The Seattle Mariners continue their offseason efforts to bolster a lackluster offense. Today the Mariners acquired slugger Michael Morse from Washington in a deal that also involved the Oakland Athletics. Morse is expected to join the recently acquired Kendrys Morales in the middle of the Mariners batting order. Owners of the league’s worst offense, Seattle finished last in the American League West in 2012. General Manager Jack Zduriencik is on a mission to take care of that particular weakness.
The Mariners were unable to acquire Justin Upton earlier this month when the Arizona outfielder invoked his partial no-trade clause. Getting Morse was the next best thing. Seattle has also added infielder Robert Andino, along with outfielders Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez this winter. Andino figures to play a utility role while veterans Bay and Ibanez should battle each other for playing time in leftfield and as the DH. Morse returns to the team that brought him up in 2005.
In what seems like a steal for Seattle, the Mariners only had to part with backup catcher John Jaso to score the power bat of Morse. Jaso stays in the division, landing in Oakland. The A’s sent pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen, and a player to be named later to Washington.
Seattle hit .234/.296/.369 as a team last season. Not only were they last in the A.L. in all three categories, they were even worse than the Astros! Committed to improving upon those numbers, not only have the Mariners been shopping for hitters, they’ve also moved in the fences at Safeco Field. It will be interesting to see how that works out for them. With the exception of Felix Hernandez, the Mariners have an inexperienced group of starting pitchers.
If the Astros are able to climb out of the cellar in their first season in the A.L. West, Seattle is the team they are most likely to climb over. But, given the upgrades that Seattle has made so far this winter, that is beginning to seem a bit unlikely.