According to a report, the Milwaukee Brewers have expressed interest in free agent first baseman Kendrys Morales and with the first round of the MLB First-Year Draft behind us, there may be some movement to get Morales signed in the next day or two.
Because the Seattle Mariners extended Morales a qualifying offer last November, it meant any team looking to add the slugger—who will be 31 on June 20—would lose a first-round draft pick and the accompanying draft slot money.
Morales, traded to the Mariners by the Los Angeles Angels in December 2012, earned $5.25 million last season and hit .277/.336/.449 in 156 games and 657 plate appearances, finishing with 34 doubles, 23 home runs and 80 RBI and striking out 114 times.
Morales had to battle back from a severe leg injury in 2010 that cost him two-thirds of that season and all of 2011 after he was injured during the celebration of a walk-off home run.
The leg is a concern because Morales played in the field only 31 times for the Mariners in 2013 and logged just 28 games at first base for the Angels in 2012. His last full-time season at first base was in 2009.
The Angels signed Morales in April 2005, shortly after Morales defected from Cuba. His best season was 2009, when he hit .306/.355/.569 for the Angels, helping them win the AL West title with 34 homers and 108 RBI. He finished fifth in the American League MVP voting.
The Brewers would obviously be eyeing Morales to play first base, since there is no full-time designated hitter in the National League.
First base hasn’t quite been the revolving door it was in 2013, when seven different players started games there, but left-handed hitting Lyle Overbay and right-handed Mark Reynolds have been splitting more of the playing time, with Jonathan Lucroy making five starts at the position as rest days from catching.
Overbay is hitting just .215/.299/.306 in 46 games and 137 plate appearances, with five doubles, two home runs and 15 RBI. The free-swinging Reynolds is at .212/.291/.453 with a team-high 13 home runs to go with 28 RBI in 50 games and 203 plate appearances, with a whopping 65 strikeouts.
Milwaukee is 13th among NL teams at first base with a .219 average and a .293 on-base percentage and 14th with a slugging percentage of .393.
Brewer first basemen have produced nine homers and 24 RBI in 2014.
The addition of Morales, a switch-hitter, would almost certainly signal the end to Overbay’s second stint in Brew City. Overbay was a Brewer in 2004-05, leading the National League with 53 doubles in 2004, before he was traded to Toronto in December 2005.