Trade Deadline Failures: Kendrys Morales and the Seattle Mariners

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Let me start off by saying I am so happy with the 2014 Seattle Mariners. Their 15 game improvement from last season re-energized a dormant fan base, and now most casual fans are getting excited about 2015.

Lots has been written about the positives of this Seattle Mariners season: the plus-80 run differential, the winning record, finishing 1 game out of the playoffs.

But not everything went according to plan. Over the coming days I want to check in on what I call the Mariners’ Trade Deadline Failures, as each of the three trade deadline acquisitions by the Mariners failed to produce not only to their career standards, but also failed to be productive in the Mariners lineup.

To start I’d like to look at the big man in the middle of the lineup, Kendrys Morales. (On an aside, Kendrys Morales has always looked like a butcher to me, does anyone else see that?)

On July 24, 2014, the Seattle Mariners traded RHP Stephen Pryor to the Minnesota Twins for Kendrys Morales, a man who failed to sign with a team until midseason, thus keeping the Mariners from a compensatory pick via the qualifying offer. The following day Jesus Montero was optioned to Triple A Tacoma and Kendrys Morales was added to the 25-man Major League roster.

In his 39 games with Minnesota Morales was worth -0.7 WAR, batting .234/.259/.325 with 1 home run, 18 RBI, 6 walks and 27 strikeouts in 154 at-bats.

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After being traded to the Mariners, Kendrys Morales split time at first base and the DH spot. In 59 games with the Mariners Morales accounted for -0.3 WAR (a little less terrible than terrible!), batting .207/.285/.347 with 7 home runs, 24 RBI, 21 walks and 41 strikeouts in 213 at-bats. And though his batting average was .027 points lower than it was in Minnesota, he provided a higher OBP and more pop with his 7 home runs.

But that’s like choosing the lesser of two evils when Kendrys Morales was supposed to be the anchor at the back end of the lineup. Fortunately the Mariners only traded an oft-injured bullpen arm for 31-year old Cuban.

His time spent in Seattle in 2014 was a mess. He, along with Corey Hart and the rest of the company used as the designated hitter, failed to produce from the one position intended to provide offense exclusively.

From the DH position this season, the Mariners hit .190/.266/.301 with only 50 RBI and 15 home runs. That was dead last in the American League.

And even though Morales provided a third of the home runs and nearly half of the RBI in roughly a third of the games played, he was still part of the problem.

Kendrys Morales is a career .271 career hitter and he failed to produce this season in his short stint with the Mariners.

Though Trader Jack has done many great things for this team, trading for Kendrys Morales was one of his 2014 trade deadline failures.

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