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2014 Free Agent Profile: Michael Morse

The Mets need power and Morse has plenty of it. Could the two be a match for 2014?


On the surface, Michael Morse looks like a perfect fit for the Mets in 2014. The Mets have continually reiterated their need for offense, specifically out of the corner outfield spots. Sandy Alderson wants big power hitters lining up alongside center fielder Juan Lagares in 2014, and Morse is a big power hitter.

Additionally, while the Mets have around $50 million coming off the books between the ill-fated contracts of Johan Santana, Frank Francisco, and Jason Bay, and claim to have plenty of money available, some in the industry still remain skeptical of their spending habits. Morse, thanks to the bevy of injuries he has suffered in the last couple of years, will be the perfect buy-low candidate for Alderson, a la Shaun Marcum, Chris Capuano, and Chris Young.

After a superb breakout season in 2011 that saw him slash .303/.360/.550 with a 148 wRC+ while swatting 31 home runs, Morse limped through the 2012 season, playing in 102 games while posting a disappointing 113 wRC+. He was then traded in the offseason to the Mariners and would have been no more than an afterthought in 2013 if not for his embarrassing performance at the end of the season with the Orioles—yeah, he was traded again—when he slashed .103/.133/.103 with a -46 wRC+.

But there seems to be an enormous power shortage in the market this offseason, so much so that guys who missed all of the 2013 season or managed to slug .334 with a .661 OPS (recognize this guy?) seem to be generating a lot of interest. Teams will probably be willing to disregard Morse's last couple years and look more at his 2011 season and short-yet-productive 2010 season. After all, when he's healthy, Morse has proven that he can be a a top 15 offensive player, better than Albert Pujols, Evan Longoria, Troy Tulowitzki, and other offensive beasts.

The cost

Not so much, especially for a big market team that claims that they can spend like a big market team again. Given his laundry list of injuries and disappointing seasons yet ability to mash, Morse could find himself inking a one-year deal worth around $5-7MM with a good chunk of incentives. Not so bad, especially considering the price the market's arguable top power hitting outfielder could command. Or the one that a disgraced power hitting outfielder thought was reasonable.

The fit

Not as great as you might think. While Morse has played the outfield the last couple of seasons, he has done a very poor job at it. For all the fans clamoring about Lucas Duda's defense in the outfield in 2013, amassing a very poor UZR/150 of -29.6, Morse was only slightly better with one that fell in at -26.3 (and, unbelievably, Morse was even a smidge worse in 2013 than his counterpart in left field who managed to pull this off).

Now, given his age and laundry list of injury problems, one would have to wonder if Morse would even fare better in the outfield than Duda would in 2014. In the end, given the unreliability of Morse due to his injury history and the fact that he would probably be better suited to play first or become a full-time designated hitter, an agreement with the Mets seems unlikely, or at least unwarranted.