Michael Morse to Orioles: Baltimore Acquires Mariners' RF for Xavier Avery

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2013

The Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder Michael Morse from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for 23-year-old prospect Xavier Avery, the club announced on Twitter.

The Orioles have acquired OF Michael Morse from the Mariners in exchange for minor league OF Xavier Avery.

— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 30, 2013

Baltimore is currently in a fierce wild-card battle in the American League. The O's are trying to chase down either the Tampa Bay Rays or Oakland Athletics—or the Boston Red Sox for the AL East crown—for a second consecutive berth in the postseason.

The Orioles hope Morse will rediscover the hitting ability he showed with the Washington Nationals, where he was a key piece of the offense before moving to Seattle.

He struggled in his short stay with the Mariners, hitting just .226 in 76 games with an OPS of .693, the lowest mark of his career. In the previous three seasons with Washington, he didn't have an OPS below .791.

Baltimore hopes he can bounce back to at least that level for the stretch run. Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado have been carrying the offense so far, but another power, right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup would provide a major boost.

In exchange, the Mariners receive an intriguing prospect in Avery.

The outfielder had limited success in 32 games with the Orioles last season, prompting the organization to give him more time in the minors to open 2013. He conquered Double-A to the tune of an on-base percentage near .400 in 39 games before moving up a level.

Avery, who's stolen 29 bases in the minor leagues this season, combines good speed with promising stretches at the plate. He's in the midst of one of those runs right now, hitting .342 over the past 10 games before getting dealt out west.

By swapping a young outfielder with promise for a veteran, the Orioles are clearly are focused on making a serious run at the playoffs. They need Morse to help them make up some ground.