Mike Morse: Grading the 3-Way Deal Between Washington, Seattle and Oakland

Ron Juckett@ronjuckettContributor IIIJanuary 17, 2013

Mike Morse: Grading the 3-Way Deal Between Washington, Seattle and Oakland

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    Mike Morse is headed back to the Seattle Mariners.

    The Mariners Wednesday night acquired the first baseman in a three-way deal (via Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post and Nationals PR) with the Washington Nationals and Oakland Athletics.

    In return, the Nationals get back starting pitching prospect A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen along with a player to be named later from Oakland. To complete the deal, Seattle sent catcher John Jaso to the Athletics.

    Cole was the fourth-round pick of the Nationals in the 2010 draft before being traded last year to Oakland as part of the Gio Gonzalez deal.

    With that in mind, let us see how these teams did.

Washington Nationals

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    The Nationals did not have a spot in the lineup for Mike Morse after trading for Denard Span and re-signing Adam LaRoche.

    After keeping LaRoche in a two-year deal, it was obvious the Nationals were going to trade Morse for the best deal that they could.

    What they got in return was a pitcher who had already worked in their minor league system and $6.75 million off the payroll.

    A.J. Cole is a strikeout artist. He averaged 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his 37 starts in A ball. He also possessed pretty good control, walking just 43 in 184.2 innings.

    When Oakland started Cole at their Advanced-A level in Stockton, however, things did not go as well.

    Batters started connecting with his pitches and he lost seven of his eight starts. In just 38 innings, he gave up 60 hits and saw his ERA balloon to 7.82.

    A shift back down saw his numbers go right back to great.

    Blake Treinen is making the adjustment from a reliever to a starter in the Oakland system—also finishing the season at Advanced-A Stockton.

    Treinen also possesses good control, striking out four batters for every one that he walks. Splitting the season between the rotation and the bullpen, Treinen went 7-7. 

    The devil will be in the details of that player to be named later.

    While the Nationals did dump some salary and get two decent prospects, they do not get anything short-term here at all.

    Grade: C

Seattle Mariners

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    With the outfield fences being moved in at Safeco Field, the Mariners have been trying to find that big power bat to add to their lineup.

    First, they tried for Josh Hamilton via free agency.

    After Hamilton went to the Los Angeles Angels, they then had a deal in place with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Justin Upton. Upton, however, had a limited no-trade clause in his contract and Seattle was on that list.

    Outside of taking on a few more million in payroll, the Mariners really did not have to give up anybody to get Morse.

    John Jaso, who is going to Oakland, only spent one year up in Seattle, splitting his time between catcher and designated hitter. As it was, Jaso only started 39 games behind the plate.

    If Seattle was only looking to upgrade the DH position, then they got a great deal.

    Add in the fact that Morse can play first base and the outfield, and one will see that a healthy Morse can provide the power spark Seattle was looking for that they did not get in missing out on Hamilton.

    They also get to keep the four top prospects they were willing to send off to the Diamondbacks in the Upton trade.

    Seattle did very well here.

    Grade: A

Oakland Athletics

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    Oakland picks up a serviceable catcher who is under team salary control through the 2015 season in John Jaso.

    Jaso will split time with Derek Norris behind the plate.

    Of the pair, Jaso is certainly the best hitter, hitting .276 for the Mariners last year.

    He also has moderate power—hitting 10 home runs last year—and has a good eye at the plate—walking 56 times while striking out 51.

    While getting rid of a hard-throwing pitcher like Cole after just one season may seem a bit hasty, they pick up a player that fits right in to Oakland’s philosophy.

    Also, Treinen was a 23rd-round pick in the 2010 draft who was in the process of being converted into a starter.

    Jaso is a young and talented catcher who can get on base and is cheap. He also is, offensively, an upgrade to who they have at catcher right now.

    Oakland has also done very well here.

    Grade: A