Unless you think like Joe who believes that trading Jason Donald will bring back a difference maker, the Indians simply are not going to trade for a 2-3 win player at the trade deadline unless they part with one, two or three of what I call the “prized group” of prospects: Jason Kipnis, Drew Pomeranz, Lonnie Chisenhall, Alex White and Trey Haley.
A player for the Tribe to consider is Michael Morse, who plays some first base and outfield for the Washington Nationals. Morse, 29, played little for Seattle and was traded to Washington in 2009. It was only last season that he hit .289 (.871 OPS) with 15 homers and 41 RBI in 266 at-bats. This season, he’s at .306 (.886 OPS) with 15 homers and 49 RBI. Morse is attractive because he makes only $1 million and won’t be a free agent until 2014. The price could be high for Morse in terms of prospects, but I’d be willing to talk about most guys in the system — but not the “prized group.” Morse is a right-handed hitter who makes more sense than 33-year-old Ryan Ludwick, who could leave at the end of the season. He’s not a prime defender at any position, but he can play the corner outfield spots, first and third base.
Morse was traded to Seattle in 2009 in exchange for Ryan Langerhans, and spent a month slugging in the International League before getting a brief look as Dunn’s defensive replacement at first. The polar opposite of fellow utilitarian Wee Willie Harris in size, handedness, speed, and plate approach, at first glance Morse’s four-corner skill set seemed to mesh well with Harris’s to complete some sort of Utility Player 3-D Cube Puzzle back in 2010, but according to most scouts, Morse’s missing piece was power. He never consistently produced the sort of thunder you’d hope for from an infield corner, even in a reserve role, which presages a short shelf-life, even with the talent-starved Nationals.
However, the past two seasons saw Morse hit double-digit homeruns while playing in that reserved role.
If the Indians look to upgrade the offense, Morse might be the best fit when considering low-revenue constraints.