The Washington Nationals made a minor splash on Tuesday afternoon, when they re-signed first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal worth $24 million, as first reported by Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
While we typically don't meddle in the affairs of division rivals here on this blog, this signing more than likely signals the departure of OF/1B Michael Morse, who is now expendable thanks to the Nationals having a fully loaded outfield and a first baseman with a new contract.
The reason that we should care is that Morse would be a fine fit in the Phillies lineup. He's right-handed, young enough (30), and averaged 21 homers per season since 2010. To boot, he's due to earn just under $7 million in 2013, which is less than what you'd normally pay for a power-hitting outfielder/first baseman.
The bad news about all this is that the Phillies' chances on trading for Morse are only slightly higher than zero. After all, it wouldn't make any sense for the Nationals to trade a player like Morse to a contender that they'll need to face 18 times next season, especially when they have a division title to defend. That'd be like if the Phillies traded Pat Burrell to the New York Mets following the 2007 season. It just wouldn't be smart. (Oh wait, didn't the Mets once trade Lenny Dykstra to the Phils, I digress)
That's not to say that the Nationals wouldn't trade Morse to Philly, but the only way that happens is if they get a return good enough to justify moving 20 or so homers to a division rival. And if that was the case, it means that the Phillies would have to further deplete their already thin farm system to acquire someone who will be a free agent after the season.
It's a nice thought, but like we talked about on Monday, the Phillies are pretty much done making any big moves. There could be a small move here or there, but for the most part, what you see is what you get.