make a deal for Nationals left fielder/first baseman Michael Morse. Joe Maddon’s team is still looking for more offense, and the Rays have pitching that could be dealt in order to bring in a middle-of-the-order bat.

The Baltimore Orioles seem to make a lot of sense for Morse, as well, given their needs, and could potentially make a run at the 30-year-old slugger.

michael-morse-water-on-face-sidebar.jpgThe New York Yankees are reportedly interested in Morse, and Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters at the MLB owners’ meetings yesterday that the pinstripes still “need another bat.”

The Boston Red Sox have still (still!) yet to complete their deal with Mike Napoli, and could use a power hitter that can play first base. With their three-year, $39 million deal with Napoli still up in the air due to health concerns, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Red Sox have contacted the Nats about Morse, who is set to make $6.75 million this season.

Amazingly, even though we’re nearly a month away from the start of spring training, Morse seems to be an option for four of the five teams in the American League East.

Don’t expect the Blue Jays to join in on the AL East Morse party, however. I think they’ve got enough players to make up two major league rosters after all the wheeling and dealing they’ve done this offseason.

I guess we can continue to include the Mariners on the list of teams in on Morse, as well, after Justin Upton vetoed a trade yesterday that would have sent him from the Diamondbacks to Seattle.

Morse broke into the majors with Seattle, and the Mariners are looking for another bat. They’ve had discussions about Morse, and with the Upton deal now closed, they might be willing to come back and kick the tires on Morse a bit more.

Regardless, at least from an outsider’s perspective, the Nationals seem to have a number of teams with at least some level of interest in Morse. And while some around the league believe Nats general manager Mike Rizzo won’t end up receiving a lot in return for Morse because of the slugger’s injury history, defensive ability and contract situation, all it takes is one team desperate to improve their lineup for Rizzo to get what he’s looking for.

In what should be a wide-open AL East, four teams appear to still be looking to make a splash. And that could end up helping the Nats, who can try to play one division rival against another.

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