Marlins, Morse agree to two-year contract
Deal with versatile slugger is pending physical
MIAMI -- The Marlins didn't need to look further than their own backyard to find their power bat. On Tuesday morning, MLB.com confirmed free agent Michael Morse has agreed to a two-year deal, pending completion of his physical. According to FOXSports.com, the deal is worth $16 million, not including performance bonuses. The club hasn't confirmed the agreement.
Morse, a South Florida native, projects to play first base and bat cleanup behind slugger Giancarlo Stanton in what is shaping up as a markedly improved Miami lineup. The 32-year-old was a major contributor on the Giants' World Series title team. The deal has been in the works for at least a few days, as Morse recently took a tour of Marlins Park.
The Marlins are hopeful veteran additions like Morse, right-hander Mat Latos and second baseman Dee Gordon will help lift them to their first postseason appearance since 2003. All three happen to be Florida natives. Morse and Latos are from Broward County, while Gordon is from Avon Park.
It's been a hectic three-week stretch for the Marlins. Since Thanksgiving, they've swung four trades and now have agreed to this pending deal with a power-hitting free agent. On Nov. 19, Miami signed Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract.
What Morse's arrival means for incumbent first baseman Garrett Jones is unclear. The club likely will explore trading Jones, who is signed for $5 million in 2015. But the veteran also may remain and be a left-handed-hitting first-base and corner-outfield option. Jones played some right field in late September after Stanton was struck in the face by a pitch.
At the Winter Meetings, the Marlins explored trade options for Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau and Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez.
But the reality the Marlins are now dealing with is they don't have many more pieces to trade. In their four moves since Thanksgiving, they parted with nine players.
Ideally, the Marlins coveted a left-handed power bat, which is why Alvarez and Morneau were strongly considered. But Morse has immense power, which will be helpful in spacious Marlins Park.
Morse belted 16 homers and drove in 61 runs for the Giants last year. He can play left field, but Miami's outfield is set with Gold Glove-winning Christian Yelich in left, Marcell Ozuna in center and Stanton in right.
For his career, Morse's slash line is .281/.335/.473 with 99 home runs and 333 RBIs.
In San Francisco, Morse was a postseason hero, driving in the decisive run in Game 7 of the World Series.
Miami's offense has now added speed in Gordon and power in Morse.
Miami's projected lineup now is:
1. Gordon, 2B
2. Yelich, LF
3. Stanton, RF
4. Morse, 1B
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Ozuna, CF
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS