Jan 20, 2012, 4:35 PM EDT
6:00 p.m. EST update: According to the Associated Press, Morse will earn about $10.5 million over the next two seasons.
5:20 p.m EST update: According to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, it’s a two-year deal for Morse, so it merely takes him to free agency.
The terms aren’t in yet, but the Nationals avoided arbitration with Michael Morse by signing him to a multiyear deal, the team announced.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old Morse was seeking a raise from $1.05 million to $5 million in arbitration. The Nationals filed at $3.5 million. It was Morse’s second year of arbitration, and he would have been eligible for free agency for the first time after 2013.
Morse reached the majors with the Mariners in 2005, the same year he served a 10-day suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but he never established himself until 2010, the year after Seattle traded him to Washington. He hit .289/.352/.519 with 15 homers in 266 at-bats then and .303/.360/.550 with 31 homers in 522 at-bats last season.
Morse was the Nationals’ primary first baseman after Adam LaRoche got hurt last season, but he’ll be shifting back to left field this year. Another strong season from him could complicate things for the Nationals, though in a good way. The team is going to have to break in Bryce Harper at some point, which could mean moving Jayson Werth to center field or Morse back to first base.
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