In the second inning Thursday night, bench coach Randy Knorr approached Manager Davey Johnson with a report. A few players had been heard a rumor the Orioles would not be able to work out a waiver-wire deal for Michael Morse, and Morse would have to stay in Seattle.
“They were interested,” Johnson said.
Either they had bad information or something. Morse, a fan favorite and beloved teammate in Washington, landed with the Orioles this afternoon in a trade from the Mariners, the team the Nationals traded him to in the winter.
In the final season before he becomes a free agent for the first time, Morse has had a rocky season. He has fought injuries and hit .226/.283/.410 with 13 home runs in 307 plate appearances.
His old teammates, though, are optimistic he will turn his season around back in the mid-Atlantic region. The Orioles, who are 6 ½ games out of first place in the AL East, need right-handed power and a regular designated hitter, which should provide Morse a consistent role.
“He a big impact on a lineup,” Johnson said. “In Camden Yards? I shudder to think. That ballpark is made for him. He’s that right-center hitter, and that’s the jet stream. He’s a good fit there.”
As much as any player, Morse helped cultivate the Nationals’ relaxed, fun-loving clubhouse atmosphere last season. After missing the season’s first 50 games with a lat strain, Morse hit .291/.321/.470 with 18 home runs. The Nationals had no room for him after they traded for Denard Span and re-signed Adam LaRoche, and so they dealt him to the Mariners for pitching prospects Ian Krol and Blake Treinen. Krol became a key member of the Nationals’ bullpen.
Now, Morse is back in the area with the team up the road. “They’ll be having Karaoke songs and all that over there,” Johnson said.