The Miami Marlins have finally found their first baseman for 2015.
One year after spending $7.5 million on two years of Garrett Jones right after he was non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Fish pursued a slightly larger fish in free agent first baseman Michael Morse. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Marlins have secured a two-year contract with the soon-to-be 33-year-old.
Am told by someone with direct knowledge: Marlins have reached 2-year agreement with first baseman Mike Morse, pending a physical.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) December 16, 2014
The details of the money of the contract have not yet come out, but the figure is expected to be around the $20 million range. MLB Trade Rumors projected that Morse would make $22 million on a two-year contract before the offseason began, and if the contract comes out to be similar, the Fish will have likely spent the last of their available money on the first base upgrade.
Morse hit well last season, batting .279/.336/.475 (.355 wOBA) and matching his career numbers despite hitting in one of the worst pitcher's parks in baseball in AT&T Park last year. By wRC+, he posted one of his best batting seasons, putting up a 133 wRC+ that tied his season-high mark. But Morse also ate up a good number of runs with poor baserunning that was on par for his career, which dragged some of his offensive production down.
Of course, Morse is also well-known as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the game, as he has spent a vast majority of his career botching left field. Perhaps consequently, he has missed a decent amount of time on the disabled list as well with various injuries. Miami is hoping to fix both problems by keeping him at first base on a regular basis, as the Fish already have a Gold Glove outfield available to them.
Morse will have to prove he can play first base adequately and provide similar offense in another large stadium. The Fish are paying a decent sum over two years to find out.