Kendrys Morales to sign soon?

Ed Zurga

Now that compensation is no longer a concern Kendrys Morales is expected to sign soon.

It's a little confusing as to when exactly the compensation attached to Kendrys Morales is nullified. It's either after the first pick in the draft is made, after the draft is completed on day 1, or the day after the first day of the draft. It probably doesn't matter since I doubt Morales is going to sign the second he's able. Friday sounds like it could be a real possibility though.

Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees were told Morales would not be willing to wait for them to see how injured players Carlos Beltran and Mark Texiera rebound. Heyman reasons that means he's going to sign in the next day or so. he also reasons that gives the Brewers and the Mariners a stronger likelihood of signing the free agent. The Texas Rangers and the Royals are also said to be interested.

The Mariners have Corey Hart and Logan Morrison to play 1B and DH, even if they're hurt or under performing it might not make sense to add another 1B/DH to the mix. They're also confined by a budget that I think precludes signing Morales.

The Royals don't make sense because they have Bulter as their primary DH and they too have a budget. Whenever I read about their interest, it's always accompanied by trade ideas to get Bulter's salary off the books so they can afford Morales. It seems like a lot of work to make what perhaps would be a lateral move.

The Rangers make a lot of sense. Prince Fielder is out for the season so they definitely have the need and they should have financial resources needed. The team's health and performance might not make them a fit though. They're not really playing that well and half their team is on the DL. Morales just costs money so it wouldn't be a terrible idea for them.

Though my judgement might be clouded by my bias towards the Brewers, I really think they make the most sense. They might not end up signing him, but they really should want to. A lot of people remark that they don't want Morales because of what it might mean for Mark Reynolds' playing time. I'd be fine with Mark Reynolds taking over full time at first base, but we have to be prepared for the chance that Aramis Ramirez misses more time due to injury. Even if he doesn't, he will probably need more than the occasional day off. In those scenarios Reynolds would start at 3B while Morales plays 1B. He can start when Morales needs a day off and he can act as a defensive replacement later in some games too. He'd probably get some starts vs LHP too.

I can't say that Morales is a clear upgrade offensively from Mark Reynolds (but he is vastly superior to Lyle Overbay). I would say that Morales is the more consistent offensive performer. Reynolds will have those wonderful highs where he hits 2 2-run homes in a game. He'll also have those games where he strikes out 3 or 4 times. Morales makes more contact and on a more consistent basis than Reynolds, with less prolific power. That's meaningful.

Morales is purported to be a liability on defense but I wonder how accurate that is. I have never seen him play so I have no frame of reference here. However, DRS and UZR don't seem to hate him near as much as people do. Mark Reynolds had the same rap coming into Milwaukee and we've seen how off the mark that was. I'm absolutely not suggesting that just because Reynolds is better than expected so will Morales be. I'm just saying that he might not be quite as bad as he's being made out to be. I really don't know.

I think Morales would make this team better. He will cost nothing but money and that's pretty rare this time of year. He fits the Brewers needs even if he were to mostly ride the bench. I don't believe for a second that benches don't matter. A bench player doesn't affect a game as much as a starter, but they do impact games. Having Morales on this team helps solidify the bench whether it's him or Reynolds that do the most sitting.

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