Your morning recap of what was a pretty exciting Wednesday for baseball.
Here's what you need to know:
The Big Three
1. With Rafael Soriano in tow, the Washington Nationals wasted no time in dealing Mike Morse. The Nats sent the righty slugger back to the Seattle Mariners yesterday in a three-team deal that makes John Jaso a member of the Oakland Athletics. Pitching prospect A.J. Cole returns to D.C. along with two other prospects. It's a rare occasion to be able to pinpoint the exact moment when someone has sealed their own tragic fate, but this quote from Mariner's GM Jack Z may be it for him:
"One of the things we have seen since I have been here is our lack of raw power; in Michael we have got a guy who has got big-time power.
When you use "middle of the lineup" and "Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay" in the same sentence, and it's the year 2013, and there's no negation anywhere to be found between the two phrases, you may want to start sending your resume around.
2. The Texas Rangers agreed to terms on a five-year, $55 million contract extension with left-hander Matt Harrison. The deal locks up the southpaw's first three seasons of free agency at $11 million a season, which should end up paying off very nicely for the Rangers. With Yu Darvish and Derek Holland also on multi-year deals, Texas has the top three-fifths of their rotation set through at least 2016. Angels and A's: beware.
3. Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos severely overreacted yesterday to the O's surprise success in 2012, agreeing to contract extensions with manager Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette through the 2018 season. I really like Showalter, and it was fun watching the Birds beat the odds last season, but there's no way that Angelos doesn't regret these deals by this time next year.
- Manny Ramirez wants to be Manny again. The now 40-year-old slugger is knocking the cover off the ball in the D.R. winter league and is looking to link up with an MLB club this spring. Don't hold your breath.
- The ongoing Red Sox/Mike Napoli kerfuffle may finally come to an end next week. With Mike Morse now off the table, expect Boston to cave some in their negotiations to ensure they aren't left first baseman-less.
- The New York Mets were left "unimpressed" by right-hander Brian Wilson's private throwing session over the weekend. Coincidentally, Mets fans everywhere are similarly "unimpressed" by the club's complete inactivity on the free-agent market this winter.
- Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend is a cruel, elaborate hoax. The WTF story of the year. Grab some lightly-salted popcorn, folks, this one's just getting started.
- Intricate sketches of all the Major League parks by Gene Mack, taken from 1946-1947 issues of Sporting News.
- Need more wine for your party? Social Justice Jesus is here to help.
- And finally... Bill Murray reading poetry to construction workers (Go to about 1:00 to skip the overly-long intro):