Nationals trade Morse to Seattle in 3-team deal

The Mariners added some much-needed power to their lineup

Wednesday, acquiring Michael Morse from Washington in a three-team

deal that moved catcher John Jaso from Seattle to Oakland.

The NL East champion Nationals reacquired pitching prospect A.J.

Cole, dealt from Washington to Oakland 13 months ago in the trade

for Gio Gonzalez. Washington also got minor league pitcher Blake

Treinen and a player to be named.

Morse hit .291 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs last year in an

injury-shortened season, playing mostly as a corner outfielder. He

was with the Mariners from 2005-08 before he was traded to the

Nationals for Ryan Langerhans in June 2009.

”I’m just glad this whole thing has unfolded the way it has,”

Morse said on a conference call, noting he was aware he might be

traded by Washington.

”I knew there were teams involved and I knew Seattle was one of

them. That was one of the teams I was hoping for. I love it out

there and I always felt like I had an unfinished-business feeling

in Seattle. I never got to prove myself completely what kind of

player I could be or who I am,” he said.

The deal clears up a logjam in the outfield for Washington and

at designated hitter for Seattle.

The Nationals acquired speedy center fielder Denard Span from

Minnesota this offseason and contemplated moving the 30-year-old

Morse to first base but then re-signed Adam LaRoche. They are set

at the corner outfield spots with Bryce Harper and Jayson

Werth.

Jaso, 29, batted .276 with 10 homers and 50 RBIs last year but

became expendable when Seattle obtained Kendrys Morales and Raul

Ibanez, moves that shift Jesus Montero from a catcher-DH split to

primarily behind the plate. The AL West champion A’s traded

starting catcher Kurt Suzuki to the Nationals last season and

replaced him with rookie Derek Norris.

To open a roster spot for Jaso, Oakland designated catcher

George Kottaras for assignment.

After struggling to score for years, Seattle has been trying to

add offense the entire offseason. The Mariners acquired Morales in

a trade with the Angels and pursued Arizona slugger Justin Upton.

Seattle had a deal in place with the Diamondbacks, but the two-time

All-Star blocked the trade.

Upton’s contract gave him the power to turn down a trade to a

short list of cities, Seattle included.

Morse, however, was happy to return and said he’s comfortable

playing first base or the outfield.

”My main goal is to play every single game. I’m so excited.

Words can’t describe what me and my family are going through right

now. Seattle is where I got my first shot,” he said. ”I’m glad to

be back home.”

Morse had a breakout season in 2011 with Washington, hitting

.303 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs. He was sidelined until June last

season because of a strained back muscle and later missed time with

wrist and thumb injuries.

”He’s got big-time power and has obviously grown and

accomplished quite a bit since he’s been in Washington,” Mariners

general manager Jack Zduriencik said. ”I was very, very excited

today after I talked to him about how excited he was and that

really made me feel good.”

The Mariners, coming off their third straight last-place finish

in the AL West, ranked 27th out of 30 major league teams in runs

last season with 619. They were last in slugging and on-base

percentage, and 19th in home runs (149).

Looking to help an inept offense and finally attract some

hitters, the club is bringing in the fences at spacious Safeco

Field next season.

”If you ask me, I feel like I can hit the ball out of the Grand

Canyon. The fences are not a problem for me,” Morse said.

With the additions of Morse, Morales and reclamation project

Jason Bay, the Mariners think they’ll have a more dangerous

offense.

”It certainly gives you some big pop in this lineup,”

Zduriencik said. ”We were looking for a banger and I think in

Michael we got that. … When you can look around and say you are

in position to acquire an everyday guy who can hit the ball hard

and hit the ball far, it can change your game. One of the things I

have seen since being here is our lack of raw power.”

Jaso, a left-handed hitter, had a .394 on-base percentage last

season and batted .378 with runners in scoring position. He gives

the A’s another option at DH and a catching complement for Norris,

a right-handed hitter who batted .201 with seven homers in 60 games

last year.

Cole, a 21-year-old right-hander, was among four players traded

by Washington to Oakland in December 2011 for Gonzalez. Cole was

0-7 with a 7.82 ERA in eight games at Stockton of the California

League and 6-3 with a 2.07 ERA at Burlington of the Midwest League,

both Class A level.

Baseball America recently rated Cole as the top pitching

prospect in Oakland’s organization.

Treinen was 7-7 with a 4.37 ERA in 24 games at Stockton last

year. The 24-year-old righty was selected by the A’s in the seventh

round of the 2011 draft.

AP Sports Writers Tim Booth and Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to

this report.