(Courtesy of the AP)
It's been 2 steps forward, 1 step back for the Yankees with respect to their various injury situations lately. Actually, 1 step forward, 2 steps back is more accurate. Carlos Beltran and his right elbow have responded well to early hitting activities and the team could get him back in the lineup by week's end. Mark Teixeira and his wrist haven't been so lucky, as he's still feeling pain and stiffness and received another cortisone injection after leaving Saturday's game early. With all that left-handed uncertainty and a painful-to-watch lack of pop in the lineup, is it time to seriously consider signing Kendrys Morales?
Jon Heyman seems to think so. In a story last Friday, Heyman added the Yankees to the list of teams who are reportedly interested in the free agent switch hitter. Morales, like Stephen Drew, declined his team's qualifying offer this past offseason and he's been sitting around waiting for a call ever since. He'd be a potentially optimal solution to the Yankees' power problem. He hit 22 HR in 2012 and 23 last year playing in Seattle. If Beltran and/or Teix end up on the DL, Morales could slide nicely into the vacated DH and/or first base spots.
If they don't though, there's little value in adding a 1-dimensional player like Morales. He hits for enough average and the power is obvious, but that's about it. He doesn't draw a lot of walks (6.8% career BB rate) and he's a disaster as a defensive player. Bringing him into the mix would further hinder the team's flexibility and make some of Joe's lineup decisions a little more difficult. There's also the matter of dollars and draft pick compensation to consider, but at this point neither of those are major concerns from the Yankees' perspective and the pick compensation becomes a non-factor in a few days.
Heyman's report states that Hal has shown interest in Morales, so this is starting to become a real possibility. As a backup plan to Beltran and Teix, the Yanks could do a lot worse. They could probably also do better, as in Beltran and Teix getting healthier and staying in the lineup and providing the balance of power and average that the lineup has really lacked for the better part of May. It's a difficult line to straddle, waiting to see what happens with those 2 while other teams ramp up efforts to sign Morales. I don't think the Yanks will end up signing him, but if Beltran and Teix each take another step back with their injuries, it's definitely something they should consider.