WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals runs to make a play at first base against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Washington Nationals won, 4-1. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
• Updated - 5:18 pm EST: According to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) the deal is a two-year deal, though the $'s are still not known. So if you were thinking "multi-year" deal meant the end of the Prince Fielder rumors, sorry, not just yet.
• Original Story: The Washington Nationals announced on Friday afternoon that they'd avoided going to arbitration with 29-year-old 1B/OF Michael Morse by agreeing on what the team is describing as a "multi-year contract extension." Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the Nats in their tweeted announcements on the deal, or in the press release on the deal, but they did say on the Twitter that, "This contract was agreed upon prior to arbitration figures being exchanged and was contingent upon a since-completed physical."
A report from CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) earlier this week said the two sides had exchanged arbitration figures with the Nationals submitting $3.5M while the player's side filed at $5.0M dollars. Morse is coming off a breakout year in his seventh MLB season. The 6'5'', 230 lb slugger hit 36 doubles and 31 HR's, taking over at first after Adam LaRoche went down with a shoulder injury and posting a .303/.360/.550 slash in 146 games and 575 plate appearances over which he was worth +3.4 fWAR.
Morse avoided arbitration last winter by agreeing to a 1-year/$1.05 million dollar deal before putting together what was by far his best season at the major league level. Asked in an MLB Network Radio interview earlier this winter for the reasons behind his big year, Morse told the hosts it was just a case of finally getting an opportunity. "The biggest thing for me was I got an opportunity," Morse said, "I got an opportunity to play and I got an opportunity to get that comfortable feeling and get a chance to just relax and tell myself that, 'You know what, if I don't get a hit today, I'm going to be in there tomorrow.'"
In 276 games following the June '09 trade with Seattle that sent Ryan Langerhans to the Mariners in exchance for the oft-injured Morse, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-born White Sox' 3rd Round pick (2000), has a .295/.353/.536 slash with 51 doubles and 49 HR's in 923 plate appearnances.
More info on the deal when it's available...