Pirates Unconditionally Release Michael Morse

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Thursday afternoon that they have unconditionally released first baseman Michael Morse. He was designated for assignment last week to make room on the roster for reliever A.J. Schugel. Morse went 0-for-8 this season in six games, making one start at first base and pinch-hitting the other five games.

The Pirates will be on the hook for the remaining portion of his $8M salary, with $3.5M of that coming from the Dodgers in the Jose Tabata trade last year. If another team signs him to an MLB contract, they will only be responsible for a pro-rated portion of his salary based on league minimum, which would mean about $460,000 at this point.

That would still mean the Pirates are paying him at least $4M this season, which is only off-set by the fact that they would have owed Jose Tabata $4.5M this season if he wasn’t traded away.

  • I look forward to Rogers getting a chance. It was always kind of difficult trying to figure out the Pirates’ plans for Rogers — but had to assume they had one b/c they gave up some value to get him. Maybe Morse sticking with the big club was one of those situations where a club prefers the guy with the longer-term future to be playing vs. sitting on the bench. The other guy who seems now to be an overspend is Rodriguez. If they are adequate at 1B with Jaso/Freese/Rogers and have some flexibility in the middle infield with cheaper options, is Rodriguez really worth the money? When Kang comes back, there will be another roster crunch. Maybe Florimon goes but would anyone really think the Bucs were worse off if they found a way to trade Rodriguez and kept Florimon (or relied upon any of the AAA middle infielders)?

  • The trade was garbage in garbage out. To bad it didn’t work out for both teams and players. Entities crushing the Rangers 3 zip after one.

  • Although this was a trade of salaries it was still a mistake if you you look the Tabata contract. $4 million with the PBC budget constraints is like $20 million to the Cubs.

    • Meh, the Pirates have rolled the dice well with some of the extensions…Tabata was a miss. It sucks when it happens…but, it happens.

      • The surplus value from martes six year 31 mil extension should cover the sunk cost of tabatas six year 37 mil extension, not to mention Cutch’s and potentially Polanco’s surplus value so let’s go bucs

        • I’d say Cutch’s contract is already a winner as they never had to go through arbitration with him. I’m guessing that process would have gotten him a lot more than the $30M the Pirates paid him ’14-’16.

          But, yeah, I agree…the risk with extension is they don’t work out for the team…of course, when they do…they don’t work out for the player. The team should be going the extension route with its’ young talent and, every once in awhile it’ll end up being the bad call. Price of doing business, I s’pose.

    • Disagree, I still feel this was a very shrewd move.

      Remember, at the time of the trade the Pirates were neck and neck with the Cards for the Division title while limping along, once again, with a busted 1B platoon. Corey Hart was a dumpster fire from the start and should’ve never passed a physical, if they even bothered to give him one, and Sean Rodriguez couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a fucking boat. Morse filled a need very well, and it only took a marginal salary commitment plus a player that was never going to be used anyway.

      I’m still not convinced Morse doesn’t have a place on the current roster, FWIW. Freese is smoke and mirrors on offense right now, and Cervelli can’t play 1B. An injury to Jaso, which has happened every single year he’s played Major League Baseball, and the club is left calling up Bell or 28 yo Jason Rogers to be the everyday guy.

      • NMR, Morse is barely, and I emphasize, BARELY, better than Pedro, on both offense and defense. This team has some real weaknesses to address. If it ever came to having to rely on Morse as the everyday first basemen, you could for sure, in the words of the late, great, Bob Prince, kiss this season good-bye. We have to get the pitching stabilized, and right now, and no team ever has enough bench strength. I think Jason Rogers will add to the bench. I see us being dangerously close to being double digits behind the Cubs by May 1st. So, moves must be made, and this one was the most obvious one.

        • Forgive me if I’m being obtuse, but I didn’t see an answer for who *would* be the everyday 1B in the event of a Jaso injury.

          • I appreciate the Shawshank reference.

          • S-Rod. And nobody hated his signing more than me. He is a different hitter than the guy who would go up to the plate last year – take three strikes and go back to the bench. K rate 15% down from 26%. 3rd highest fWAR on the team at 0.7 in just 20 ABs – Jaso at. 0.5 in 65

        • And FWIW, I’ll readily admit that Mike Morse could just suck at this point. He wasn’t good enough to get at bats over Pedro *or* Aramis Ramirez after being acquired last summer.

          But I also don’t think the decision is necessarily clear, more of a toss up.

        • If- that was true. Morse being barely better than Pedro- Pedro is still making about 4 million this year to play in Baltimore, not sitting at home eating cheetos. Morse is actually significantly better on defense (at least 1 full win better) and he didn’t get a chance to even play his side of the platoon early to even SEE if he had any value left in him.

      • Free James Loney!

        No, I mean it. He’s free. Take him.

      • The 28 year old Jason Rogers who we traded a potentially good pitching prospect for for some odd reason.

        • WTF does ” potentially good pitching prospect ” mean ? Dumbest descriptive sentence I have seen in quite some time.

          • I’m sure I can find a dictionary somewhere………do you need an abacus or anything else while we get up?

      • Morse was good as gone when Rogers was traded for and he was really gone when we picked up Freeze. Isn’t the whole point this season to bring up the prospects? It has to happen somehow. It’s only a matter of time before Rogers gets called up and its inevitable that Bell is our future 1st baseman.

        • The whole point of this season is to win the world series. The prospects will come up but there’s no need to rush them just to see them stuggle because other teams identify and play to their weaknesses. Rogers still has multiple options and has hit well at every level, including his brief MLB time so it makes sense to drop Morse especially with Kang close to returning so Freese can be used as a solid bench bat/corner infielder.

          • …..the whole point for who? You as a fan? …or the organization? Because the organization has made it pretty clear since late November that it wasn’t “trying” to win the World Series this year.

            • I’m sure they could have done a lot less if they weren’t trying to win. Just because they don’t make the moves you want doesn’t qualify them as not trying.

              • trying to win games within a specified budget with a watchful eye towards the next 2-4 years and having “winning the world series as the whole point for this season” are two different things. Don’t criticize me unless you quote me, i’m tired of defending myself because people put words in my mouth. It is obvious to any idiot that the moves this year are not with the intention of winning the world series this year……….doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t, but it wasn’t done with that intent or singular purpose

                • My reply to you actually only addressed whether they were trying to win or not. And I wasn’t criticizing anyone either. It’s only the comments section, not a witness stand.

                  I was just offering my counter point.

                  • So you are responding to a comment I never made, that wasn’t even addressed to you in the first place….okay, just checking.

                    • I made 2 comments. One was a response to you about whether the Pirates were trying to win or not. Which you did say something about. I figured it was ok to express an opinion in the chat section of an online article. My bad.

                      The other is clearly a response to jimmyz about the point of the season, which somehow has been construed as an attack on you. That’s the part I don’t get. The comment WAS made, but not by you. Which is why I responded to someone else. Not you.

                    • Mike- if you aren’t replying to me then learn which “reply” button to use- this isn’t that difficult. One is under my name, one is under Jimmy’s. Sarcasm isn’t necessary when you are the one whom made a mistake. Moving on….

                    • I didn’t make a mistake. I made one reply to you. And one to someone else that you took personally for some reason. I’m not even being sarcastic, but I have no clue what you are talking about. The post is right below here. It clearly says that it is a reply to jimmyz.

                    • Timothy Wolfe
                      April 24, 2016 10:49 pm

                      Wow Mike…..It seems you really have trouble with communication. I know exactly what he was saying…….you took his statement out of context and then never acknowledged you had done so. Your bad man, move on.

                    • What did I take out of context? He said the pirates weren’t trying and I said that they were, just not in the way he would like. Then for some reason I’ve had to have multiple posts explaining myself about a comment that wasn’t addressed to him or you for that matter. I didn’t make any mistake, I responded to 2 different people and for some reason it’s being treated as a single post.

                    • yeah…you did make a mistake. I made a comment about us not building this team to win the world series this year, then you replied to me- indicating some sort of sourness that we weren’t trying to win in general. So you took a very specific comment I made, changed it in your mind mind, then replied to it…….so you replied to a comment I never made, since I never said we weren’t trying to win, I said this team wasn’t built with the singular purpose of winning the World Series this year, a fact which is evident to everyone in the whole organization. Now, please let this die.

                    • If you want this to die so badly you’re perfectly welcome to stop responding to me as well. I do think saying the team isnt trying to win the world series this year is a sour statement. Its certainly makes no sense to me . And you are welcome to think that. It’s an Internet comment section. I really don’t get the level you seem to be taking this to. Its not personal. We can disagree. It’s allright.

                    • you can disagree with my statements all you want, just don’t interpret them and think i’m not going to clarify what i meant. Its not a sour comment because i meant it very “matter of factly” I don’t care that we didn’t construct the team to win the world series this year, the team is under no obligation to do so if they think its going to hurt their chances to be good 3-4 years from now. You are so late to this discussion its ridiculous, as this comment section has been chatted about to death regarding the roster construction, free agent pickups, the trades etc……. so much that I can’t even claim any comment about it as my own original thought at this point. If you think that they did construct this year to win the world series, then quite frankly, you don’t know much about baseball, and you are about the only person i’ve seen commenting since October that thinks that….. you are entitled to your opinion, but you are in the vast minority here my friend, so you aren’t in the position to judge my comment as sour.

                    • There’s nothing wrong with wanting to clarify what you’re saying, and I never did anything to discourage you from doing so. Why it has to include telling me how late I am to the discussion and questioning whether I know anything about baseball I’m not sure, but whatever. No, baseball is not the sport I know the most about, but I have also probably read about 95% of the content this site has put out the last 2 years so please don’t talk to me like I just came in and have no clue what is going on.
                      I stand by my original point, which is not to judge you or call you sour or anything, but that management has their plan in place and although we may not like some of the moves it doesn’t mean they’re not putting effort into winning a world series this year. Obviously they can’t mortgage the entire future for this year. I know no one is suggesting that. But signing Freese, Nicasio, and Feliz were all part of a plan to win THIS year. The Rogers deal was also aimed at helping this year. Did they do everything I would’ve liked? No. I’m sure a lot of us feel that way. And that’s the last thing I’m going to say about a random post that has gotten way too much attention at this point, lol. If you feel the need to have the last word then have at it buddy. I’m done with it.

          • If the point is just to win the world series this year then lets get on the phone and deal everyone who this site was built to cover. I’m sure Glasnow, Taillon, and Meadows alone could get us some solid pitching depth.

      • You are overlooking the great S-Rod!

  • Morse was what he was…an opportunity to rid the team of Tabata with a shot in the dark for upside.

    It didn’t work out…but it was no worse than the alternative.

    FWIW, it the hitter-friendly PCL, Tabata’s putting up a .433 OPS.

    • I wonder if Morse will go to the minors with a team or go to Japan.

      • If I’m Morse, I go to Japan.

        Not because it will allow him to rebuild value…I doubt it will. One good season there and he’s still a 35 year old looking for a gig in the majors.

        But, in his position I still go, because, rumor has it, the country is filled with Asian women. That, alone, is enough to seal the deal.

    • Excellent point, Blaine. Spot on accurate!!

    • Don’t hate on Tabata’s numbers, that’s a decent OPS for a guy in his age 45 season

      • That’s always been the bugaboo…no idea how old he really is.

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    • Oddly enough, I like the way that trade did work out.

      We lost Tabata, and Morse tripped his way into some value for us late last year….and we didnt have to use him almost at all this year. Thats about best case scenario in my book.

  • Money better spent elsewhere. Morse needed to be traded in the offseason

    • And on MLB the Show, im sure it could have happened.

      But oddly, there isnt a market for in their mid 30s 1Bmen without a plus hit tool and average defense.

      • What is MLB the Show? Is that a video game? There are plenty of ways to trade a player and they could have traded Morse. They traded Morton who is even further removed from good production and is more expensive and has injury history…a long one.

        • Well im sure if you say it enough, it makes it true.

          Yes, bad SPs have a better market than bad 1Bmen. And Morse was a poor option at 1B. Morse is older, plays a less valued spot, and hasnt seen more than SSS production in years.

          No team is trading anything but a lottery ticket for Morse, and they arent eating salary.

          They traded Morton for basically nothing, and yet we magically could trade Morse for something of value? Morse is a FA because of his value. He’s a backup 1Bmen with average defense and the best years of his offense 2 years behind him.

          • Who said we would get something of value?

            • Jared…its not that we would get anything of value, it is just that the other teams wouldn’t want him at that salary.

              We would’ve traded him for a used jock strap, but nobody wanted him even at that price.

              Look at how many offers we got for Pedro.

              • Not at all the same situation.

              • Excellent point, Leefoo. I could not have said it anymore accurately. There was no sense keeping Morse, with his long, looping swing, and average at best defense. This team has to get better pitching and bench strength, so this move hopefully will facilitate that.

                • how does removing Morse facillitate that at this point? I’m not being argumentative, just asking a real question

        • Charlie Morton is 1-1 in 3 games started this year…with 2 quality starts, and era in the mid 3’s, and 16 k’s in 16.3 innings pitched. Not too mention that he’s always been regarded league wide as a pitcher with incredible “stuff” yet a very poor injury history. So i’m really not quite sure how you can compare him to Morse who clearly has seen what very few tools he had erode to the point that he is a liability.

          • You do realize it was only in 2014 that Morse was quite an able player and a part of the Giants playoff run.

    • who would want him at that salary?

      • It seems the Pirates are so unimpressed by him that they are willing to pay 4.5 million to not even have him in the minors.

    • Obviously it just shows now and then that he could never be traded. Haven’t you figured that out? Not everyone can be traded…not even the guy we received for Tabata.

    • If no team was willing to pick up his salary plus $20k for a waiver claim now, what makes you think any team would have been willing to trade anything for him in the offseason?