The Miami Marlins have reportedly reached an agreement with outfielder Michael Morse on a two-year deal.

Joe Frisaro of confirmed the signing was complete:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports provided the financial details:

Morse will now have played for five teams over the past four seasons. He’s coming off a campaign where he posted a .336 on-base percentage with 16 home runs for the San Francisco Giants before playing a notable role in the team’s World Series run.

In terms of regular-season numbers, his breakout came in 2011. That’s when he hit .303 with a .360 OBP and 31 homers for the Washington Nationals. He hasn’t been able to replicate that production in the years that followed, but he boosted his value with the solid playoff showing.

After the Giants captured the title, Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post passed along the slugger’s comments about the crazy journey he’s been on in recent years.

“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Morse said. “Sometimes you could say, at the end, it all makes it worth it. Sometimes you don’t have a storybook. But you get a big ol’ book. I feel like I’ve done a lot.”

The two main concerns with Morse are injuries and defense.

He’s played in more than 130 games in a season just twice. One of those was his aforementioned best season to date with the Nationals, and the other came this past campaign. Otherwise, he’s spent quite a bit of time banged up throughout his career.

Defensively, the Florida native has played all over the field. He actually broke in as a shortstop with the Seattle Mariners in 2005. He’s gone on to spend time at all of the corner infield and outfield spots without showing great proficiency at any position.

That said, the Marlins are not signing Morse for his glove. They are bringing him in to provide some extra pop in the lineup.

Jesse Spector of the Sporting News notes that he’s likely to wind up in a platoon situation:

The Marlins’ outfield consists of a 25-year-old superstar in Giancarlo Stanton, alongside younger budding stars in Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. So, while Mike Morse played 84 of his 131 games in 2014 in left field, that is not where he will be playing in Miami. … 

… He will be able to spell a corner outfielder on occasion, but mainly he figures to play in a platoon with lefty-swinging Garrett Jones. …

… As important as filling out first base is for the Marlins, a big benefit of signing Morse is the addition of power to the Miami bench in the form of whichever of Jones or Morse is not in the lineup on a particular day. Marlins pinch-hitters combined for minus-1.6 wins above replacement last year according to – the only National League teams who did worse were the Phillies and Cubs.

In a perfect world, he’ll be able to play in upward of 140 games while hitting at least 25 home runs and driving in around 90 runs. If he can reach all of those plateaus, there’s little doubt the season would be considered a success, regardless of his defensive contributions.

It all begins with staying on the field. He’s coming off a generally healthy season with the Giants. The hope among the front office will be that he can finally put those injury woes behind him and avoid any extended stints on the disabled list.

Ultimately, signing Morse doesn’t come without some risk. But he definitely adds more potential to the lineup, and when teams are scouring the free-agent market for possible additions, they tend to focus on the upside.

Miami will hope he can parlay his strong finish to 2014 into a successful 2015.


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