Friday, January 27, 2012

The Answer To The DH Problem... Kendrys Morales?

UPDATE: Maybe even Joba for Morales? Your rehabbing 1B that we need for our rehabbing relief pitcher that you need? Plus its a fair trade for both... Maybe.


One Stipulation To Being a Yankee.... NO JUMPING

Apparently the Yankees traded super prospect Jesus Montero and have an opening for a DH spot. Also apparently the Yankees have 7 starting pitchers and are looking for one to trade. The Angels signed Albert Pujols apparently and also have ROY candidate Mark Trumbo also on the team with Kendrys Morales. Sounds like they have too many first basemen type players and we have too many pitchers. Lets make a deal?

Kendrys Morales is probably best known right now for his home run celebration that ended his season, pictured above BEFORE the injury. What we forget about Kendrys Morales so quickly is that Kendrys Morales has been a pretty good player since he broke into the league in 2009. In his first major league season he hit 34 home runs and slugged  .569, ranking second only to eventual MVP Joe Mauer. He ended up finishing 5th in that MVP vote in 2009. 2010 season was the season where he hit the walk off grand slam against the Seattle Mariners and fractured his leg during the celebration. In 51 games games he still batted .290 with 11 home runs and 39 rbis. He still has not come back to play a game since that incident, missing the entire 2011 season because of complications. Do you know what that tells me? Trade value is CHEAP.

Lets look at the Angels pitching staff since that is what we have to trade to Anaheim for Morales. The last thing the Angels need is pitching, let's be honest, but here is the projected rotation via the Angels official website here.

Jered Weaver
Dan Haren
CJ Wilson
Ervin Santana
Jerome Williams

That is a pretty scary looking pitching rotation. CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver are both signed long term where  Dan Haren has a club option for $15.5 million for the 2013 season. Ervin Santana is in the same situation with a contract through 2012 and the team holding a $13 million club option for 2013. Jerome Williams is a free agent after the 2012 season. All salaries and information was obtained at Cots Baseball Contracts

Who, if anyone, would the Angels be interested in? Obviously the choices are limited to Phil Hughes or AJ Burnett unless they are willing to accept prospects. The Angels currently are sitting at just under $142 million and I find it highly unlikely that they want 2 years of AJ Burnett at $33 million unless we eat 85% of that contract. That brings me to Phil Hughes.... As much as I love Phil Hughes he makes the most sense for a trade here. Hughes may actually be too much to ask for the Angels but the Yankees seem like they feel like they "have" to trade a starter, which is not true. Hughes could easily slip into more of a middle relief role while AJ/Garcia could fill the 5th spot and long man spot. Maybe the Angels would even be interested in Adam Warren , David Phelps, and/or DJ Mitchell. The Angels also do not seem to be entirely sold on Jordan Walden as their closer so maybe we could ship them a Mark Montgomery? Who knows..

The biggest concern is going to be Kendrys Morales' health. According to Roto World

Kendrys Morales (ankle) is drawing rave reviews for his early workouts at the Angels' spring training complex.
"I've been hitting with him every day and he looks strong," Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos said Wednesday. "Monday was the first time he took live BP (with a coach throwing) and he was popping them out from both sides. It's very impressive." If Morales continues progressing, he could become a legitimate fantasy sleeper. The 28-year-old tallied 34 homers and 108 RBI in 2009.

A lot of what is drawing me to Kendrys Morales, besides the low risk high reward type trades that Brian Cashman loves to pull (perfect example is Nick Swisher in 2009), is that he has more versatility then the other DH candidates being thrown out there. He has played 1B before, a position that Jesus Montero was penciled in to take some innings at to spell Mark Teixeira, and has also played the outfield. My line of thinking was that if Morales comes back healthy and productive then we have our replacement already on the team for Nick Swisher if he leaves after the 2012 season. Granted he has not played a ton of games in the outfield but he is far from a defensive liability out there, especially with speedy guys like Granderson and Gardner who cover a ton of ground in the outfield. The Angels seem like they have to do SOMETHING with Pujols, Trumbo, and Morales all looking to be vying for one spot on the team... I think we should take advantage of this and improve the team for the long term while staying with the 2014 tax thresh hold plan. Morales is making less then $3 million this season and does not seem to get a huge raise next season.

Still looking for a DH

"I'm still available!"

I just read this from
The Yankees have interest in Raul Ibanez, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. Ibanez has drawn interest from a number of clubs, including the Mets and Tigers, in recent weeks. We heard ten days ago that ACES had contacted the Yankees about Ibanez, but this is the first concrete indication that the interest is mutual.

Ibanez posted a .245/.289/.419 line with 20 home runs in 575 plate appearances as the Phillies' everyday left fielder last year. The 39-year-old could provide the Yankees with an option at designated hitter or in the corner outfield positions. He owns a .286/.351/.488 line against right-handed pitching in 16 MLB seasons.’s Buster Olney suggested earlier today that Ibanez would be a good fit in the Bronx.
To start with I wondered what his contract demands were. I mean, if it was anything like Carlos Pena, where he signed with the Rays for $7.25 million, then forget it. The Yankees just don't have the payroll for a deal like that, as they've said a few times that the cap on DH spending this season is like $2 million. But I couldn't find anything concrete on Raul, which is really no surprise. There is the fact he's coming off a 3 year deal worth $31.5 million, but he's coming off a poor season, and will turn 40 in June. So it's possible he'd take a cheap deal to play in the town he was born.

The age may stand out, but over the last three seasons he's averaged 144 games a season. I looked into his recent injury history, and outside of having surgery in 2009 for a sports hernia, he's been pretty healthy. However, Raul hit .245/.289/.419 last season, which was his worst offensive season since 2000, when he played in only 92 games for Seattle. His 2011 numbers may stand out against what he did in 2010 and for years before that, but when you're talking about a 40 year old guy teams are hesitant to pay for a rebound. Which may work in favor for the Yankees.

Over Ibanez's career he's hit .286/.351/.488 against right-handed pitchers, which makes him sound like a great DH-platoon guy to put with Andruw Jones. But Raul only hit .256/.307/.440 against LHPs last season. What happened?

After looking at his stats two things stuck out. One, his BABIP dropped from .311 in 2010 to only .268 in 2011 (career BABIP of .303). Although small fluctuations are expected, I found that most of the difference can be attributed to his Line Drive percentage dropping from 21% in 2010 to 16% in 2011 (career LD% of 20%). I tend to think he can raise that LD% a bit, to help his BABIP improve, thus moving his batting average up to around .275 against RHPs.

Second, and a way he can improve upon that abysmal OBP of .303 he hit against RHPs last season, is he needs to get back to taking more walks. Raul Ibanez has averaged a walk in 8.5% of plate appearances, and in 2010 that BB% was at 10.7%. However, in 2011, that rate dropped to an extremely low 5.7%. So to put it simply, if Raul can start taking walks like he's done his entire career, then his OBP should return to more than acceptable levels.

In conclusion, if Raul is willing to take a part-time DH spot (starting against RHPs, who outnumber LHPs, meaning he'll see a decent amount of at bats), as well as a 1 year deal worth $2 million, then I say go for it.