Michael Morse only played in 102 games last season, but he soon may find himself one of the hottest trade targets on the market this offseason. Now that the Washington Nationals have signed Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal, Morse finds himself without a regular spot to play in the 2013 season. This means, the Nationals may shop him.
The source of this rumor, and the belief that Morse's value is increasing comes directly from Nats' GM Mike Rizzo. In an article by Dan Kolko of MASN, Rizzo said the team is exploring its options with Morse, but feels his value is going to increase.
"His value is only increasing in the industry as free agents sign," Rizzo said. "Mike's an everyday, middle-of-the-order hitter. We see him that way. I think the industry sees him that way. I think financially, we don't have to move him. We would move him in the right deal."
Morse has proven himself to be a power threat and can play both first base and the outfield. He could be a highly-valued commodity in this power-hungry league. Morse is still arbitration-eligible for the 2013 season and won't become a free agent until 2014. This gives the Nationals some flexibility on what they want to do with him. If the right deal comes along, they could trade him now, or they could wait for the July trade deadline.
Despite the injuries Morse suffered in 2012 (lat injury at the start of the season), he was still a productive hitter. Last season, Morse hit .291/.321/.470 with 18 home runs. He hit .303/.360/.550 with 31 home runs in his breakout 2011 campaign.