Logan Morrison has made the most of his playing time early in spring training, as Ryan Braun and other veterans are slowly eased into game action.
Morrison starred in both Brewers games over the weekend, hitting a three-run home run against the Cubs on Saturday before following that up with another three-run bomb (at Yasmani Grandal-like bat drop) off old friend Wade Miley on Sunday, winning a lefty-on-lefty battle.
He’s hoping to make the team as a power bat off the bench, perhaps playing a similar role to the one Eric Thames played the last few years for the Brewers. While a large portion of the Brewers’ Opening Day roster already seems to be fairly locked down — especially with the abundance of position-flexible infielders — but the 26th roster spot could make it a little easier to fit Morrison on the roster.
Morrison signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, but it appears he has no interest in spending any time in San Antonio, telling Tom Haudricourt over the weekend in no uncertain terms that he’ll look elsewhere for work if he doesn’t make the roster.
“I know I’m not a Triple-A player. I don’t have anything to prove there anymore. So, I’m going to be somewhere in the big leagues this year. I hope it’s here.”
“The way I feel about it is, if I’m healthy, there’s not a lot of guys better than me in the world. And I’m healthy. Ready to go, motivated, all that good stuff. I just need the opportunity.”
“Triple-A is not an option,” Morrison said. “That’s not going to happen. I have nothing to prove there. If they try to send me down, I can get out. I don’t want to be in the same league as Tim Tebow again.”
”I’ve got a good family and made a lot of money, so the pressure’s off. I’m just going out there to play baseball and have fun.”
Always the outspoken type, going back to his old Twitter account that almost single-handedly led to the creation of the league’s social media policy, Morrison has every right to refuse an assignment to Triple-A despite being on a minor league contract, thanks to an opt-out at the end of camp that would allow him to become a free agent if he isn’t on the 26-man roster.
It’s a situation that could end up playing out like the Ji-Man Choi scenario in 2018, that saw the big first baseman claim an unlikely roster spot after hitting .409 with 3 home runs and a 1.245 OPS in the Cactus League that spring. That run ended up being short-lived, as Choi was optioned down immediately after Opening Day, returned for a short stint in May, and was later traded away.
Of course, this situation is slightly different — Morrison wouldn’t have any options remaining if he does make the Opening Day roster, and has had more major league success over his career than Choi ever did, including hitting 38 home runs for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2017. He hit 15 home runs in 95 games for the Twins the following year, and spent most of last year in the minors. He has played some corner outfield in the past, but like Thames, his best bet is likely the lefty-swinging half of a first base platoon. He’d likely have to beat out Justin Smoak to gain significant at-bats in the regular season.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs