Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Morse is Going Back to the Outfield. We Don't Like It.

After Mike Morse's 21st ridiculously long home run of the season on Tuesday night, NatsTown was officially informed that Davey Johnson has little intention of playing Morse at 1st base after the September 1st expanded rosters. To make matters more interesting, Adam LaRoche has been all but guaranteed the starting 1B job once he's healthy.

I'm not quire sure how Beast Mode has taken this news, and he may have already known it from the start. But it doesn't sit well with us for a couple reasons.
  1. Morse is hitting .334/.389/.607 in his career as a first baseman. Granted, it's on a fairly small sample size limited mostly to this season, but it's hard to argue with results. If Jose Reyes continues being hurt, there's a real chance that Morse could win the NL Batting Title.
  2. As a left fielder, his numbers aren't so pretty: .248/.292/.339. Again, this is with an even smaller sample size, and lots of those numbers came from the disastrous start to this 2011 season when Adam LaRoche was (relatively) healthy and playing daily.
In all reality, the Nats didn't have a whole lot of options for Morse in yet another non-playoff season for the team. Eventually, the organization has to see what Chris Marrero can do against MLB pitching, so he'll get that chance this September.

The future will be interesting though, because as far as we know, Adam LaRoche will make a full recovery from shoulder surgery and return next season. Morse doesn't look natural in the outfield and has been outstanding at first base, but LaRoche has never played a day in the outfield in his MLB career. You certainly can't force him there now, and you have to play him when he's healthy. He's set to earn $8 million in 2012.

Luckily for the Nats, and all of us, Morse is under team control until the end of the 2013 season. With Bryce Harper set to make the trip to DC before then, another big free agency coming up, and a relatively hot middle of the order (Werth is still going to figure it out, right?), the Nats have certainly seemed to figure out their offensive problems of the 1st half. Now if they can avoid changing too many players' daily routines, it'll make the situation a lot more fluid into next year.


  1. I completely agree that first is the natural position for Morse. You cannot convince me that LaRoche can return from that kind of surgery and that long of a layoff and be the player he was. He simply will not be able to just step in and play gold-glove first base and hit every day. How LaR actually performs will help determine the outcome, but this team cannot afford to mess around with Morse. I am hot looking forward to this experiment.

  2. Should have been NOT looking forward to this experiment - but I am "hot" about it.

  3. Macmom, as far as recovering from LaRoche's type of injury, see Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox. He had the same surgery in the offseason. He seems perfectly fine to me. Shoulder surgery is way different for a position player than a pitcher.

    LaRoche is an even better defensive firstbaseman than Morse and he is a consistent 25 homer 85 RBI guy with a left handed bat that is missing from the middle of our order. I never thought Morse looked that lost in the outfield either. If everyone remembers, Morse hit rather well in RF last season so I don't think the position thing has anything to do with his bat.


  4. Because two high school kids with a blog know more than Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson. Okay.

  5. We have our first angry commenter in months. We're back to being relevant!

    Also, person who refuses to say his/her name, if you read the whole post, you would have seen that the last 3 paragraphs talk about how they had no other options and does actually make the most sense.

    But thanks for your condescending words. We love knowing we have haters out there.

  6. You two are high schoolers? Wow - congrats on an insightful, well-written blog!

    Also, congrats anonymous - you've just succeeded in increasing my opinion of these two!

  7. Before this goes viral and crazy, I do have to add that we are, in fact, not high schoolers. That is all.

  8. ...I suppose I should say something baseball-related, though - right?

    Giving some time to Marrero at first and moving Morse to left makes sense for September. Not only are you giving Marrero a tryout, but you're also giving Morse a tryout at left. This should shed some light on whether Morse is only in Beast Mode at first, or if he can continue that hitting at a position where he failed to hit in the beginning of the year.

    If Morse does continue his hot hitting at left, and LaRoche returns to form next year, then you're all set for 2012 (I doubt Marrero will earn a starting job - seems to lack power for the 1B position). Then in 2013 LaRoche's 8M comes off the books and Morse can move back to first, and Harper in left. I do NOT like Werth playing CF, though I love his fielding/arm in right.

    Of course, this is all assuming the best-case scenario of Morse continuing his hot hitting.

    Just make sure you leave enough time for Gomes - I want that tasty sandwich pick! (mmmm...sandwiches...)

  9. NOT high schoolers? Opinion decreased....

  10. Joe Drugan > "Before this goes viral and crazy..."

    I doubt that will be a problem. Being linked to Mark Zuckerman's Nats Insider blog might be the only reason you get any traffic. Have fun with your diary boys.