Bigger Return: Brian Roberts or Michael Morse?
June 18, 2012 in Uncategorized
By John Manuel:
Both local teams in the past two weeks received major additions back to their lineups. Baltimore saw the return of second baseman Brian Roberts after missing over a full season with concussion issues. While the Nationals finally got their best hitter in 2011 back in Michael Morse. Both teams have to be thrilled to add these guys back into the everyday mix. While everyone knew Morse would play in 2012 at some point, Roberts was a huge mystery since he barely participated in spring training. But now both are back in full time roles and can only help battle for division leads. Who will be more valuable to their team? We can only debate and see how things play out.
First you have Brian Roberts. A mainstay of the Baltimore Orioles organization for over 10 years. Roberts popularity through the years has grown as much losing seasons have. And to be inactive for the Orioles best run of his career had to be killing him. Although I doubt motivating Roberts is an issue, he has to be more focused than ever to help the Orioles challenge for a playoff spot. Since Nolan Reimold went to the DL the Orioles leadoff spot has been near the bottom of the league. I am a fan of Robert Andino but more as a fill in/utility guy than as a leadoff everyday second baseman. Roberts changes the whole top of the lineup adding a consistent ability to get on base, steal, and his history of hitting doubles. If the Orioles can stay in the race it will need to improve its starting pitching. Problem is the only foreseeable addition out there is Zach Britton unless a major trade is made which seems unlikely. Jaime Moyer may come up at some point as a fill in but no one expects him to carry this staff at 49. So with a strong bullpen already the O's know they will need to score runs and play better defensively. Both of these Roberts will add and hopefully keep the Orioles hanging in there with the Yankees.
And now for Michael Morse. Before the season I felt Morse was in pretty good shape to be an all-star and an outside MVP candidate. But then he got hurt and a few weeks on the DL turned into a couple months. But now he is back and even though he has been quiet in his first 40+ at bats I expect him to soon heat up. It would be nice for him to put a hurting on the Yankees this weekend depending on if Davey Johnson chooses to get Morse onto the field. With the Nats current ridiculous starting staff and strong bullpen Morse can ease into the lineup as the team expects to stay in contention for awhile. But as August and September come the Nationals lineup should be a force with Morse, Harper and Werth in the outfield. Maybe the defense suffers some but the lineup will become more even with the pitching staff depending on what the final verdict is on the Strasburg shut down.
So which player is the bigger return? I think it depends on what your expectations of each team is. Brian Roberts addition I believe helps keep the Orioles at least in the division and wild card race for the summer. His play on the field is an upgrade and his desire to finally be on a winning team has to work well with his teammates. Plus, I know a top notch manager like Buck Showalter will know the best ways to get Roberts back to his 2010 and before form. As for Morse, I think most National fans have seen enough this season to be believers that they are legit contenders. A deep staff, solid bullpen that can improve, and a much improving lineup should have fans thinking playoffs at the least. The addition of Morse I believe makes them world series contenders if they keep Strasburg pitching. If they don't, well…that will be worth another blog down the road.