Seattle Mariners: 5 “Budget Ballers” to Consider this Winter
I can sense your snort of derision and I completely reject it. Kendrys Morales is a good hitter. He didn’t make sense as a first baseman and isn’t better than Nelson Cruz. But now, with Cruz possibly on the way out, the 35-year-old may make sense for the Mariners.
With only 1-year and $12 million left on his 3-year deal, Morales is a prime candidate for a rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays franchise. He is coming off a solid 2018 season, which saw him slash .249/.331/.438 with 21 home runs in 471 PAs.
The numbers are a bit misleading, as Morales really struggled in September. But from Jun 1st to August 31st, Morales slashed .286/.366/.538 in 61 games with a 39 home run pace in that time period.
The stretch also included a 51:31 K/BB ratio, a very “control the zone” type of line. In addition, Morales posted the same barrel percentage, 8.3%, was tied for 25th place with the likes of Justin Upton and Paul Goldschmidt. His average exit-velocity was tied for 14th with the likes of Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich.
Morales doesn’t strike out much and walks at an acceptable rate to plug into the middle of the lineup to feel good about his production. A switch-hitter, Morales has shown a minimal split vs handedness in his career, posting a .796 OPS against RHP and a .769 OPS against LHP.
Morales will be the costliest player to acquire (money-wise) but there is a decent chance the Jays may eat some salary. If that’s the case, the Mariners could get a potential cheap option to replace Nelson Cruz with a short-term deal.