According to Jon Heyman, the Minnesota Twins have agreed to sign 1B/DH Kendrys Morales to a deal. Little is known at this point, and a deal likely will not be able to be completed until after the draft concludes later today. Minutes later, Ken Rosenthal was able to confirm the reports and indicated that the dollars will be a little less than Stephen Drew's, but in the "same ballpark."
Entering 2010, Morales was a budding star, fresh off a 34 home run season with the Angels and just 26 years old. But following a walk-off grand slam in May, he broke his ankle during the celebration at home plate. The injury was particularly gruesome and took two years to recover. Since returning, he has hit 45 home runs combined with a .275/.329/.457 line over the last two years.
Morales was one of the top free agent hitter available this offseason. He was still available because the Mariners gave him a “qualifying offer” this offseason which means they offered him a one-year, $14.1 million contract. When Morales turned that down, it meant the Mariners would receive a high draft pick in this year's draft from any team that signed Morales. Teams didn’t want to give up that draft pick, so Morales had to wait until after the draft was over to be free of that obligation that was attached to him. Multiple teams were reported to be interested in him.
Morales will likely be the full-time designated hitter. He is 30 years old and a switch-hitter, but has had more success batting left-handed versus right-handed pitchers. He can also play first base, but has done so only 59 times in the last two years. Last year, he hit 3rd
for the Mariners.
Rhett Bollinger reported the agreement is a one-year deal for $12 million and is prorated, so the Twins have committed somewhere around $8M to boost their lineup. Entering today's game, the Twins were 2.5 games out of the Wild Card race, and five games behind Detroit in the AL Central.
I think most Twins fans will find this surprising. The Twins have certainly shown they are not afraid to deal with Scott Boras. Maybe this is a "sorry for the Pelfrey thing" make up?
This likely means that Jason Kubel and/or Chris Parmelee, both of whom have really struggled, will be designated for assignment soon.
Stephen Drew played in the minor leagues for about a week before joining the Red Sox. I would guess that Morales would follow a similar timeline before joining the Twins.
More information will be shared here as we learn more.