Monday, June 2, 2014

Kendrys Morales, Anyone?

(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.

2 comments:

Mscott said...

Beg to differ on Morales – even with Teix and Beltran back:

Vs RHP:

LF Gardner
CF Ellsbury
DH Morales
1B Teixiera
RF Beltran
C McCann
SS Jeter
2B Johnson
3B Solarte

8 LHB


Vs. LHP:

LF Gardner
SS Jeter
CF Ellsbury
1B Teixiera
DH Morales
RF Beltran
C McCann or Murphy if tough LHP
3B Solarte
2B Johnson (no big platoon differential) or Roberts if tough LHP

Up to 7 RHB

You can quibble or freak out about who bats where but I like the names in the lineup.

DFA Soriano (whom we agree is cooked). Ichiro is backup OF (with Johnson as backup LF if necessary). Anybody gets hurt and Almonte comes back up.

Less “flexible” than now? Yup. Less “offensively sucky” than now? Yup. Notice the switch to Johnson at 2b – Roberts has been ok but Johnson’s raison d’etre is to provide a positional power advantage. That’s wasted with him and third and we should set up a pinstriped beanbag at 1B rather than play Johnson there. I don’t think Morales is as bad there as you do but no matter what Johnson’s play at first makes Morales look like Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez’ love child.

Brad Vietrogoski said...

It all works in theory, but Beltran isn't going to be playing right field.

He hasn't played the outfield or thrown a ball at all as he's been rehabbing. The Yanks are going to use him as the primary DH to try to lessen the stress on his elbow.