The Washington Nationals came to terms with Adam LaRoche on a two-year deal, which has made utility man Mike Morse a commodity on the trade market.
Several reports have linked the 30-year-old with a .295 career average to the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Rays, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and New York Mets.
The Yankees are still trying to figure out their lineup and fill out their outfield. With slugger Alex Rodriguez undergoing hip surgery and Nick Swisher heading to Cleveland, New York will need the extra power in the lineup that Morse can provide.
CBS Sports reported that Morse could be the Yankees next designated hitter, but he isn’t interested in the position. In Washington, Morse could be stuck as a reserve with the likes of LaRoche, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in the lineup.
When healthy and given the playing time, Morse has shown devastating power. In 2011 he appeared in 146 games, and hit 31 homeruns and 95 RBIs with a .303 average and .910 OPS, garnering some MVP consideration.
He’s in the final year of a contract that will pay him $6.75 million in 2013, and then Morse will be eligible for free agency. The Yankees could use him as a one-year rental, or even convince him to DH long-term if they can come up with a reasonable extension. Though New York is in a hurry to get its payroll below the tax threshold of $189 million, so an extension could be a longshot.
A lack of durability may not give Morse many options, especially if he wants to play on a regular basis. Every team that has shown interest in him, especially in the AL, desires Morse for his bat and not his middling defensive skills.