Baltimore Orioles 2013 in review: Michael Morse

Rob Carr

The Orioles were desperate, so they traded for Michael Morse as a last-ditch effort to allow their playoff hopes to live on. There were no survivors.

A man slips and falls over a ledge. He clings to the side of a cliff face. Below him, a plummet to a gruesome death awaits. Perhaps his head will be dashed against rock on the way down. He may fall into the river and drown. A crocodile may eat him. All that is certain is that he will fall and he will die. A lone weed is his only purchase and he clings to it with all his life. It is a flimsy weed that slips out of the rock underneath his weight. The weed will not last for long. He knows this. Still, he holds on, hoping against hope that a miracle will occur and he will live another day.

The 2013 Orioles are that man. Michael Morse is that flimsy weed. There was no chance that Morse would save the season. Still, he was all that was there. They traded Xavier Avery, a toolsy outfielder who never developed the baseball ability to be worth a lot as a player, to get him. They gave up nothing and they got nothing in return. The weed ripped out of the rock and the Orioles and Morse both fell to meet their end. Along the way down, the Orioles gave Morse about a million dollars.

Morse was terrible in nearly every facet of the game on the season. Before the trade, he batted .226/.283/.410, which isn't exactly terrible, now that I think about it, because you can do a lot worse than a .693 OPS. Defensively, he was bad, worth -16 runs by Defensive Runs Saved in only 580.1 innings.

As far as a hoped-for boost to save a season whose flame is flickering, it's no wonder the lights went out. Add to it the fact that he was battling a wrist injury and revealed shortly after the season ended that he would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left wrist.

The Orioles acquired Morse on August 30, just before the waiver trade deadline period ended. Over the last month he only got into 12 games for the O's, and in 30 plate appearances he recorded only three singles and a walk. That's a .103/.133/.103 batting line. This was not a surprise. Morse declined in OPS every month with the Mariners, missed most of June, and nearly all of July, with a strained quad.

There was hope that Morse might provide some boost against left-handed pitching, but he was clearly not at full strength when he was traded to the O's, and there was no miracle improvement once he got to Baltimore. He will be a free agent and his time here quickly forgotten.

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