“I can’t lie to you. I’m going to miss everything about D.C.,” Morse said. “Especially the team we constructed now, we got to where we got to [last year] without knowing any better. Now, those guys, they have one goal. Now being on the outside, it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Rizzo can only hope his second trade involving Morse works as well as his first. In June 2009, Rizzo, then the interim GM, traded Ryan Langerhans for Morse. As Morse blossomed into a star slugger, Langerhans appeared in 21 games over the 2011 and 2012 seasons combined.
“I’m going back to an organization where I was a kid,” Morse said. “And now I’m a man.”
Treinen, 24, went 7-7 with a 4.37 ERA and 4.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24 games, including 15 starts, at high-Class A Stockton last year. Stockton, where Cole struggled, is part of the California League, which annually produces inflated offensive numbers.
The Nationals’ trade of Morse is in no small way a show of faith in Tyler Moore, who becomes their primary right-handed pinch hitter and the backup to LaRoche at first base. As a rookie in 2012, Moore had a .263 batting average, .327 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging percentage, with 10 home runs, in just 171 plate appearances.
The Nationals are favored to make it back to the playoffs, but it may not feel quite the same without Morse. He will leave behind only warm feelings, even if the Nationals sent him back to where he once came from. He even considered leaving behind his trademark song.
“I’m 50-50 right now,” Morse said. “I feel like that’s something me and the people of D.C. kind of shared. We’ll see how it goes.”
Morse will not walk to the plate at Nationals Park with “Take On Me” playing again. Fans will not rise and sing along, the final lyric echoing through the stadium, high-pitched and a capella: “I’ll be gone / In a day or two.”