The DH-starved Baltimore Orioles have acquired the powerful Michael Morse from Seattle in exchange for minor league OF Xavier Avery.
Morse, 31, is having a down year in 2013, hitting only .226 with 13 HR and 27 RBI in 307 at-bats. The O’s are banking on him reverting back to his 2011 form, when he hit .303 with 31 dingers for the Washington Nationals. Morse has always been a solid bat up until this season, holding a .284 career average over his 8 years spent in the big leagues.
Avery, the 23 year old speedster that Baltimore gave up, has the potential to be a solid leadoff hitter one day, but it was never going to happen in Baltimore; their outfield is just too crowded. He was hitting .259 between AA Bowie and AAA Norfolk, with 70 runs scored and 35 RBI. He also has recorded 29 steals between the two clubs. Avery hit .229 in limited MLB action in 2012.
The Orioles have exhausted many options at DH this season, including Ryan Flaherty, Henry Urrutia, Steve Pearce, and Danny Valencia, but none of them have produced the kinds of results the O’s are looking for. Power is Baltimore’s game, as they lead the world in homers as a team (177) and are second to only Detroit in slugging percentage. They like guys who can drive the ball to the gaps (and out of the park) which is why they felt like Morse, despite his season stats, is an ideal fit.
The Birds also put in waiver claims on guys like Minnesota’s Josh Willingham, but nothing was able to get done. In a more minor move Thursday, the team signed free agent 1B/DH Dan Johnson to provide additional depth in case of injury. O’s GM Dan Duquette said not to expect any more moves before tomorrow’s deadline to set playoff-eligible rosters.
Morse is expected to make his Baltimore debut at some point during the O’s upcoming series against the New York Yankees, which begins tonight at 7:05 ET in the Bronx. Miguel Gonzales (8-6, 3.77) will take on CC Sabathia (11-11, 4.81) in game one of the pivotal set.