By Jason Shetler
Michael Morse was acquired by the Pirates from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline this past season in an effort to improve the bench. He provided some nice production coming over, as he put up a .782 OPS along with a 118 OPS+ in 45 games. Morse signed a two-year deal with the Miami Marlins last offseason, which has him under contract for the Pirates in 2016.
With the Pirates decision to non-tender Pedro Alvarez this offseason, Morse is projected to play first base regularly, unless they decide to make a move for another first baseman. The Pirates just acquired Jason Rogers from Milwaukee. Because Rogers can play first base, many have wondered if the Pirates will move Morse. That speculation is certainly valid, but my guess is they’ll try to get another first baseman before making Morse expendable.
The Pirates could still have interest in Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, even after talks cooled off during the Winter Meetings. Perhaps Morse can be used as a possible trade chip in a Moreland deal. Another scenario would be sending a different package to obtain Moreland, and then trading Morse for a left-handed reliever, which is also a need this offseason. As mentioned, I think Morse being dealt will hinge on whether or not the Pirates go after a left-handed hitting first baseman.