A Toast to Michael Morse (The 2011 Version)

morseNationals fans: Say goodbye to helmet-slapping, hair-flapping home run trots. Say goodbye to Beast Mode and an eccentric post-game t-shirt collection. Say so long to “Take On Me.”

The Nationals reached terms with Adam LaRoche for 2 years, $24 million. In the blink of an eye, GM Mike Rizzo and the Nats announced the LaRoche deal and simultaneously draped a neon flashing “For Sale” sign around OF/1B Michael Morse. After four seasons as a Washington National, the 30-year-old is certain to anchor the middle of the order elsewhere in April.

Baseball doesn’t allow time for closure and sentiment. The Beast is dead, long live the Beast.

The move is bittersweet for Nats fans. LaRoche quietly carried the Nationals during much of 2012 with a career year, hitting 33 HRs / 100 RBIs. His glovework at first is unmatched by any other Nationals 1B (or anyone else in the NL last season). LaRoche earned the three-year deal he wanted and signing him for two is icing on the cake for the Nationals. That’s the sweet.

When Nats fans are real with themselves, LaRoche is a better baseball decision for Rizzo and company.

Morse was an essential component to the team’s nearly .500 season in 2011. The 2011 memory of Morse is why it’s bitter. He was a spark plug when the team faced hardships, including Jayson Werth’s arrival and subsequent bad year, Stephen Strasburg’s recovery from Tommy John, and the Jim Riggleman exodus (and drunken exploits).

In 2011, Michael Morse was a workhorse. He led the team in virtually every single offensive category. So instead of speculating about where Morse may land, or which LHP the Nationals bullpen may acquire, pause and remember the good times. Let’s raise our glasses to Michael Morse…the 2011 version.

The epic helmet-tossing first-pitch walk-off homer game.

Nearly hitting for the cycle.

Blowing up Miller Park.

Batting average (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA ▾ OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
3 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
4 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
5 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
6 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
7 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
8 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
9 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

On-base percentage (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP ▾ SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
3 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
4 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
5 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
6 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
7 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
8 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
9 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

Slugging (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG ▾ OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
3 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
4 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
5 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
6 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
7 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
8 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
9 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

On-base plus slugging (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS ▾ OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
3 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
4 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
5 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
6 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
7 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
8 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
9 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

OPS+ (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ ▾ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
3 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
4 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
5 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
6 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
7 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
8 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
9 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

Total bases (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB ▾ GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
3 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
4 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
5 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
6 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
7 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
8 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
9 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

Runs batted in (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI ▾ SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
3 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
4 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
5 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
6 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
7 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
8 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
9 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15

Home runs (2011)

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR ▾ RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1 1B Mike Morse 29 146 575 522 73 158 36 0 31 95 2 3 36 126 .303 .360 .550 .910 147 287 9 13 0 4 5
2 2B Danny Espinosa# 24 158 658 573 72 135 29 5 21 66 17 6 57 166 .236 .323 .414 .737 102 237 6 19 5 4 4
3 RF Jayson Werth 32 150 649 561 69 130 26 1 20 58 19 3 74 160 .232 .330 .389 .718 97 218 10 10 0 4 5
4 LF Laynce Nix* 30 124 351 324 38 81 15 1 16 44 2 2 23 82 .250 .299 .451 .750 103 146 1 1 0 3 2
5 C Wilson Ramos 23 113 435 389 48 104 22 1 15 52 0 2 38 76 .267 .334 .445 .779 113 173 19 2 4 2 8
6 3B Ryan Zimmerman 26 101 440 395 52 114 21 2 12 49 3 1 41 73 .289 .355 .443 .798 118 175 14 1 0 3 4
7 CF Rick Ankiel* 31 122 415 380 46 91 20 0 9 37 10 3 29 96 .239 .296 .363 .659 81 138 7 2 3 1 1
8 SS Ian Desmond 25 154 639 584 65 148 27 5 8 49 25 10 35 139 .253 .298 .358 .656 80 209 9 4 11 5 2
9 OF Roger Bernadina* 27 91 337 309 40 75 12 2 7 27 17 3 22 63 .243 .301 .362 .664 82 112 7 4 2 0 1
Team Totals 28.4 161 6090 5441 624 1319 257 22 154 594 106 38 470 1323 .242 .309 .383 .691 89 2082 103 65 82 32 40
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 12 15 13 13 7 8 11 13 1 14 12 11 12 12 1 15