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Baltimore and Texas showing strong interest in Michael Morse

Baltimore could be looking at Michael Morse as a replacement for recently departed Nelson Cruz, while Texas has shown interest now that Torii Hunter is off the market.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

With Nelson Cruz headed to Seattle, the Orioles are turning their attention to Michael Morseaccording to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Baltimore would be familiar territory for Morse, as he appeared in 12 games for the Orioles in 2013. Morse would hit the free agent market after the 2013, and went on to sign a one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants. For the 2014 season, Morse posted a .279/.336/.475 slash line, while appearing in 84 games in left field, as well as 43 games at first base.

With an addition of Morse, the Orioles could use him similarly to how Cruz was used in 2014. Cruz was the primary DH for the 2014 Orioles, starting 89 games there, along with 70 starts in the corner outfield spots. Cruz led the AL with 40 home runs during his 2014 campaign, and finished with an .859 OPS.

Another factor that could make the Morse addition even more appealing is the fact that Nick Markakis has seen an increase in his appeal to multiple teams. Markakis had be been the O's starting right fielder for the past nine seasons, and boasts a career OBP .358, along with two Gold Glove awards.

The O's current roster has Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce penciled in as the starters in the corner outfield spots, with Chris Davis as the starting DH. All three have shown potential, but they could very well be platoon players in 2015. Davis had a monster 2013 campaign, posting a 1.004 OPS, along with 53 home runs, but his 2014 slash line dropped to .196/.300/.404. Pearce had a breakout year in 2014, posting a .930 OPS in 383 plate appearances, but his OPS in his previous six seasons was sub-.700. De Aza was great for the O's after coming over in a late season deal from the White Sox, but he could be best used as a platoon player, given his .677 OPS vs LHP.

With Torii Hunter officially headed back to Minnesota, Morse could also become a target for the Texas Rangersas Nightengale would later note. The Rangers lost Alex Rios to free agency after the 2014 season, and had strong interest in Hunter until his decision to head back to the Twins. The Rangers are currently seeking a corner outfielder to join Shin-Soo Choo, and Morse could also give them a platoon option with DH Mitch Moreland.