Orioles still trying to acquire Morse, less optimistic about Willingham

NEW YORK - The Orioles are continuing efforts to acquire first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse from the Seattle Mariners after being awarded a waiver claim on Wednesday.

Discussions with the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Josh Willingham, also claimed off waivers this week, have stalled because of their high demands, according to multiple industry sources.

Willingham figured to come at a steeper price because he’s signed through 2014. Morse is a pending free agent.

The Twins are asking for multiple pitching prospects in return for Willingham, according to sources. Double-A Bowie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, 20, drew interest from several teams at the non-waiver trade deadline, including the Astros, and the Twins are targeting him, as well.

The Orioles don’t want to part with Rodriguez, who’s allowed one run in his last three starts, with two walks and 20 strikeouts in 19 innings.

Morse has appeared in only 76 games since the Mariners acquired him from the Washington Nationals in a three-team trade in January, batting .226/.283/.410 with 13 doubles, 13 homers and 27 RBIs. He missed five weeks with a quad injury, and his past health issues were one reason why the Orioles had only lukewarm interest in him over the winter. His rental status also factored into it.

Morse is a lifetime .284/.338/.479 hitter with 83 homers in nine seasons with the Mariners and Nationals. He had a career-high 31 homers, 95 RBIs and .910 OPS with Washington in 2011, finishing 19th in Most Valuable Player voting in the National League.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette is pushing hard to acquire a right-handed bat. The Orioles have 48 hours since the waiver claim to complete a deal for Morse, bringing the deadline to later this afternoon. Otherwise, the Mariners can choose to hold onto him.

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