The Facts: The Mariners acquire 1B/OF Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals, in exchange for catcher John Jaso, who was sent to the Oakland A's. The A's sent pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen to the Nationals, who will also receive a player to be named later.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America has a breakdown of all of the pieces of this trade, including a background on the pitching prospects.
- Keith Law of ESPN.com says that the trade makes "no sense" for the Mariners. As for the prospects, he says Treinen "a live arm but has some history of injuries "
- AthleticsFarm.com says that "the main conclusion that can be drawn from this deal though is that A’s general manager Billy Beane wants to win now."
- Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs.com says "the Nationals seem to have done pretty well. The A’s seem to have done pretty well. The Mariners seem to have balanced the equation."
My Take: I love this deal for the Nationals, who had nothing to lose here. As soon as they traded for Denard Span and re-signed Adam LaRoche, Morse became completely expendable. Anything they got for him was a plus. So many teams, once an organization gets into win-now mode, they ignore the farm system. It would have been tempting to trade Morse for a piece for their major league roster for this season, which likely would have resulted in them taking on a less-valuable, but more specific piece that they needed. Instead, they got maximum value for Morse and helped rebuilt a farm system that had been depleted by promotions and trades.
In Cole, they got essentially the same talented but raw arm that they traded away a year ago. Cole struggled in High-A ball last season, something that happens to a lot of young pitchers in the California League, although his struggles weren't due as much to the hitter-friendly ballparks as much as it was a breakdown in his mechanics. He was demoted back to Low-A ball, where he had plenty of success. He'll attack High-A ball again this season, getting to try his hand at the much more pitcher-friendly Carolina League instead. Assumming he's successful there, he could be in Double-A by the end of the season.
Treinen is a 24-year-old right-hander who has had an injury history but made a career high 15 starts (28 appearances) in 2012. Given his injury history, strong arm, and lack of a good change-up, and the fact that he'll be 25 next season and in Double-A, he should end up in a relief role if he makes it to the majors with the Nationals.