Last Updated on September 2, 2019 by Jason A. Churchill

The Seattle Mariners were finally able to get their guy, again. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales returns to the Emerald City after a brief stint with the Minnesota Twins who acquired reliever Stephen Pryor in exchange for the slugger. Said to be seeking a multi-year deal in the offseason, Morales ended up setting for a one-year deal worth a prorated $12 million with the Twins shortly after the amateur draft in took place in June. Obviously the required draft compensation greatly hindered the market for Morales and despite turning down several offers from the M’s over the past year, he now finds himself with the club he spent the 2013 campaign with.

The 31-year old has struggled in his first 39 games of the season and holds a .234/.259/.325 line across 162 plate appearances. Obviously Morales is a much better hitter than his 57 wRC+ suggests, but after missing Spring Training and the first two-plus months of the season it’s no surprise that he’s struggled to get back to his usual self. He is coming off a 12-game hitting streak however so it’s possible he could be trending upwards and often times joining a pennant race can spark a player.

The switch-hitter doesn’t have the typical platoon splits for a batter of his handedness, but his career 121 wRC+ against right-handed pitching should slot nicely between Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager in the batting order. He also owns a career 95 wRC+ against left-handed pitching which is still an upgrade for the club. Safeco Field didn’t seem to slow Morales down in 2013 as he posted a .811 OPS and 127 wRC+ at home compared to a .759 OPS and 108 wRC+ on the road. Twelve of the slugger’s 23 home runs last year also came at home.

Pryor was once a highly touted pitching prospect with outstanding velocity but his development had stalled as he missed most of the 2013 season after undergoing shoulder surgery. The 25-year old has a 4.65 ERA and 5.35 FIP in 31 innings with Triple-A Tacoma on the year alongside 27 strikeouts and 18 walks. His velocity has been in the 91-93 miles per hour range so far in 2014 but it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to get it back up to the 95-96 range that he had shown previously. Pryor will report to the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate and will be under team control through the 2018 season.

[pullquote]Morales appeared at first base in 31 games for Seattle in 2013 and in 12 games so far this year with the Twins. It’s not yet clear whether or not he’ll see any action at the position before the end of the current season while he dons blue and teal.[/pullquote]

It’s expected that Morales will serve as Seattle’s primary designated hitter with Logan Morrison and Corey Hart splitting duties at first in a platoon situation. Both players have had their struggles with injuries and performance this year and interestingly enough, both have opposite platoon splits — Hart owns an 84 wRC+ against right-handers and Morrison owns a 107 wRC+ against left-handers on the year. The newly re-acquired slugger won’t arrive in Seattle until tomorrow so in the meantime, Jesus Montero has been re-called from Triple-A Tacoma and will start tonight at DH.

Obviously this wasn’t the significant upgrade to the offence that many were hoping for, but it is a low cost upgrade that’ll begin to look a lot better if the M’s can add another bat or preferably two within the next week. Morales is due about $4.5 million for the rest of the season so the supposedly cash-strapped Mariners managed to find some change under the sofa cushions in order to facilitate the deal. There’s still a little bit of promise with Pryor, but the M’s can afford to take the chance he develops into something useful given their strong bullpen depth.

It’s a step in the right direction and the fact general manager Jack Zduriencik was willing to pull the trigger was a good sign. I guess the Morales-Mariners saga does get some closure after all the reports of deals that were offered to the slugger over the past calendar year were released, but things would’ve been a whole lot easier if the two parties would’ve been able to reunite long before the start of the 2014 season.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is one that super-agent Scott Boras regrets, though he’ll never admit to it.

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  1. Avatar

    Normally I’m a fan of good buy-low moves but there’s zero reason to trade for Howard right now. If he was a free agent then sure why not, for the major league minimum, give him a flyer. When guys have major injuries like Howard — I know from personal experience that the achilles isn’t something to be messed with — they almost never get back to where they once were, especially when they are in the feet or knees. Look at Pujols as another example. Planter fasciitis can make even the gentlest of footsteps excruciatingly painful. Now try and run through your batting stance with that. It’s not going to happen. Of course Pujols has been better of late, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 to expect a resurgence. It’s too bad really — he was one of my favorite players to watch over the last decade.

    And if I was interested in getting an Adam Dunn, I would say to just go and get Dunn himself LOL.

  2. Avatar

    Like I said, too little ,too late. Wait till next year.

  3. Avatar

    That just does not make sense to me. To have a DH at a cheap value who will post those power numbers. Even with the wet air not high humidity he could be a 25 and 30 guy. Who can hit .230 to .240 and in this day and age of baseball that is not a bad idea at all. He would be our #2 power hitter and in the middle of the pac for BA. M’s fans need to still understand the M’s run under a self impossed cap. Profits and winning is what this club is about. You have to find cost effective was to find anything you can to help. This is a solid move in my mind. And if reports are true he would cost next to nothing and not cost a top talent. Why not bring him in. Saying I don’t want 30HR on my club is nonsense to me. Watch another club take him and he helps get a ring… I would rather have him than Soriano for what it does for the club. With being able to put m@orales at 1B and split Hart and Morrison in a platoon in the OF. Hell you could probably send them Montero.. lol

  4. Avatar

    Morales is a switch-hitter, not just a right-handed hitter.

  5. Avatar

    Ryan Howard isn’t a good player. That’s why the Phillies are talking about releasing him. Its one of the biggest albatross contracts in MLB. Even if the Phils at all of it, and we paid him the league minimum, he wouldn’t really help us.

  6. Avatar

    Rotoenquire, I responded to your Howard post in the previously thread (maybe harshly) but I just don’t see how you see this as an upgrade? He is hitting like .224 in a hitters ballpark (remember Raul’s crazy numbers he put up there?), in the NL (usually players moving from the NL to the AL see a drop in their offensive numbers), and would have to hit in Safeco field. The last thing we need is a fat, unathletic, DH player on the decline. I wouldn’t want him if all it cost Seattle was a roster spot. If he hits .224 in Philly, what does he project here? Maybe .198? We have plenty of lousy DH types already. I am glad he is Philly’s problem and not ours!

  7. Avatar

    Ryan Howard? No thank you. He’s barely an upgrade over Hart and Morrison, at this point in his career. I’d rather not tie any money up in him.

  8. Avatar

    In another thread I posted that R. Howard could be had right now. Phillies would pay the bulk of the money he is owed. Say that makes Howard a cost of 5 mill per year to havie on your roster for a few years. I see Howard as an Adam Dunn the next few years he will hit .230 to .240 with 30 to 40 HR potential at DH. You remove a lot of the injury risk with him in the AL as a DH. Put Morales at 1B Logan and Hart platoon in the OF. It would be a low costand risk addition. Prospect it would cost? Maybe at the high mark R. Franklin your #3 SS prospect. Yes Morales would be an injury risk at 1B but he is a partial year rental player no need to worry about him next season. Same with Hart.

  9. Avatar

    Fron Lloyd’s comments, it sounds like Montero won’t be here long. Looks like the OF will remain unchanged and Hart and Morrison with platoon at 1B. Thats actually a pretty solid division of playing time.

    I wonder if Taylor and Miller are essentially battling for the starting SS spot for the next 15 days while Bloomquist is on the DL, with the other getting sent to Tacoma afterwards.

    I think we all expect to see another move. The offense is in a terrible rut right now. I imagine that Jack is calling on every possible OF trade option. Hopefully he doesn’t make a stupid desperation move.

  10. Avatar

    To be fair, Hart has hit a lot of balls hard, lately, with no results. Cutting him now, could turn out to be a mistake. Morrison, on the other hand, hasn’t hit many balls hard. Just saying not to conclude that results are absolute. There is a certain amount of luck when you play the small sample size game.

  11. Avatar

    “Too little too late”?

    Yeah let’s not make a move so that you can complain about the Ms staying pat…it’s an upgrade and that’s the point of making the trade

  12. Avatar

    Too little too late. If Kendry gets hot, he may add 1 – 1.5 WAR to what the DH would have produced. We are still lacking just a bit on offense @ 1B, SS, C, and the OF positions. Yes, at least JZ did something, and I hope that it continues. If track record means anything, don’t expect much more to happen.

  13. Avatar

    Hey Jerry, who knows what Jack will do. Seems like cutting Hart is a no brainer, but you are right, Jack has ignored defense in the past. I don’t see how he can keep Hart on the roster though. If they play him in the outfield, he will get hurt (one way to get rid of him!), same for Morrison. Montero likely will only be up for a cup of coffee. I think Jack is trying to make one more move for an outfielder. I can’t see Chavez playing everyday for the rest of the year. There just isn’t much out there. I liked this move because it is low risk and they gave up next to nothing. I think we will have greater roster clarity by the deadline. I just hope Jack doesn’t do something desperate. This move gave me hope he won’t…

  14. Avatar


    Do we know Morales will replace Hart?

    Hart can play 1B (like tonight, as a matter of fact). Its not like Morrison is tearing it up, and Smoak is still in Tacoma. And the M’s have shown a willingness to entertain stupid ideas like playing Hart and Morrison in the OF previously this year.

    With the recent roster moves, the M’s have some interesting decisions to make about playing time. With Montero getting promoted, we’ll soon be back to our early season problem of having too many ‘hitters’ with limited defensive value. However, now its worse.

    I posted this in another thread, but I think it bears repeating. This is what the M’s currently have on the roster for 1B/DH:

    Morales: .234/.259/.325 (in 154 ABs)
    Hart: .212/.295/.332 (in 184 ABs)
    Morrison: .211/.267/.349 (in 152 ABs)
    Montero: .208/.264/.327 (in 101 ABs last year)

    And in AAA:
    Smoak: .208/.279/.352 (in 263 ABs)

    Maybe guys who combine a sub-.300 OBP with a sub-.350 SLG are the new market inefficiency! That’s a lot of designated hitters who can’t hit.

    Those four currently on the roster (or soon to be) are all limited to 1B or DH. Morales and Montero are probably best to DH only. And Hart playing defense is probably adding to the risk that he’ll get injured again. We don’t want any of those guys playing anything other than DH or 1B. How the M’s mobilize their new army of defensively limited guys who hit like Willie Bloomquist is a huge question.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the M’s bring up Morales, who still hasn’t been added to the 25-man roster. With Bloomquist on the DL (???), and Walker back down in AAA, they added Taylor and Montero. But they’ll have to demote someone to make room for Morales. They might just swap Montero for Morales. Romero is another demotion candidate.

    Right now, we’re carrying more position players than we normally do, and that is not counting the imminent addition of Morales. They’ll probably end up moving another position player down soon, as we currently only have 6 relievers in the pen. We’ve had 7 most of the season, IIRC. But maybe they’ll keep rotating guys out and keep 5 guys on the bench. That’s necessary if you have so many redundant DH/1B types. At least it will allow us to platoon.

    The one thing that I’m REALLY worried about is that the addition of Morales will push Hart to 1B and Morrison to LF. That will hurt the defense significantly. Doing that would be pretty short sighted. Run prevention is the one thing this team does really well, and moving Morrison or Hart (even worse idea) into the OF for significant periods of time is just robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    Who knows. It will be interesting to see what happens when the other shoe drops. With Bloomquist going on the DL, we’ve also got an interesting battle between Miller and Taylor. For simply adding one DH (who isn’t even with the team), the M’s have managed to shake things up A LOT.

  15. Avatar

    The extra money available from Hart not reaching his incentives has now been spent! I think Morales will be a nice upgrade over Hart. I can see him putting up better numbers this time around now that he will have Cano and an improved Seager hitting around him. Nice job Jack!

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