By Shannon Drayer
While the deal that brought Mike Morse to Seattle and sent John Jaso to Oakland took form in just the last few days, deals involving both players have been discussed for some time. Jack Zduriencik has talked to Washington general manager Mike Rizzo in the past about acquiring Morse and in the last three weeks fielded calls from Oakland’s Billy Beane about Jaso. On Wednesday the three-way trade was completed.
“It just became a three-team conversation so at the end we were able to satisfy what we wanted and I think Oakland was able to satisfy what they wanted and Rizz got back prospects that he was seeking,” Zduriencik said on a conference call Wednesday afternoon.
The deal leaves the Mariners with just one catcher on the 40-man roster. Zduriencik said that he is working on bringing another one to Seattle.
“We’re going to be shopping, there is no doubt,” he said. “We like our catching in the organization, we have some pretty good young kids right on the horizon, but for our immediate needs we are going to be shopping.”
As for the loss of Jaso, one of his better bats last year, Zduriencik said that he was focused on bringing in a different kind of bat.
“Certainly Jaso has been a very nice player here, we know what he can do, what he is and of course with our catching scenario he was going to be a part-time player,” Zduriencik said.
“He added a lot to our club last year but I think when you are in the position to acquire an everyday guy who has a chance to hit the ball hard and hit the ball far, I think it does change your game. One of the things we have seen since I have been here is our lack of raw power; in Michael we have got a guy who has got big-time power.”
Morse will be the first to tell you that.
“I have more confidence than anybody,” he said on the conference call. “I feel like a lot of people think that Safeco is tough to hit the ball out of the park. If you ask me, I can hit the ball out of the Grand Canyon. The fences aren’t a problem for me.”
Morse, who missed 50 games with a lat strain last season, said that he is completely healthy now. He also pointed out that the injury forced him to miss spring training games and that it took about 150 at-bats to feel comfortable again. This will not be a problem for him this year.
As I mentioned in the previous post, defense is not a strong suit of Morse’s. We saw his growing pains trying to learn the outfield in his first go round with the Mariners. When asked Wednesday what position he felt most comfortable at, he had a surprising answer.
“The best I feel is at short,” he said with a laugh. “Put me back at short.”
Morse sounded genuinely excited to be coming back to Seattle.
“I am so excited, words cant describe,” he said. “Seattle gave me my first shot, I am glad to be back home. Seattle was one of the teams I was hoping for. I always felt like I had unfinished business in Seattle. I never got to prove myself completely about what kind of player I could be or who I am. This is another opportunity for me to show Jack and help this ballclub be a World Series champion ballclub that it should be.”