The Mariners could be without one of the AL’s hottest hitters for a week after Michael Morse suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right pinkie finger during Thursday’s game against the Rangers.
Morse, who is batting .293 with six homers, was hit on the hand by a Tanner Scheppers pitch in the eighth inning, but it was ruled a swinging strike. He stayed in initially and, incredibly enough, was hit in the shoulder by Scheppers’ next pitch.
While Morse is hoping to play again as soon as Sunday, the Mariners will likely hold him out longer. It’s an injury he can play through without much risk of making it worse, but the pain will make it tough for him to grip a bat normally.
Morse’s injury comes just a day after the Mariners lost Michael Saunders to a sprained right shoulder. While Saunders was placed on the DL, Morse is expected to avoid the assignment. The Mariners will go with some combination of Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Endy Chavez in the corners until Morse is ready to return.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.