A new wrinkle has come up in the ongoing Logan Morrison trade talks that are crucial to the Miami Marlins' plans during this year's Winter Meetings. The Marlins view Morrison as extraneous at first base thanks to the Garrett Jones signing, but other teams are apparently viewing Morrison as more than just a struggling first baseman. First, it was MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli with this puzzling tweet regarding the Baltimore Orioles' interest.
#Marlins Logan Morrison one of 5 or 6 outfielders the #Orioles are looking at.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) December 10, 2013
If it was just the Orioles, I would pass it off as some sort of odd anomaly. But then news came forward this morning from Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
#Pirates #Rays talking to #Marlins about Logan Morrison, #Cubs too who would play him in OF rather than 1b. Hear Fla prioritizing 3b— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 11, 2013
Not only are the Tampa Bay Rays back on the list of teams interested after Sherman initially shot down the rumor, but the Chicago Cubs are now involved. Beyond that, the Cubs, like the Orioles, are viewing Morrison not as a first baseman, but as an outfielder.
Both the Orioles and the Cubs have established first basemen in Chris Davis and Anthony Rizzo respectively, so their interest would solely be for Morrison to play left field, a position he has not manned regularly since 2012. This is a surprising advantage for the Marlins in their quest to send Morrison away, because as far as Miami is concerned, Morrison's only viable position is first base, and it is likely the Fish were selling him in that fashion. With teams now interested in him as an outfielder, Miami can pawn him off as a corner outfield option for clubs looking for a big platoon half or even a full-time starter.
For the Fish, this can only help them. The early interest can only serve to increase the market for the 26-year-old Morrison. The fact that Morrison is a disaster in the outfield does not matter to Miami; they might know that internally, but if teams are inquiring, the worst that can happen is that they properly value Morrison as a huge negative in the outfield. This is still better than not valuing Morrison at all because a team already has a long-term first base option. Whereas clubs with holes at first base like the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates were the only teams on the market, now Miami can add a slew of other squads looking for outfield help.
In retrospect, it would have been nice to try to knock on the Arizona Diamondbacks' doors and ask about a deal there, given that the D'Backs were so interested in adding yet another viable "outfielders" that they traded a former top pitching prospect (Tyler Skaggs) for Mark Trumbo. But now that we know that Miami has received offers for Morrison from teams searching for outfield help, the rumor that up to ten clubs were interested in Morrison makes a lot more sense. The more teams get involved, the better the likely return will be for the Fish.
As we mentioned, Morrison's trade return is crucial to the Jones signing, so anything that betters the return is a plus on multiple ends. Potential acquiring teams are foolish to consider moving Morrison back to the outfield, where he was bad before two knee surgeries that likely were affected by his long-term play in left field. Morrison should not be allowed anywhere near the outfield any longer, but if the Marlins trade him to another team, they can learn that for themselves.
Stay tuned for all the latest rumors surrounding Logan Morrison and the Miami Marlins during the Winter Meetings!