I was telling someone yesterday that during this entire week of the Winter Meetings they shouldn’t believe anything they hear until the ink on a would-be deal is dry. One of the many rumors we started hearing yesterday was that the Baltimore Orioles were interested in potentially trading for Michael Morse of Washington. Morse, who has one year of team control left on his contract, is a career .295 hitter with 70 HR’s and 245 RBI. He was also injured for the beginning of 2012, and he was suspended for ten days in 2005 for a steroid violation dating back to 2003. Washington (along perhaps with the Orioles) is trying to re-sign free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, which in their view would make Morse expendable.
So the question is what would the Orioles have to give up? I would think that the fact that Morse has only one year left of team control would bring the price down just a bit. Washington has given away some pitching depth in the past year, so that might be one option. According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the Orioles have a lukewarm interest in Morse. Assuming that a deal is made for just one moment, what would Morse add to the team? If healthy he would be the team’s starting first baseman, and he’d probably hit in the cleanup or five hole. Chalk this up to your normal run-of-the-mill rumors that come from the Winter Meetings, however it might be something on which to keep an eye. The same is true of free agent Adam LaRoche, another name that’s drawing interest from the O’s.
Again, I would caution Orioles fans to keep in mind that these kinds of rumors fly during the Winter Meetings. Yesterday it was Michael Morse, today it could be someone else. I would also point out that while Morse is a good player, it would hardly be a blockbuster trade. Granted it would be more earth-shattering than the deal that sent Dana Eveland to the O’s during last year’s Winter Meetings, however it wouldn’t be much more than a blip on the radar. Michael Morse isn’t going to turn the Orioles from a great story in 2012 into a champion in 2013. The same is probably true of Adam LaRoche.
Most industry experts are expecting the Orioles to make a trade or two this week (Morse or anyone else), and although a free agent signing isn’t out of the question it would certainly be a surprise.