Mike Morse’s injury-filled season of disappointment is now the problem of the Baltimore Orioles, who claimed him on waivers Wednesday and acquired him from the Mariners Friday at the deadline for outfield prospect Xavier Avery, 23 listed No. 10 by mlb.com among Baltimore’s top prospects.
Avery will be placed on the 40-man roster (now at 37) and sent to AAA Tacoma. He played 32 games for the Orioles in 2012, but spent this season between AA and AAA. He was a second-round pick in 2008 out of suburban Atlanta who spurned a football scholarship offer to play running back for the University of Georgia. Avery hit .259 this season with 29 stolen bases.
Morse, 31, played 76 games as a rightfielder/DH and hit .226 with 13 home runs and 27 RBIs. The Orioles are three games out of the wild-card race and for some reason think Morse will help at DH, despite his 80 strikeouts/20 walks ratio with the Mariners.
Morse came from the Washington Nationals, where he had 49 home runs with 157 RBIs the previous two seasons combined, in a January trade in which the Mariners sent catcher John Jaso to the A’s.
Morse, who will receive $6.75 million this year, is a pending free agent. The Mariners this week brought back Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list, which made for a glut of mediocre outfielders.
After hitting nine homers in 20 spring training games, Morse had six homers in the first 10 regular season games, then broke the little finger on his right hand when he was hit by a pitch. He missed only three games but never hit as well again. In late May he strained a leg muscle running the bases and eventually went on the disabled list from June 21 to July 30. He hit .167 with two home runs after returning.
Rosters will be expanded to 40 Sunday, and the Mariners are expected to take a look at other prospects in the usual tradition of Mariners Septembers.