The Nationals have found a new home for Michael Morse, shipping the power-hitting outfielder/first baseman to the Mariners in a three-team deal that also involves the Athletics, according to an industry source.
In return for the 30-year-old Morse, the Nationals will get minor league pitcher A.J. Cole, who the Nats traded to the A’s in the Gio Gonzalez deal last winter. Washington will also get another prospect and a player to be named, according to the source.
The Mariners will give up catcher John Jaso in the deal, with the 29-year-old backstop heading to the Athletics.
Update: FOXSports.com reports the player to be named coming to the Nationals will be from the Athletics, who have become a common trading partner with the Nats. In addition to the Gonzalez deal, the Nats also made a deal to bring catcher Kurt Suzuki over from the A’s this summer in exchange for minor league catcher David Freitas.
Update II: The Nationals will receive right-hander Blake Treinen and a player to be named from the A’s, per a team press release. The 24-year-old Treinen went 7-7 with a 4.37 ERA in 24 games, including 15 starts, for Stockton in 2012.
Morse hit .303 with 31 home runs and 95 RBIs in 2011, and became a fan favorite due to his fun-loving personality. He was boxed out of a spot in the Nationals’ lineup, however, when the team traded for center fielder Denard Span and re-signed Adam LaRoche this offseason.
Cole went 6-10 with a 3.70 ERA between two levels of Single-A ball last season. He went just 0-7 with a 7.82 ERA at high-A Stockton to start the season, but rebounded at low-A Burlington, going 6-3 with a 2.07 ERA in 19 starts.
The 21-year-old right-hander stands at 6-foot-4 and throws in the mid to upper 90s. Despite a 2012 season which might have set him back a bit in some scouts’ eyes, Cole was still ranked by Baseball America as the Athletics’ No. 3 prospect in a list that the publication released in November.
Cole was considered the main chip that the Nats needed to give up in the Gonzalez deal, and general manager Mike Rizzo now has Cole back in his organization, refurbishing a minor league system low on starting pitching talent.
Just as Cole is back with a former organization, Morse now returns to the team that first gave him a shot in the big leagues. Morse broke into the majors with Seattle in 2005, when he primarily played shortstop.
He’ll head back to the Pacific Northwest as a proven middle-of-the-order bat that the Nationals ideally could have kept, but just didn’t have room for.
Here’s hoping they play “Take On Me” for Morse every time he comes to bat out in Seattle.
Tyler Moore will be the Nationals’ backup to LaRoche at first base, and will be the team’s power-hitting right-handed bat off the bench.