Hours before a series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, the Mariners announced they had traded utility man Mike Morse to the Washington Nationals. In exchange for Morse, Seattle received minor league outfielder Ryan Langerhans, a left-handed 29-year-old who is a former top prospect of the Atlanta Braves.
Morse had been all but eliminated from the Mariners’ future plans after injuring his shoulder and missing extended time in 2008. The shortstop/third baseman/outfielder had spent all of 2009 at Triple-A Tacoma, where he had posted a respectable batting line of .312/10/52 in 66 games this season.
Langerhans is a former big leaguer who, like Morse, is trying to shed the dreaded “Quad-A” label. He has had reasonable success at Triple-A over the years, but has never quite been able to put it all together in the majors. While spending time with the Braves, Oakland A’s, and Nationals, Langerhans has posted a career line of .233/24/105 in 474 big league games. His complete stat line can be found here.
The 6’3″, 195 lb Langerhans is slated to join the team when they begin their series in New York on Tuesday. He is expected to fill the defensive void in left field created when Endy Chavez was shelved with a season-ending injury. Much like Chavez, Langerhans is lauded for his defensive capabilities, and should provide a nice complement to the power bats of fellow left fielders Wladimir Balentien and Ken Griffey, Jr.
On an interesting side note, Langerhans was at one time traded for former Mariner Chris Snelling. In 2007, the Nationals acquired Langerhans from Oakland for the ex-Mariner prospect. In addition to being left-handed, line drive contact hitters, Langerhans and Snelling have a host of other similarities that M’s fans may notice.
The departure of Morse should be viewed as a benefit to both the team and the player. Morse had virtually no role with the Mariners, but should compete for playing time with the lowly Nationals. He was never able to stay healthy when it mattered, and paid the price for his injuries by spending significant time stashed away at Triple-A. Best of luck to Morse in the future.