Michael Morse was on the field for pregame stretch and batting practice today, but everybody around the team knows the Mariners are on the verge of getting rid of him. The Baltimore Orioles have already claimed Morse on revocable waivers, so if the two sides can’t work out a deal, Seattle could just let Morse go there in any event for the remaining month of salary he’s owed.
At this stage, there’s no point keeping Morse here. Mariners manager Eric Wedge seems to know this already, having not put Morse in tonight’s lineup.
“With Morse, we’re just giving him a couple of days to hopefully get a chance to take some BP today,” Wedge said. “He didn’t take BP yesterday. He has a chance to get out here, do some good early work. He was in the cage earlier as well. And then, we’ll get him back in there.”
Wedge said Morse isn’t “hurt” and that while he’d been bothered recently by a lingering wrist issue, he’s fine now.
In other words, the Mariners have no plan to use Morse until this whole waiver saga plays out. They have 48 hours to work out a deal, so the Mariners are likely trying to squeeze some type of living, breathing body out of the O’s. But they have limited leverage here, as it’s becoming obvious Morse is no longer a fit in Seattle.
Just yesterday, Wedge made comments about his disappointment in the lack of veteram leadership found in the middle of Seattle’s batting order. Now, he could have been referring to Raul Ibanez or Kendrys Morales, I suppose, though he’s always sung their praises up to now on the leadership front. That doesn’t leave a whole bunch of candidates other than Morse.
Today, I asked Wedge to clarify what he meant about the lack of leadership. Most of the regular media who cover the team were already en route to Houston and not covering yesterday’s game back in Seattle. So, this was the chance for him to spell it out more clearly.
“There are two different things,” Wedge said. “I think from the middle of the order, you’re looking for production from the guys who are there. That’s a big part of what you do from an offensive standpoint. (Especially) at this point, the time of the year, when you get into the end of August and into September, all the more so.
“With regard to the veteran leadership, I think sometimes it’s an important thing to be a little more vocal from time to time, with your team. I think our guys do a great job individually with each other, but sometimes you’ve got to be a little more vocal from a team standpoint when you’re playing like we played at home.”
Wedge said it’s no coincidence he spoke up now, with an entire month of season still to go and the Mariners having shown signs of collapsing altogether during the 0-6 homestand.
“Every game counts,” Wedge said. “We’ve got 30 games left and we’ve got to play each game like it’s our last. They look at how you finish. That’s more remembered than how you start.”
Again, Ibanez and Morales aren’t exactly the most vocal rah-rah types, so Wedge could be thinking of them to some degree. Morse tends to be on the quieter side as well, but I know there were times this season when the Mariners wanted him to take on a more active, upfront role, both in the clubhouse and with the media. In many respects, that never happened. Injuries did play a part in snuffing out his early season momentum, but even when he was hitting those six homers the first week or so, Morse never seemed truly comfortable being “out there” as “the guy” and I think that’s something the Mariners discovered this season for the first time.
So, anyway, as I’ve said, there’s no real reason to hang on to Morse any more. So, we’ll see how much longer the Mariners let this play out before Morse heads to Baltimore.