Heyman: Hal, Yankees have interest in signing Kendrys Morales

Tanaka dominates Twins, Yankees rally late for 3-1 win
Game 55: Phil Returns

Via Jon Heyman: Hal Steinbrenner and several other members of the Yankees’ hierarchy have interest in signing Kendrys Morales. I assume that interest only increased when Mark Teixeira left yesterday’s game with more wrist soreness and received a cortisone shot. Hal has already indicated a willingness to add payroll to improve the team at midseason.

Morales, 30, hit .277/.336/.449 (116 wRC+) with 23 homers for the Mariners last year, and his switch-hitting bat would look marvelous in the middle of the lineup. That said, he would further limit the team’s roster flexibility. By a lot. Morales is more of a DH than a first baseman at this point — he has played only 59 games at first (214 at DH) since destroying his ankle in 2010 — and with Carlos Beltran on the mend, the DH spot doesn’t figure to be open much. Beltran will reportedly return as the full-time DH because they don’t want to risk re-aggravating the bone spur in his elbow by making him throw.

Morales will no longer require forfeiting a draft pick this coming Friday, so there’s no reason not to wait these last six days before signing him. He would help the Yankees, there’s no doubt about it, but unless Beltran winds up undergoing surgery or Teixeira misses an extended amount of time and the team doesn’t care about further weakening the infield defense, it’s tough to see Morales as anything but a square peg in a round roster hole.

Tanaka dominates Twins, Yankees rally late for 3-1 win
Game 55: Phil Returns
  • BeanTooth

    Can’t see why he’d want to come to the Yankees. With no guaranteed spot, how will he sufficiently showcase himself for free agency? Yanks are probably stuck with this situation for the foreseeable future.

    • Jeter’s retirement council

      Agree with some of this. Although Yankee stadium is a hitters park, therefore allowing him to better showcase his power above other teams, such as the Brewers which have a clear need. He probably wouldn’t hit as many homers there. This is his value at this point as a hitter so I’d look to sign with a team in a hitters park, regardless of at bats. It seems like Texas really makes the most sense at this point, that is, if they want to stay in the running at all. Like the post states, however, it’s not a great fit for the Yanks. You have Jeter, Ichiro, Beltran (if he gets healthy soon), Soriano and others (including Tex if this isn’t quite season ending, but limits his playing time), signing Morales is a bad fit. In past years thought, Morales is really that player the Yanks like to pick-up, circa David Justice, Soriano, etc..

      I’m stumped as to what the Yanks should do here. Usually it’s easy to day dream about who fills in a position best, but you’re really limited since Tex is very expensive and somewhat of an unknown, meaning he could be healthy for 4 weeks then on DL for 2 weeks and so on.

  • CashmanNinja

    At this point there really aren’t any better options, plus I think it’s a must with how Soriano is playing as of late. Add in Tex’s wrist and Johnson’s inability to play 1st (can’t really fault him on that), I just feel that Morales is too much of a boost to ignore. He’s by no means perfect and does create a bit of a logjam, but we lack the actual depth and who knows if Beltran will be able to make it through the season if he holds off from surgery. I think the smart move is to go after Morales because he’s far and away the best available bat out there — and it would only cost money! Imagine if we were to try to trade for a quality bat like that. We’d have people crying over the prospects we’d be giving up. Now we can keep said prospects and use our best resource for a change — money.

    We still need starting pitching and that’s why we get Morales and use prospects to try to plug in the holes in the rotation. Someone like Jason Hammel won’t be too expensive and could do wonders for our rotation (couldn’t be worse than Nuno).

    • mustang

      “Morales because he’s far and away the best available bat out there — and it would only cost money! Imagine if we were to try to trade for a quality bat like that. We’d have people crying over the prospects we’d be giving up.”

      • mustang


    • mt

      Hammel price should be interesting – I saw another team’s website (might have been Blue Jays) how Samardzija would be too expensive and Hammel was, of course, the preferred target fall-back option. If a lot of teams are in on Hammel since Samardzija is too expensive, with each passing successful Hammel start, don’t be surprised if Hammel price also gets pretty expensive. I think Cubs will try to equal Garza haul for any Hammel trade.

      We need some other pitchers to be on a target list other than Samardzija, Hammel and Cliff Lee (I do not consider Arroyo or McCarthy on the list as a potential AL East pitcher)

      • Kenny

        We shouldn’t underestimate the Jays–common for some reason on this board–or their resolve to win NOW. They’ve got the lineup firepower right now, and if they got themselves Samardzija, their shaky (but not as shaky as the Yankees’) rotation would become a lot steadier. I think they’ll give it their best shot to get Samardzija. They’ve got a lot of financial ammo, and if they’re willing to spend it, they’ll give anyone in the ALE trouble.

    • viridiana

      Agree on virtually all points, C. Ninja. We simply need too much help to pass up a chance to bolster offense for money only. Teams will be looking to milk us for every prospect we’ve got if we try for high-level pitching. Spend the money and save the prospects for pitching.

  • fred robbins

    Hey Mike… I have been pointing out the square peg round hole theory about 1/3 of this team in the last few days. Any chance the Yankee Hierarchy will have an honest discussion or you can start one here about how the team came into this situation and how it can actually get out of it and if Hal will actually have the brass to address the front office weaknesses.

    • Mikhel

      Just last night I was reading your comment about “square pegs in round holes” and it made me smile when i read Mike’s similar comment.

  • MB923

    I’ll just copy and paste my post from the game recap thread here

    This isn’t happening, but I think the Yanks should sign Morales and get rid of Soriano , either trade for a low level prospect (because that is all he is worth) or release him.

    Make the 4 man OF as Gardy , Ells, Ichiro, Almonte. When Beltran returns send down Almonte then.

    Rotate the DH with some mix of Tex, Morales and Beltran with 1 of Morales/Tex playing 1B obviously.

    A bench of Almonte/Kelly Johnson/Ichiro/JRM is a pretty good one.

    I liked the Sori trade and he was great last year , but a lot can change and Sori just flat out sucks while the team leader in BA is sitting on the bench.
    Assuming Beltran and Tex are both out for awhile
    1B- Morales/KJ
    2B- Roberts/Solarte
    SS- Jeter/Ryan
    3B – Solarte/KJ
    OF- Gardner/Ells/Ichiro/Almonte
    C – McCann/JRM
    As of now I’d say the only liability in the rotation is Nuno. BGDP has done fine and Whitley in a not so large SS has done well. I don’t think the Yankees pitching is as bad as it has seemed. It’s the defense that has sucked. And while I’m aware Morales doesn’t improve it, removing Soriano and his 3 Ks a game and putting Morales power bat in the lineup certainly improves the lineup.

    Adding on to what I wrote yesterday….best fit for Morales is 1B/DH and as much as it hurts to say it , getting rid of Soriano.

    • Jeter’s retirement council

      Yanks not getting rid of Soriano. It doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense, since in my estimation, it’s a lateral move. Defensively, you’re not gaining much at all. Offensively, you’re getting a marginally better hitter. At a time when the Yanks need a pitcher and a hitter, it’s just a poor allocation of resources to release Soriano (and the balance of his $5mm the Yanks owe) sign Morales (for a likely prorated amount on a QO like Drew did — call it $6.5mm) and not get a pitcher. As it’s easy to see that Morales makes sense (and he does on most years and Yank teams), it’s just not a good fit this particular year with the other players in the fold. Yanks should use their assets for a mid rotation pitcher and like I said above, I’m stumped on the 1st base thing. What’s the story with this Adam’s guy on the Cardinals? I know little about him, but he showed some power?? I think the Cards want to rearrange their OF and would likely prefer to move Craig to 1st, making Adams expendable. Not saying he’s the guy, but worthy of asking about..

    • Jeter’s retirement council

      ..and if there is one player I could see being moved, it’s Kelly Johnson. Seems like a nice guy and a complimentary player, but I haven’t been sold on his role since the start of the season and understandably, he appeared to be more useful at the start since Ryan was injured and both Roberts and Solarte were unknowns. Ryan looks healthy, Roberts surprisingly has played well and Solarte we all know has been great. They have Anna and Sizemore (who I am clamoring to see again) maybe even Zelious Wheeler (probably not) as depth and I just see Kelly Johnson likely being the odd man out. He hasn’t played 3rd or 1st particularly well and see him being Randy Winn’d or traded if the roster spot is needed, but not for much. I much rather have a younger true 1st basemen with minor options (like this Adams kid) than a guy like Johnson right now. Easier to call up and down for the rest of the season when Tex has his 5 more DL stints. Fit seems better considering you have Solarte for 3rd and Sizemore in the minors. Plus, we should put McCann at 1st to rest. Ain’t happening now or in 4 years. Dude will catch for 4 seasons and maybe DH in final year. That’s how I see that playing out, so the Yanks might be justified in starting the replacement clock for Tex and find a young guy for 1st.

  • mustang

    Mark Teixeira left yesterday’s game with more wrist soreness who knows what that means or where it ends up. Carlos Beltran has yet to take a swing in live action and is one bone spur shift from the knife and he was slumping when he was playing.
    This is an insurance policy and power bat that will cost nothing, but money. The fit will work itself out its stupid to let this opportunity pass to later have to trade for similar player.
    With that said I doubt Morales will come here with the certainly in playing time.

    • mustang

      Uncertainty not certainly.

  • mt

    I am also unsure whether Yanks provide proper avenue for Morales to showcase himself for a big contract next year. He may prefer another team. On the other hand, we have to stop worrying about what happens if Beltran returns healthy and Tex misses no time and Soriano/Jeter clog DH. That would be a miracle if all of that works out.

    At beginning of year we probably had five major questions of health: Jeter coming off surgery, Tex coming off surgery, Pineda coming back, “injury-prone” Robets (and to some extent given history, Ellsbury) staying on field, and the old guys (Soriano/Beltran) succumbing to injury/ineffectiveness. On all five of those questions some have worked out (for example, Jeter has been healthy) and some have not. So going forward this year, do we really expect Tex to be healthy AND Beltran to remain healthy AND no more injuries?

    If they sign Morales, it might mean either Roberts or Kelly Johnson may have to be cut if Tex and Beltran are healthy (Almonte is one slot in exchange for a healthy Beltran; someone else who would have to go for Morales). I would make that trade-off (Morales over Roberts or Johnson, especailly since Brendan Ryan is healthy) – before season started, both Johnson and Roberts seemed more critical to Yankee’s 25 man roster due to loss of Cano and Alex but now, after season has started with emergence of Solarte and with Tex and Beltran injuries, I prefer Morales – also in terms of roster slots, Soriano should not be a 100% given to stay on roster (although given how Yanks operate they will not want to just cut him.)

    I do not know how well Morales will play first base – probably poorly – but I worry more about the McCanns and Johnsons playing first – especially since opposing teams have not really tried to exploit it – wait till Brian McCann gets hurt charging in to field a bunt play, then we will really talk about foolishness of not having a back-up 1B.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    Like others have said, I think the “square peg round hole” issue is more of a problem for Morales than the Yankees, who don’t have to (and likely won’t) play him when Tex/Beltran are healthy.

  • FredBeene

    If Beltran is full time DH (hopefully he can hit before having surgery in offseason) Yanks should consider Morales/Tex platoon at first. Morales is a much better lefty hitter and Tex does not feel the wrist pain batting righty. And Tex could still play late inning defense. Still reduces flexibility but should increase offensive output.
    Then work on getting a starting pitcher. As mentioned Hammel may make the most sense.

  • Kosmo

    I´m on board with signing Morales. Another low cost possibility is trading for Mayberry 1B/RF/CF who is rumored to be on the block.

  • tom

    Smarter team should not rely on Hammel for 2nd Half bolster. Look for another one for a better deal.

  • md

    But what kind of contract? Multi-yr over-pay to make sure he signs? And collect another DH type with Beltran locked in and A-Rod coming back? He had one great season – 4 years ago – at age 26.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Seriously doubt he signs with anybody for more than 1 year.
      Even if he has multi-year offers.

      • md

        After being unemployed, I’m not so sure. And I think he’ll get multi-yr offers. The Boras thing backfired, so he might be more agreeable than you’re thinking. And despite the Yankee showcase, I wouldn’t sign here for a half-season on the cheap with a crowded, veteran, DH-laden roster.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          I agree on the last point.
          I think he’d look for a better opportunity elsewhere.
          I only see him considering the Yankees if there is no interest from a team that presents a better opportunity, which is unlikely.

          • md

            “I only see him considering the Yankees if there is no interest from a team that presents a better opportunity, which is unlikely.”

            Or the Yankees overpaying with yrs and dollars to make him change his mind. Not a stretch with the way the FO has been talking since the Tanaka signing. This is a rare, in-season splash that doesn’t require a trading partner.

    • Mikhel

      For how much and how many years? For everybody except the Yankees: for the rest of this season. For the Yankees he will be willing to accept nothing less than a 2-3 year contract for an AVG of 15 millons and this year pro-rated.

      There was an article about Solarte where he said how players tell each other not to sign with the Yankees unless they are offered a multiyear offer for various millions, otherwise they know they wont make the team, since the Yanks only play those who have millionaire contracts for more than one year… something similar happens with MLB contracts.

  • cooolbreeez

    At the risk of losing out on K. Morales, they’re likely will be more options available in a few weeks. Maybe someone like Cuddyer, in the last year of a $38 mm contract and the Rockies are fading right on schedule. He can play first, a little third, and the outfield.

    .311 .363 .505 .868

    • swizmo

      Am I wrong for thinking that, like Samardzija, if Cuddyer is made available the Rockies will probably ask for some good prospects and other teams will likely be able to put together better packages?

      I’d love to see Cuddyer on the Yankees though. I think he’d make a great fit.

    • Leg-End

      Away from Coors

      .269 .315 .418 .733

      Not bad numbers by any means but probably more in line with what to expect from him.

      • Chris Duke

        Still better than the majority of our lineup at this time…..

  • mustang

    Someone explain this one to me a left-handed hitting SS with a history of injuries and who success mostly came in one stadium last year is a must have on a team with a SS and other viable SS options. While a 1st basemen switch hitting power hitter for a team that lacks a power bat, could lose 2 more power bats (Tex and Beltran) and who options at first are so limited that they have to risk their starting catcher playing the position is a “a square peg in a round roster hole”.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      If (a big if to be sure) Tex and Beltran are healthy, where does Morales play?
      Beltran might be limited to DH, and probably should be one anyways.
      You can certainly force the fit, but someone who could actually play defense somewhere as well as hit would be a much better fit (RF, 3B/2B)

  • Scooter

    This is a no brainer. Morales is solid from both sides of the plate. He’s a lifetime .280 hitter who can average 25 HR’s, 90 RBI’s and 35 doubles. Only 30 years old. Even if the Yankees get both Tex and Beltran back, both will need days off.

  • JGYank

    We need his bat. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. Tex has just been having too many injury issues, and not sure how Beltran’s return is going to go, if he returns at all. That’s 2 power hitting switch hitters out of the lineup, and signing Morales would bring one in. Only other power we have is McCann and Sori, both of whom are slumping and McCann can’t hit LHP (although doesn’t he have a reverse split so far?) and Sori can’t hit RHP and usually has terrible ABs. Morales can be the full time DH occasionally replace Tex while we cringe when he’s in the field. Sori and Ichiro will hold down RF until Beltran gets back. When he does, there’s going to be a roster crunch. Almonte will go down no matter what if either Beltran returns or Morales signs and then someone else will be cut if both happens. Roberts, maybe? Johnson’s versatility is useful and he’s the only guy besides Solarte who play 3rd. Can’t see Sori being cut. He’s good against LHP and Ichiro would probably be cut before him, but I don’t think he’s going either, especially if Beltran’s not completely healthy. Murphy’s needed as the 2nd catcher and Ryan is needed as the backup SS, unless their comfortable with Solarte at SS while Jeter’s resting. Hard to see Morales signing here though. Would have to offer a good amount $ more than everyone else I would think. He’ll definitely go to an AL team, but not much opportunity here. Obviously teams will wait until after the draft at this point.

    • mt

      Kelly Johnson is not the only one who can play 3B; B Ryan can play 3B as a back-up to SS, 2b and 3B – Solarte would start at 3B and Roberts could start at 2B (alternately, could get rid of Roberts instead if both Beltran and Tex healthy and we sign Morales but I would think that Johnson would be first to go before Roberts; Roberts also a switch hitter).

      I agree the biggest question is why would Morales sign here when we have Soriano/potentially healthy Tex/potentially healthy Beltran/Jeter cluttering up potential DH/1B at-bats.

      I usually advocate using Yankees money when we do not have to give up players in acquiring talent but I would resist trying to overpay Morales with extra amount of years – pay him a nice fat contract for remainder of this year only. Rememeber Alex comes back next year also (although we lose Soriano and Jeter next year from the mix.)

  • Tom K

    1. I am. It advocating a Morales signing;
    2. However, for those worried about square peg in round hole, remember that he won’t be signed and inserted into the lineup. He will need some time to get himself ready. During this time, the Yankees will find out a lot about where Beltran/Teixiera really stand. The big risk you will be taking is that Beltran and Texiera will both be healthy, leaving you with a major logjam once Morales is ready.

    • Chip Rodriguez

      If the biggest risk is having one extra, healthy player who can hit, then it’s a risk worth having.

      In a worst case scenario, the Yankees sign Morales who hits but can’t play every day because Beltran and Tex are both healthy and hitting. Then Morales becomes a very good trade chip to various teams who might be in contention for the wild card in another division, need hitting and didn’t want to give up the draft pick either.

  • viridiana

    If that bone spur relocates, look out. Beltran to surgery. Sign Morales. And if he wants one-year deal, pay what it takes to get him. tyhen swing a deal for pitching. Yanks now have many tradeable prospect chips. OBviously damage should be minimized but I would think a package of Murphy/Sanchez, Warren and Bird/BichetteAustin/Cave (one of those) could get a pretty good return.

  • fred robbins

    what happens in August, Sept when Jeter might need to be a pretty regular DH? Doesn’t that add to the issue of how many DH players this team can have at one time?

  • Mikhel

    Yankees should not bet on Teixeira and Beltrán coming back fully healed, specially Beltrán; Carlos said he is fine, but you can call me a sceptic.

    If the Yanks do bet on Beltrán being healthy and his lesion flares up again they will require a replacement for the rest of the year and won’t have anybody to fill his role, same with Teixeira.

    Sure, if Teix and Carlos are fine it will be difficult to carry 4 players who have the same role in Soriano, Teix, Beltrán and Kendrys, but with Kelly Johnson, Brendan Ryan and Brian Roberts this team already has too many similar players who can barely hit, are marginal defenders and some playing in new positions for them… add in Solarte and you have 4 players to fill 2 positions, when you should have 2 regular players, a bench and the other one a replacement for the 1B.

    Instead, the Yankees went the 2013 route signing bench players to be regulars, and the bench of the bench is right now bench… ugly scenario. considering that NY has a lot of resources so as to sign better players instead of giving multimillion contracts for more than 1 year to mediocre hitters and subpar defenders: had a chance to sign either Nelson Cruz or Beltrán and decided to go with Carlos because of his experience though he had more red lights than Cruz who was coming off a suspension (though Cruz would be hugely criticized by now by ESPN and the rest of the media for his positive test if he were to be hitting similar for the Yanks as to what he is doing in Baltimore where he remains relatively untouched). The Yanks had a chance to sign a cheaper catcher for a shorter contract in AJ Pierzynski and/or Kurt Suzuki pairing them with one of the younster catchers the yanks have developed and yet they went with a bloated contract for McCann which blocks the yankee youth movement at C.

    • Chris Duke

      You will look like an idiot if they fire Long, the hitters come alive, and McCann winds up the team’s hottest hitter. You make some good points but are dead wrong on McCann.

  • Farewell Mo

    If Beltran and Teixiera are the reasons the Yanks don’t have a spot for Morales, those are 2 bad reasons because IMO, the chances of both staying healthy for the next 100 games are not that great.

    • FishJam

      Bingo….and if they do somehow get healthy and remain healthy at the same time then you have the luxury of 3 powerful switch-hitters and can afford to keep them well-rested with 1 on the bench as a Pinch hitter every day.

  • EndlessJose

    Let him play right field or third base.He can’t be as bad as Soriano or Johnson.

    Also when Tex is healthy shift him to third.If he is a great firsman he can be a decent thridbaseman.We need offense and the guys playing first and third aren’t great as is.

  • FishJam

    I don’t see this as a square peg-round hole issue whatsoever. Would it be better if Morales could play 2B, 3B and OF well of course. But there is no better hitter on the market right now PLUS you give up nothing….keep all the trade bait for pitching.

    If the worst problem with signing him is the what-if Beltran, Tex & Morales are all healthy at the same time, then what am I missing? I don’t consider that a problem. Right now they have NONE of them in the lineup. The injuries to Tex and Beltran are chronic and will not magically go away this season so the odds of having all 3 100% healthy at the same time are low anyway. If they ARE all healthy then you have the “problem” of 2 big-hitting Switch hitters in the middle of the lineup while resting one to keep fresh and use as a Pinch-Hitter OR you sacrifice with a weak armed RF in Beltran but get 3 big-hitting Switch hitters in the middle of the lineup. Give me one of those 2 “problems” over the current BIG, REAL problem of having a terribly-weak lineup with no power and none of the above 3 powerful switch-hitters.

    This is a no-brainer from the Yankees standpoint.

    • Chris Duke

      Yes! Great points! Without him, 3 hits per game equals a sub .500 team in September and sitting on their asses. I think injecting a pure hitter in the lineup will relieve pressure on the other hitters and open the flood gates to OFFENSE!

  • Robert

    I would like to see them sign Morales. Move Brendan Ryan to third and release Kelly Johnson. He is useless at the plate and has stone hands. Move Brendan to third, let him hit eights in front of Gardner and plug Morales into the lineup for some pop.