Another domino falls, as the Nationals reportedly just sent Michael Morse to the Mariners, who sent catcher John Jaso to the A’s, who sent pitching prospect A.J. Cole (formerly of the Nationals) back to the Nationals. The Nationals are also reportedly getting an additional “good” prospect from the A’s, and a PTBNL from the A’s (though the details on that part of the deal are still trickling out).
With Morse in the fold, the Mariners now have the market cornered on DH’s who probably shouldn’t be playing a position, together with Jesus Montero, Kendrys Morales, and Raul Ibanez. I can only assume the Mariners have their fingers crossed that Montero can catch full-time, and two of the other three can hold down the corner outfield spots (unless they’re planning to unload Justin Smoak, which they very well might after his disastrous 2012 season).
The A’s get Jaso, who is so thoroughly a Billy Beane player, that, well, of course they got Jaso.
As for the implications of the deal, it looks like a nice return for the Nats on Morse, whose trade value is arguably comparable to the Alfonso Soriano’s (if the Cubs even the money out). Morse is the better, younger bat, but is a free agent at the end of the year and is a butcher defensively. Soriano wasn’t going to the Mariners, either, so that’s a plus for his market.
Whether this impacts the Mariners’ pursuit of someone like Michael Bourn remains to be seen. Franklin Gutierrez is currently slated to start in center, but I’m sure the M’s wouldn’t mind upgrading. In some ways, this could push them even harder in Bourn’s direction.