Updates from Thursday, July 24
The Seattle Mariners confirmed on Thursday that they traded for Kendrys Morales:
The #Mariners have acquired 1B/DH Kendrys Morales from the Twins in exchange for RHP Stephen Pryor. Morales will report to the club tomorrow— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 24, 2014
The Minnesota Twins signed Kendrys Morales in June, hoping he would be a bat to spark the offense and possibly make a surprise push for an American League wild-card spot. Instead, he's been a disappointment and the team has fallen 7.5 games back of a playoff spot and 11 games out of the division.
With the July 31 trade deadline rapidly approaching, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the Twins are open to dealing any of their impending free agents, which includes Morales:
Kendrys Morales 12-game hitting streak, but OPS still only at .599. #Twins open to trading him, along with other potential free agents…— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 23, 2014
Twins general manager Terry Ryan felt Morales' bat would make a difference for the team from comments made when the signing was announced, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
We've played pretty decent up to this point and have surprised some people. So why not us? We're at the point in the season where there's a lot of baseball left. So why not the Twins? I read a handful teams were after Morales, but we were ahead of a lot of those clubs in the standings. So I thought why don't we bring in a quality player who doesn't cost us a Draft pick, which we treasure here
The Twins didn't do Morales any favors by putting him in the big leagues as soon as they signed him, though they didn't have a lot of options because he couldn't go to the minors and work without clearing waivers.
Morales has scuffled with the bat, despite Rosenthal mentioning the 12-game hitting streak. The 31-year-old is hitting a paltry .240/.266/.333 with just one home run in his first 38 games with the Twins.
It's been a rough year for the Twins at every level. The MLB club is struggling and doesn't figure to be a factor in the postseason race. Joe Mauer is on the disabled list. Top prospect Byron Buxton missed most of the first half with a wrist injury, but at least he's back playing and hitting well. No. 2 prospect Miguel Sano won't play until 2015 after having Tommy John surgery during spring training.
Prior to this season, Morales was one of the more dependable first baseman/designated hitters in baseball with 45 combined home runs in 2012 and 2013. He's never been a big on-base guy (career .329 mark), but a .277 career hitter with a .470 slugging percentage has value.
Unfortunately for the Twins in their quest to deal Morales, that player hasn't been around this year. They might be able to find a taker for him because teams will always bet on power, as the Twins did when they signed the slugger, but a potential return figures to be minimal due to his performance and the fact he becomes a free agent at the end of 2014.
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