MLB Trade Rumors: Seattle Mariners Still Looking to Improve Their Lineup

Jon Reid@@JonReidCSMCorrespondent IIJanuary 10, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 10:  Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals reacts after striking out against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Three of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 10, 2012 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Like him or not, Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has been working hard this offseason to improve his team's starting lineup.

Knowing that the Mariners had one of the weaker batting orders in all of baseball last season, Zduriencik has been exploring a series of different possibilities to address the team's offensive deficiencies.

First there was the hot pursuit of Josh Hamilton, before the 31-year-old elected to join the division-rival Los Angeles Angels.

Then the focus shifted to free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn, who would fit well into Seattle's plans, seeing as the team does need a prototypical leadoff hitter who can man the outfield. Unfortunately, there are a few factors that are certainly keeping teams, including Seattle, from inking Bourn to a deal.

Next, in an attempt to add some power to the M's lineup, Zduriencik pulled the trigger on a deal with the aforementioned Angels that saw Kendrys Morales heading to Seattle, while southpaw starter Jason Vargas was shipped to Anaheim.

Now, rumors are heating up regarding the possibility of Michael Morse being traded by the Washington Nationals.

And according to Jim Bowden of ESPN, Seattle is one of the teams that seems to be interested in acquiring Morse from the Nats:


There are10-11 teams in on Michael Morse.Seattle, Tampa Bay and Yankees have been most active trying to get him. #confirmed

— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) January 8, 2013


Could this be the second power bat that the Mariners have been searching for?

Morales was a good start, but even his presence in the M's batting order doesn't really turn Seattle into a powerhouse team at the plate.

Morse, however, would give the Mariners a pretty imposing middle-of-the-order along with Morales and Kyle Seager.

While Morse's OPS dipped below .800 for the first time since 2009 this past season, he was recovering from an injury and still managed to keep his strikeout total down and nearly 20 home runs in just over 400 at-bats.

While Morse and Morales may seem like high-risk propositions when their recent injury histories are taken into consideration, both players could help Seattle in a big way.

Not to mention, both Morales and Morse are set to become free agents after the 2013 season.

Therefore, should both of them struggle this season, the M's won't be stuck with long, expensive contracts.

If both sluggers can put up the kinds of numbers that they have in the past, though, Seattle will have the first crack at re-signing them and using the offseason to fill out their rotation and the top of their order.

Whether or not Seattle trades for Michael Morse, it's not very likely that they'll make a push for the postseason in 2013.

The starting rotation could use some more depth and the M's are missing a piece or two at the top of their order.

What Morse could do is solidify the middle of Seattle's lineup and allow them to focus on fine-tuning the rest of their team, helping them to make a postseason run in 2014.



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