According to multiple reports, The Toronto Blue Jays have signed switch-hitting DH, Kendrys Morales to a three year contract.
After reports came that the Toronto Blue Jays attempts to re-sign 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion fell somewhat short. The front office got to work quickly signing who could possibly be his replacement in, Kendrys Morales.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 11, 2016
The Cuban native has spent the last 2 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, winning the World Series with them in 2015. On a team riddled with injuries last season, Morales, put up one of his best season power production seasons since 2009 when he slashed .263/.327/.468 with 30 home runs, and 93 RBI. While is overall WAR value was down from 2015 due to a slow start, he did salvage his season with 8 home runs, 30 RBI, to go along with a .321 average over his last 29 games.
Morales’ switch-hitting ability will help provide balance to the Toronto lineup where it has been lacking some in recent seasons. The Blue Jays’ lineup looked very right handed heavy before this signing. One could argue that it still does. Over his 10-year career he has a neutral split versus right-handed pitching .271/.332/.476, as well as left-handed pitching .278/.327/.439. He does, however, have a little more power from the left side.
Another selling point on the newly acquired DH are his career numbers with RISP. When looking at his entire 10-year career, Morales, has averaged .294/.366/.515, and .262/.360/.496, with RISP and 2-outs. Toronto as a team had issues in these two categories during 2016, combining for .249/.342/.428, and .232/.334/.424, respectively.
Another thing to highlight, should you need a pick-me-up because this deal doesn’t sit well with you is the following:
Let's appreciate a couple things that weren't true before. 1) Toronto is a desired landing spot for FAs 2) Jays have $$$ to spend.
— BlueJaysTwit (@bluejaystwit) November 11, 2016
This is somewhat new territory for Toronto as they’ve had difficulty wading in the waters of free agency. But, recent success has led to a possible shift in the overall image of the organization as well as their ability to play with those other ‘free spending’ teams. That is not to say that we should expect a spending spree, but it is some positivity for you.
Only time will tell is Morales is seen as a straight-up replacement for Encarnacion. Considering the deal carries with it a $11M per year tag, it is very reasonable for a player of his caliber. It could also mean Toronto’s front office is open to bringing back Encarnacion in more of a full-time first baseman role, which would certainly make returning more appealing to him. Only time will tell as negotiations and speculation across MLB heat up in the coming months. Given the Blue Jays long list of needs this offseason, you can expect that they have only begun to adjust the thermostat.
*Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III (flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.