This week the Marlins were dealt their first loss of the off-season. They had offered a two year $20 million dollar contract to Adam LaRoche, formerly of the Washington Nationals. Just a couple days later, he signed with the White Sox for 2 years $25 million dollars. The Marlins were not far off, but they still need a bat in the lineup to protect Giancarlo Stanton.
Enter Michael Morse. Yes, the Marlins already have a first baseman in Garrett Jones. However, he really did not provide the pop or the protection that the Marlins were hoping for. He hit under .250, had an OBP under .310, and his defense left fans feeling…uncomfortable. He will be making $5 million in 2015 and will certainly be moved if the Marlins can acquire Morse to help keep salaries low.
Morse is an upgrade over Jones in a number of ways. His slash line last year was .279/16/61 with an OBP of .336. While his power is almost dead on with Jones, he only played in 131 games this season, leaving room for improvement. Morse is comfortable playing at both first base and in the outfield, giving him some flexibility. Jones did play in the outfield in nine games this season, but that was more of a need than anything else. Morse played roughly two thirds of his games in the outfield and the rest of his time at first.
Morse is a year younger than Jones, but the difference between 32 and 33 is not enough of a difference to make this move alone. What Morse brings is the veteran leadership of being a World Series champion. Of course, Morse won the World Series just a month ago with the San Francisco Giants. Bringing in a player like Morse will be a great compliment to Stanton and will also help to give the clubhouse a voice that knows the journey to a championship.
The Marlins have multiple needs this off-season, and technically first base is not one of them. Garret Jones is ready to take the bag again, but if the Marlins could grab Morse for a deal close to what they were offering Adam LaRoche, he would be a huge addition for the team. Being younger than LaRoche, Morse is most likely looking for a longer deal, up to three or four years. The Giants are also going to try to bring him back after his success with the team in 2014. Morse is a longshot, but worth checking in on for the new face Marlins.