Mike Morse is like Jo-Jo, he’s back to where he once belonged and Michael is “glad to be back home.” Morse, who has one year left on a contract that pays him $6.75 million this year, was available after the Nationals signed free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche.
The Mariners acquired Morse in a three-team trade that sent catcher/first baseman John Jaso to Oakland and the A’s traded minor league Ps A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen and a player to be named later to the Nationals.
“We were looking for a banger,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “In Michael, I think we got that.”
The Mariners hoped to add a little more power this offseason and moved Safeco Field’s outfield fences in 4 to 17 feet to make it more hitter friendly. The Mariners earlier acquired Kendrys Morales from the Angels and signed Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay.
Morse, who hit only three home runs in 337 at-bats for the Mariners from 2005-08, hit .291 with 17 doubles, 18 home runs and 62 RBI in 102 games last year after struggling with a strained-lat injury early in the season.
“I love it out there and I always felt like I had unfinished-business kind of feelings in Seattle, that I never got to prove myself completely of what kind of player I could be or who I am,” Morse said.
Cole is a 21-year old 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher who was originally drafted by Washington who signed him to a $2 million bonus out of the 2010 draft. He can hit the high-90s with his fastball but went 0-7 with a 7.82 ERA when Oakland started him at high-Class A Stockton. After a demotion to low- Class A, Cole improved and went 6-3 with a 2.07 ERA the rest of the season.
Treinen, 24, went 7-7 with a 4.37 ERA and 4.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24 games, including 15 starts, at high-Class A Stockton last year. Stockton, where Cole struggled, is part of the California League, which, according to the Washington Post annually produces inflated offensive numbers.