By Shannon Drayer
The Mariners' outfield just got a little less crowded.
Earlier this week the team put Michael Morse on waivers and Baltimore claimed him. The Mariners had the option of pulling him back, giving him to the Orioles -- who would then assume his remaining salary -- or working out a trade, which is what they did Friday morning.
The Mariners have dealt Morse to the Orioles for outfield prospect Xavier Avery. Avery, who was currently in Triple-A, appeared in 32 games for the Orioles in 2012 and hit .223. He started this season at Double-A and came into the year ranked anywhere between seventh and 10th among Orioles prospects.
While there was interest in Morse at the trade deadline, general manager Jack Zduriencik decided to hold on to him. At the time the Mariners were on their way to a 15-10 month, by far their best, and the hope was Morse and other veterans still with the team would help the Mariners to a similarly strong finish. That has not happened.
Since the deadline, the team has gone 10-16 and Morse has struggled since coming back from the disabled list, hitting just .158/.200/.289/.489 in 76 at-bats. With a bit more time he may have found his swing but with suspect defense and a crowed outfield it was hard to keep putting him out there.
Dustin Ackley needs to be seen as does Michael Saunders. Morse most likely did not factor into the plans for the future nor did it look like he could gain the team a draft pick in the offseason. It would appear he could help Baltimore, which needs a right-handed power bat more than the Mariners, so the trade makes sense.
This move is the first of many we could see in the next few days with September callups less than two days away.