Wire Taps: Adam LaRoche Returns To Washington Nationals; Michael Morse Trade Talk - What They're Saying

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

The baseball world was talking about the Washington Nationals decision to bring Adam LaRoche back on a two-year deal and once that contract was announced, the discussion quickly turned to what the Nats will do with Michael Morse now that the slugger has no position to play...

The Washington Nationals believe Michael Morse is an everyday player. As of right now, however, he has no position with the Nats. With Adam LaRoche re-signing on a 2-year/$24M dollar deal that includes a mutual option for a third season, the talk yesterday quickly turned to what the future holds for Morse. The 30-year-old slugger was the backup option at first if LaRoche didn't return, now he's the potential trade chip that could bring the Nationals needed pitching depth or possibly a left-handed reliever. Mike Rizzo told reporters last night that he'd entertain reasonable offers. The New York Yankees quickly emerged as a team with serious interest in adding a right-handed bat to their lineup. Can the Nationals find the right deal? Will they really go into Spring Training with Morse on the roster? Rizzo said they don't have to deal the power-hitter. Here's what the baseball world is saying about the news out of the nation's capital... Links and lots of them, RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!! (Today In Two Parts):

• "The Texas Rangers like [Michael] Morse, but assume other teams will be more willing to meet the Nats’ price — high-ceiling prospects and possibly a left-handed reliever." - "Michael Morse, according to major-league sources, strongly opposes being a DH. " - Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports on MSN

• "The Yankees have been searching for a right-handed hitter to augment their lineup, with only modest results. But a relatively imposing hitter is now expected to become available." - "Nationals’ Michael Morse Moves Into Yankees’ Sights" - David Waldman, NYTimes.com

• NATS BEAT:

• "Manager Davey Johnson has admitted he could not foresee both LaRoche and Morse returning with Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Jayson Werth taking up any potential outfield spot for Morse." - "Michael Morse becomes trade bait" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "So Washington, potentially, has a very intriguing trade chip. [Michael] Morse, who will turn 31 in March, is under contract for $6.75 million in 2013 and can become a free agent next winter." - "Michael Morse makes for intriguing Nats trade chip" - Matthew Leach, nationals.com: News

• "With [Adam] LaRoche now back in the fold, the Nationals' starting lineup appears set. LaRoche will join Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman in the infield." - "LaRoche deal is official" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "What's fair value? Well, the Nationals are looking to replenish their pool of pitching prospects after trades and promotions have thinned out their crop..." - "Mike Rizzo on trading Michael Morse: 'We're certainly not going to give him away'" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "[Michael Morse's] career UZR/150 in the OF is -15, which is pretty close to the line at which you see teams decide that the lack of range is too much of a problem to continue the experiment." - "Some Comps for Mike Morse" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball

• "'[LaRoche] is such an important key on the team, not just on the field, but in the clubhouse,' said teammate Kurt Suzuki." - "Nationals re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche to two-year, $24 million contract" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "'We were in a pretty enviable position, negotiating-wise, because our other option was already under contract and in-house.'" - Mike Rizzo -"Rizzo on LaRoche and Morse" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "'You know me, I wasn’t stressing it a whole lot, but I’m glad it’s with Washington and not somebody else,' LaRoche said." - "Adam LaRoche, Nationals agree to 2-year deal" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "Manager Davey Johnson acknowledged at the Winter Meetings that if the Nats brought back LaRoche, it would be nearly impossible for the team to keep Morse." - "Nationals Pastime: LaRoche returns to Nats on a two-year deal (deal is official)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Adam] LaRoche’s two-month tour of the free-agent market lasted as long as it did for two reasons: his unyielding demand for a three-year hitch, and general manager Mike Rizzo’s strong leverage to avoid offering one." - "Rumor Roundup: Wednesday, January 9" - Daniel Rathman, Baseball Prospectus

• "[Adam] LaRoche, 33, also made no secret of his desire to play for a contender. That didn't leave many landing spots where he would be as comfortable as he was in Washington." - "Adam LaRoche signs two-year deal to return to Nationals" - Brian McNally, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "'At the end of the year, I was pretty confident I was coming back. There was a little stretch there it wasn’t looking good.'" - Adam LaRoche - "Adam LaRoche, Nationals agree to terms (Updated)" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "[Michael] Morse could be a fourth outfielder, spelling Bryce Harper or Jayson Werth in the corner spots, and he could spell LaRoche at first base." - "Nationals in no hurry to trade away Michael Morse after re-signing first baseman Adam LaRoche" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Now that LaRoche is on board, the Nationals will explore trade options for Morse, who has gotten bumped out of the lineup by no fault of his own." - "Nationals Pastime: Rizzo talks LaRoche signing, Morse trade options" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

•"Maybe [Adam] LaRoche didn’t think this was how things would work out, but then that would fall on his agent." - "Adam LaRoche Finally Caves, Re-Signs" - Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs Baseball

• "[Bryce] Harper seems destined to hit third or fourth over the bulk of his career, his power numbers likely to explode as he matures physically and mentally with each passing day in the big leagues." - "What lineup makes sense?" - Mark Zuckerman, NatsInsider.com

• "The team re-signed Zach Duke for the long-relief/spot starter role but haven't found anyone to fill the roles vacated by [Sean] Burnett and [Mike] Gonzalez on major league deals." - "Nationals not desperate for a left-handed reliever" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "'[Brian Goodwin] is a guy that has power, he has speed, he can defend and he can throw. He can be that five-tool guy,' said Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt. 'I think he can be a Curtis Granderson type of guy.'" - "Baseball America's Nats No. 3 prospect: Brian Goodwin" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "But if the Nationals enter trade talks with the Yanks, Washington would probably want a bigger trade package than just [Boone] Logan." - "Yankees reportedly working on bringing Washington Nationals’ Michael Morse to the Bronx in exchange for Boone Logan" - John Harper and Christian Red, NY Daily News

• "Earlier this winter, Johnson stated his preference in adding a second left-hander to the bullpen to help Duke, who would fill the role vacated by Gorzelanny as the left-handed long reliever." - "Mike Rizzo: Second lefty reliever ‘not a necessity’ for Nationals" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• "Back around the winter meetings in the first week of December, league sources said the Nationals' asking price on Morse was fairly high..." - "Michael Morse drawing significant trade interest after Nationals agree to terms with Adam LaRoche" - Amanda Comak, Washington Times

• "So why did manager Davey Johnson announce at the Winter Meetings last month that [Kurt] Suzuki is in line to be his starting catcher on opening day?" - "Nationals Pastime: Looking at the Suzuki/Ramos situation" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Fans were ready, though, to take a deep drink of the Nats, winners of the National League East, and their star boy wonder, Bryce Harper." - "Way Redskins, Nationals finished is tough to drink in" - Thom Loverro, WashingtonExaminer.com

• "[Tim] Raines played during an era in which Rickey Henderson was the dominant leadoff hitter, but the man known as 'Rock' was a difference-maker himself." - "Tim Raines hoping to 'Rock' HOF vote in 2013" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "The Nationals were swept New York in Washington last June by a combined score of 16-6 in a three-game interleague series." - "Nats will host Yankees in exhibition" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "The Nationals made an announcement a couple minutes ago, but it in no way relates to Adam LaRoche re-signing, Michael Morse's future or anything along those lines." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats to host Yankees for March 29 exhibition" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The Nationals announced that they will host the New York Yankees in an exhibition game at 2 p.m. on March 29, their final tuneup before the season opener three days later." - "Nationals to host Yankees in exhibition game at Nationals Park" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• Your Daily Message From The DalaiLama On Twitter (@DalaiLama): "We forget that despite the superficial differences between us, people are equal in their basic wish for peace and happiness." -

• NATSTOWN:

• "Nationals General Manger Mike Rizzo has the patience to wait for what he wants, and now that patience is being rewarded with the re-signing of one of baseball’s premier first basemen and a potential trade windfall." - "LaRoche coming back; Morse on block" - Marty Niland, D.C. Baseball History

• "Bucked Up: Adam LaRoche, Nationals, agree to two-year deal" - Nats Enquirer

• "The biggest question this off-season for the Washington Nationals was: Who will play first base for the club in 2013 and perhaps beyond?" - "Rizzo gets his man at his terms: LaRoche re-signs for two years" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page

• "After the dust settled from the atom bomb announcement, the next question arose: What number will the Shark wear?" - "Shark Number" - Sharkadina

• "So what about Morse? Presumably he'll be traded for a LH reliever or starting depth. Does he need to be?" - "LaRoche Signs; Trade Morse?" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "The LaRoche signing likely ends the tenure of OF/1B Michael Morse whose best defensive position is DH. Morse still has a year left on his contract and should bring something valuable back in a trade." - "LaRoche finally realizes he’s not getting better than a 2 year deal, signs with Nats; Morse now tradebait" - William F. Yurasko, William World News

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "Those who know [Frank] Wren’s modus operandi – or that of almost every other sports executive – should probably realize they rarely speak in absolutes with the media, usually for good reason." - "Bourn back to Braves? Rumor mill gets a spin" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mets: "New Toronto ace R.A. Dickey said Tuesday he’s thrilled to join a team that’s 'all in' to win the World Series and thankful the New York Mets did not meet his contract demands." - "New Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey says he’s thankful Mets didn’t meet his contract demands" - AP/The Washington Post

Marlins: "Another promising talent not yet on the 40-man roster is outfielder Jake Marisnick, who was also part of November's big trade with Toronto." - "Marlins Inbox: Which prospects are ready to step up?" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com: News

Phillies: "There is no optimal scenario for building the Phillies outfield this late in winter." - "Phillies' platoon in left has its pluses and minuses" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer

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