The Seattle Mariners have reportedly acquired outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse from the Washington Nationals today as part of a three-way deal that has Oakland sending pitching prospect A.J. Cole to Washington, and Seattle sending catcher John Jaso to the A's.
Cole was rated by Baseball America as the #57 prospect in baseball prior to the 2012 season, and was sent by the Nats to the A's, along with Derek Norris, Tommy Milone, and Brad Peacock, to the A's for Gio Gonzalez last offseason.
Cole had a poor 2012 season, however, posting a 7+ ERA in high-A Stockton over the first two months of the season before being demoted to the low-A Midwest League, where he ended up posting a 2.07 ERA in 95 innings. Cole is viewed as a potential top of the rotation guy if he can get some consistency, and his history with the Nats probably made him more appealing to them than some other, more unknown prospects.
Morse is someone I would have liked to have seen the Rangers pursue, but given that he would have been a platoon bat, Texas was unlikely to give up what another team, who would view him as a starter, would give up. I assume the Rangers will be interested in him in July, when the Mariners are sellers.
Jaso is a catcher with on-base skills but questionable defense, who the M's had acquired from the Rays in exchange for Josh Lueke after Jaso had a poor 2011 season. Jaso put up an 850 OPS, including a .394 OBP, in 2012. I'm kind of at a loss as to see how Morse is more valuable to Seattle than Jaso -- particularly given that Morse is a free agent after the season, while Jaso has three years of team control left.
Really, if I were Seattle, I would have traded Jaso for Cole straight up, and left Morse out of the equation.