Marlins land big bat for middle of order in first baseman Morse

BY foxsports • December 16, 2014

After filling two needs during last week's Winter Meetings, the Miami Marlins addressed the third and final glaring hole on their roster Tuesday morning.

The Marlins and free-agent first baseman Michael Morse agreed to a two-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Morse, who drove in two of the three runs for the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the World Series, hit .279 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs and 61 RBI in 131 games last season. He made $6 million in 2014.

A product of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Nova High School, he has appeared in 100-plus games just three times in his 10 big-league seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Giants. Various injuries concerning a knee, shoulder, quadriceps and oblique (in 2014) have kept him off the field.

Morse, who turns 33 in March, can play first base or the outfield. In 2014, he started 82 games in left field, committing two errors. As a first baseman for 43 games, he had three miscues. His breakout year came in 2011 with the Nationals when he batted .303 with 36 doubles, 31 homers and 95 RBI in 146 games.

Miami preferred a left-handed power bat to replace Garrett Jones, who hit .246 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI in 146 games last season. Jones would've worked better in a platoon, since he posted a .221 average against southpaws. He also committed a major-league-leading 13 errors at the position. Jones, who has one year remaining on his contract, would likely be dealt — perhaps to an American League team.

Earlier in the offseason, the Marlins pursued Adam LaRoche, but he signed with the Chicago White Sox for two years and $25 million. Miami also sought a deal with the Colorado Rockies for Justin Morneau — the 2014 National League batting champion — but the Rockies wanted All-Star right-hander Henderson Alvarez or right-hander Jarred Cosart in return. They will likely be penciled in as the No. 2 and No. 4 starters, respectively, in the rotation.

With the acquisition, the Marlins keep their remaining inventory after sending away top prospect Andrew Heaney in the Dee Gordon/Dan Haren trade. Another top prospect, Anthony DeSclafani, was sent to the Cincinnati Reds for righty Mat Latos. Other minor leaguers involved included catchers Austin Barnes and Chad Wallach and utility player Kiké Hernandez.

You can follow Christina De Nicola on Twitter @CDeNicola13 or email her at cdenicola13@gmail.com.


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