Yesterday the Seattle Mariners announced that Michael Morse, the power-hitting slugger who opened the season with impressive numbers, had completed his rehab stint at AAA Tacoma and would be rejoining the team in Boston.
Today’s afternoon contest will mark the first time since June 22 that Morse has been with the squad, as he had previously strained his right quad and aggravated it while attempting to play through the pain.
Not exactly the wisest move (but one that was needed, especially with the depth in the outfield at the time), Morse has spent quite some time getting healthy and ready for the final stretch.
His activation from the disabled list not only means another big bat in Seattle’s lineup, it means the Mariners had to clear some room for him on the roster. To do so, they designated veteran outfielder Jason Bay for assignment, giving the team 10 days to decide whether to trade, release, or outright him to the minors.
Obviously this is a situation not many people wanted to see happen this year. Signing the northwesterner to a one-year deal with a base salary of $1 million, Seattle’s front office had hoped Bay would once again find his All-Star swing after a few down seasons with the New York Mets.
That didn’t pan out, as Bay was hitting a mere .204 (albeit with 11 home runs) in 68 games.
Here’s what should happen with the Mariners, Morse, and Bay in the coming weeks.
Seattle with Morse Back
Now heading into a season-defining stretch of games that begins with the Red Sox this afternoon, there could not be a better time for Morse to come off the DL.
While it will undoubtedly take a little time for him to get readjusted to the big league (we’ll give him a game or two), we’ll also hope that most of his swing will come back easily and he will provide the Mariners with a little bit of extra offense.
Just 5 games under .500 now, the Mariners find themselves in an interesting situation with the trade three days away.
While they are 12.5 games back in the AL West and the Athletics look virtually unstoppable right now, Seattle is just 7.5 games back in the Wild Card and has the opportunity to make up a lot of ground in the coming weeks, especially considering the fact they will square off against many of the teams in front of them.
It’ll still be extremely tough for them to make a run at the Wild Card, but the added bat of Morse should provide some extra runs for a Seattle squad who will look to continue their recent hot streak.
What to do with Bay
The situation with Bay is a little tough to analyze in that it doesn’t appear Seattle would be able to get anything for him should they decide to put him on the market. Now with four down seasons after his outstanding years, Bay is clearly a shadow of the player he used to be. Attempting to sell him for a prospect won’t get you much, and I think that the best way to move him in a trade would be to put a package together, something I don’t want the Mariners to be doing, especially with the core momentum they have going.
Moving him to the minors also doesn’t seem like a good option to me. He’s had four years to try and get back on track, and it appears as though he just can’t find that consistency anymore. A trip to the lower levels won’t do him any good and would likely just worsen the problem.
The above two points lead me to believe that the best option for the Mariners in regards to Jason Bay is to release him. It’s tough to say goodbye to a player who was once so promising, but it’s what needs to be done.
$1 million is a lot of money to eat, but Bay did contribute (at least somewhat) during the 2013 season, so I’ll say Seattle would be eating about 2/3 of that contract.
An unfortunate situation, but I really don’t see any other way of dealing with Bay other than releasing him and hoping that he could potentially use his release as motivation to really figure out what is wrong with his approach at the plate.