The Orioles continue to attempt to bring in a hitter, claiming Seattle Mariners outfielder-first baseman Michael Morse off trade waivers after doing the same with Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham on Wednesday, according to industry sources.
That doesn’t mean the Orioles have landed either right-handed power hitter -- at least not yet. Once a player is claimed on revocable, trade waivers, the clubs have 48 hours to work out a deal -- that would be until Friday at noon on Willingham and Friday or Saturday for Morse, depending on when he was officially claimed.
If a trade cannot be agreed upon, the original team can revoke waivers and pull the player back. If they attempt to put him on waivers again, and he is claimed a second time, then that player automatically will go to the claiming team. That scenario does not occur often, unless the original team is looking for a straight salary dump.
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The Orioles have been seeking another hitter -- preferably a right-hander to serve as the designated hitter -- for months. They inquired about Morse and switch-hitting Kendrys Morales from the Mariners in July but could not find a deal at that time.
It’s believed the Orioles also put in a claim for Morales this month, according to two sources. Seattle, however, has already pulled him back, CBS Sports reported.
The Orioles have also been linked in various reports to left-handed hitting outfielder Jason Kubel, who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He could clear waivers and become a free agent. The Orioles had preliminary trade discussions with the Diamondbacks about Kubel this winter, but instead re-signed lefty outfielder Nate McLouth.
In an injury-marred season, the 31-year-old Morse is hitting just .226 with a .286 on-base percentage, 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 283 at-bats. A free agent at season’s end, the Orioles would only be responsible for roughly $1.25 million remaining on Morse’s contract.
He is likely more attainable than Willingham, who is signed through 2014 -- and has roughly $8.2 million remaining on a $21 million contract he signed in 2012. Willingham, 34, also has been limited by injuries this year, hitting .215 with 12 homers after bashing 35 home runs in 2012.
Because he is signed through next season and his trade value took a hit this year due to a knee injury, the Twins do not appear motivated to deal Willingham unless they can get a significant return. They’d be more apt to trade former American League Most Valuable Player Justin Morneau, who is a pending free agent.
CBS Sports first reported Thursday that the Orioles claimed Morse.