Kendrys Morales represents the final roadblock in the Blue Jays’ efforts to play for the future in 2019
The Toronto Blue Jays are committed to using the 2019 season to give their young up and comers a shot at forming the core of this team moving forward. By the time the Blue Jays figure to be competitive again a couple seasons will have passed and a young nucleus of talent will have cemented itself. In order to get there, the club needs to be able to run out a bunch of young hopefuls and see whether they have what it takes to perform at the big league level. It is a smart strategy with New York and Boston very clearly ready to battle it out in the AL East.
To accomplish this, the Blue Jays’ front office has begun clearing the road for these youngsters. We watched them jettison Troy Tulowitzki while committing to the remainder of his $38M contract. As well, they just sent Russell Martin back to Los Angeles and will cover a massive chunk of his contract. These moves show an incredible desire to let the kids play.
Blue Jays paying $38M for Tulo, $16.4M for Martin.
They really are committed to letting kdis play and figuring out who the core is for the next few years.
Like, really committed. Like, $54.4M committed.
— Shaun Doyle ⚾👨💻🎙️ (@DoyleJFtC) January 12, 2019
But, here is the problem: Kendrys Morales.
Let’s be clear, Morales is not a roadblock in the sense of clogging the basepaths…well, at least not for the purposes of this piece. No, the 35 year old Cuban is actually holding up the Blue Jays in a more important way. Coming into a year where the results on the field take a back seat to the development of the future core, Toronto shouldn’t be stuck using the DH spot on a DH only type of player. It is pretty safe to say that the days of trying Morales at first base are behind us, so his bat is the reason he’s in the lineup.
And, there isn’t anything wrong with that, per se. Morales is as close to a home run threat as this team has. Outside of Justin Smoak and, perhaps, Randall Grichuk, some power is going to need to come from somewhere. So, it might make sense to keep Morales on the roster. He’s projected to hit ~27 home runs and drive in ~85 runs. That is nothing to sneeze at. Toronto is going to have to score runs somehow, unless they look to change their offensive approach, which is entirely likely.
If they do, Morales becomes that much more of a roadblock. The DH spot becomes a much different tool under an altered offense. Young players, who offer positional flexibility, can be cycled through to take advantage of matchups and/or hot streaks. Teoscar Hernandez, who has struggled in the outfield comes with a bat that is hard to ignore. If Toronto wants to improve it’s defense, Morales would either give way to Hernandez, or Hernandez would sit, taking his bat out of the lineup. Essentially, without Morales in the DH spot, the Toronto Blue Jays have more options.
This front office has been praised (by most) for their aggressive approach to the 2019 season. They aren’t messing around or toying with the idea of going with the youngsters. Cutting Tulo loose and trading Martin, while still footing the bills is a rather clear message of intent. There are no half measures when it comes to their vision for this coming season.
That said, one has to wonder why Kendrys Morales is still on the roster. It isn’t a mistake to keep him, but one could argue that $12M to give your club more flexibility is not a bad price to pay. The most likely immediate answer is that Ross Atkins cannot find a trade partner to take Morales. But, would it be so terrible to release him and allow him to find a team? The Blue Jays are spending more than $12M to do this with Tulo.
It is not necessary to shed Kendrys Morales from the Blue Jays’ roster. Not at all. But, for a club that is clearly pulling out all the stops to make way for the future, it is odd that he has not been moved in one way or another.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND INSTAGRAM. LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL!
Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.