January 18, 2013 by Matt Musico
It took all winter, but the Seattle Mariners have finally acquired the power bat they were looking for to compliment Jesus Montero and Kendrys Morales in Eric Wedge‘s lineup. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik had made several unsuccessful attempts to lure in free agents and complete trades to help make Safeco Field a little smaller after moving in the fences before this upcoming season. Zduriencik made a serious run at Josh Hamilton and had a trade in place for Justin Upton, without either panning out, but he was able to pull the trigger on a three-team deal that has netted them Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals.
In 2012, to say that the Mariners’ offense was dreadful, just ask manager Eric Wedge. Out of 30 MLB teams, Seattle ranked dead last in team batting average (.234), on-base percentage (.296), and slugging percentage (.369). So, not only could they not hit home runs, but they just generally couldn’t get on base, which is why they only scored 619 runs last season. So, Zduriencik went on a search for legit power hitters to add to his lineup. After the Upton deal was rejected last week, I mentioned he probably gave Washington GM Mike Rizzo a call to inquire about Morse. Here we are, a week later and he is once again a member of the Seattle Mariners, the team he spent four seasons with from 2005-2008.
So, the M’s get back a player that has the power they desire; Morse is coming off a season in which he hit .291/.321/.470 in 430 plate appearances in 2012, and has hit 67 homers since 2010. It’s not Josh Hamilton production, but they’ll certainly take it.
Unlike the proposed trade with the Diamondbacks, the Mariners only dealt catcher John Jaso instead of giving up the top prospects they proposed to give Arizona. Jaso is now catching for the Athletics, who sent three minor leaguers back to the Nationals to complete the deal.
With this trade official, Seattle has successfully added offense to their roster heading into 2013; not only have they added Morse and Morales, but also Raul Ibanez, who is making his return to the Pacific Northwest. However, Kyle Davis of Call to the Pen points out that none of these players (as well as a few others he mentioned in his article) are regarded as solid defenders, which could be a problem. So, we may watch the Mariners hit more homers and score more runs this season, but it may not equal more wins in the competitive division that is the AL West.
Zduriencik’s accomplished what he wanted to this winter, but it remains to be seen how it will translate on the field. However, that’s why they play the game.
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