Yankees, Slugging 1B Kendrys Morales a Perfect Match

Gary Phillips@@GPhillips2727Contributor IIJune 3, 2014

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 23:  Kendrys Morales #8 of the Seattle Mariners hits a walk-off three-run home run in the tenth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on June 23, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Athletics 6-3.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

First baseman Kendrys Morales, a free agent since last winter, has yet to find a team to call home, and its time the New York Yankees gave him one.

With the MLB draft right around the corner, Morales will soon become a hot commodity, since the draft-pick compensation attached to his name will cease to exist shortly after the draft commences.

With Mark Teixeira's status up in the air, Morales makes perfect sense for New York. Teixeira has been hampered by an inflamed right wrist and is currently awaiting medical evaluation, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. 

May 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira at bat against the Chicago Cubs during the game at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of Teixeira's status, the Yankees should make a run at Morales. He brings to the table several things this roster is missing, things the Yankees may need if they hope to reach their ultimate goal of a World Series championship.

For one, if Teixeira is out for any length of time, the Yankees have no real first baseman to replace him. This team has lacked a true backup at first all year, throwing guys such as Kelly Johnson, Scott Sizemore, Brian McCann and even Brendan Ryan out at the position, even though all of them had little if any experience there.

Keep in mind that Tex's absence, along with Carlos Beltran's (currently on 15-day disabled list), will leave a huge hole in what has been a pedestrian Yankees lineup up to this point. As a team, New York is 17th in the majors in both home runs (48) and runs batted in (213). They are 16th amongst all 30 teams with 230 runs scored and 24th in doubles with 89. Not exactly great offensive numbers considering the power hitters on this roster and the notion that Yankee Stadium is not much bigger than a wiffle ball field.

Morales can help with all of that.

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In his three full big league seasons (2009, 2012, 2013) the slugger has hit at least 22 homers, including 23 last year while playing for the Seattle Mariners in the notoriously pitcher-friendly Safeco Field. If Morales can hit that many while playing his home games at that park, he may just be able to match that total in half a season at Yankee Stadium. 

Morales, who would be entering his eighth big league season, had his best year in 2009 as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That season he went yard 34 times while knocking in 108 runs and batting .306.

Digging deeper into the numbers, Heyman points out that Morales has torn American League East competition to shreds, making him all the more valuable to the Yankees.

Morales is a beast in the AL East. Over the past two seasons against AL East teams he has seven homers, 12 doubles, a .356 batting average and .919 batting average. (And that's with home games at the more pitcher-friendly Angels Stadium and Safeco Field, compared to Yankee Stadium, where he should thrive.)

According the Heyman, the Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers and Mariners will all be in on the slugger. Heyman goes on to speculate that Morales will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million, similar to what Stephen Drew just got from the Boston Red Sox. Morales received a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from Seattle this past offseason.

If that is all Morales would cost, there is no reason New York should not make a serious run at him. After spending nearly half a billion dollars last winter, are the Yankees really going to let another $10 million keep them from what could be an essential piece?

This team lacks offensive production and a replacement for a player who often needs replacing.

Morales can fix both of those problems, so why wouldn't the Yankees bring him aboard?

All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference and MLB.com.

Question or comments? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @GPhillips2727 to talk the Yankees and Major League Baseball.

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