Twins sign DH/1B Morales
The Twins made some roster moves over the weekend, signing free agent first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales for the rest of the season and designating outfielder Jason Kubel for assignment.
The signing of Morales came as a shock to many, as the former Seattle Mariner and Los Angeles Angels slugger had been linked to teams such as the Yankees, Rangers, and Mariners. The signing became official shortly after the 2014 MLB Draft was completed. With the timing, the Twins were not required to give up a first-round pick; the main reason Morales remained unsigned.
Morales’ signing comes from a search to find a consistent bat in the designated hitter role. Kendrys, a career .280/.333/.480 hitter has had plenty of time at DH and made 121 starts at the position in 2013. Recently it seems the team has been picking names out of a hat for the DH spot. One common DH has been catcher Josmil Pinto, who has struggled to a .222 average after a hot start and now Eduardo Nunez, Josh Willingham, Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe, and young shortstop Danny Santana have been thrown into that role.
With the move, the Twins are signaling that they so far are looking to buy if any trade comes up. The Twins have a record of 29-32 but sit only 5 games back of the Tigers in the AL Central and just 3.5 back in the hunt for one of two wild card playoff spots. The deal for Morales will be a prorated deal for $12 million that will equal $7.5 million to play the rest of the season.
Morales has been working out in Miami while waiting to get signed to a deal, but is up with the team due to being out of Minor League options. The Twins cannot send him down without the possibility of losing him on waivers. The Twins are hoping the switch-hitter will put up consistent numbers, as he displayed last year with a slash line of .277/.336/.449 with 23 homers and 80 RBI. Morales made his first start with the team Monday and went 1-3 with a walk and a 9th-inning single.