Potential Player of Interest: Mike Morse | The Process Report

Potential Player of Interest: Mike Morse

As the Rays front office prepares their offseason shopping list a few items will repeat from previous winters. Once again, the club will search for a first baseman, a designated hitter, and other parts. Mike Morse could solve a few of those needs.

Morse is no stranger to the player of interest file. The Rays have reportedly been enchanted by him previously. However, unlike the past, Morse is now a free agent. He hits the market at a bad time – coming off a season filled with injury and ineffectiveness – but his flaws might make him more appealing to Tampa Bay, as damaged goods usually come at a discount.

From 2010-2012, Morse hit .296/.345/.516 in just under 1,300 plate appearances. As expected from a man standing six-foot-five and nearly 250 pounds, he frequently hit the ball hard. In those three seasons he tallied over 130 extra-base hits.

Though fitting some traits of the hulking slugger, Morse never possessed the traditional discipline rates (high strikeouts and walks) of the ilk. Instead, he produced high averages, sprayed the ball to all fields, and did so without a platoon split. He uses an unorthodox set up with his feet near the third-base line of the batter’s box and his arms extended toward home plate. He holds the bat straight in the air and strides toward first base before collapsing on his front ankle.

Defensively, he is a liability in the outfield. He is playable at first base in spot duty and would be a gold glove designated hitter.

The Nationals entertained several suitors for Morse last winter before sending him back to Seattle, where he began his career. Seemingly an odd fit for the roster and ballpark, Morse’s return to the Emerald City was marred by a paltry performance at the plate. The lack of production may have been fueled by a right quad injury that wiped out nearly a quarter of the season. Perhaps as a byproduct of the injury, he struggled with pitches that had bend or wiggle and had a hard time with offerings on the outer half of the plate. Morse was traded to Baltimore in August and was even less of an asset before developing a wrist injury that will require offseason surgery. The net result was a lost season at the plate (.215/.270/.381 in 337 plate appearances) and zapped value as a free agent.

Like some of the Rays’ past targets, the intensity of a Morse pursuit depends on the recommendation of the team’s medical staff. If deemed healthy, both sides may benefit from a short-term pact.

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