After signing left-handed pitcher Eric O’Flaherty to a two-year deal worth $7 million, the Oakland Athletics have added another lethal arsenal to their repertoire of arms. With their starting rotation and bullpen intact, the A’s now need to focus on offense: enter Kendrys Morales.
The A’s have all the pitching that they need, and what they’re lacking is another power bat. Morales would supply the offense with another weapon used to do battle between the foul poles. Morales would take the A’s from a very good ball club to an elite ball club.
The 30-year-old switch-hitter is coming off a year where he hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI for the lowly Seattle Mariners. He also possess a career average of .280, not to mention his slugging percentage has never dropped below .449. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2009, the switch-hitter has displayed consistent power and a knack for driving the ball. His OBP is below average for a designated hitter and his defensive skills are limited, yet he wouldn’t find the field with Brandon Moss making the starts at first base.
Signing Morales would also mean that the A’s would have to surrender their first-round draft pick in the upcoming MLB draft as he is a Type A free agent. However, with Oakland slotted to draft at No. 26 in June, it would be a small price to pay for acquiring a much needed bat. The A’s haven’t had the greatest track record on drafting talent in the first-round for the last couple of years: 2008, Jemile Weeks – traded to the Baltimore Orioles, 2009, Grant Green – traded to the Los Angeles Angels, 2010, Michael Choice - traded to the Texas Rangers. They have hit home runs drafting Sonny Gray and Addison Russell, and it’s too early to tell what their recent draftee Billy McKinney will bring to the table.
Billy Beane and company covet their draft picks, yet the A’s are all-in for 2014 as displayed by their wheeling and dealings this offseason. What better way to put them over-the-top than signing a bat in Morales.
Morales will bring his power, ability to knock in runs and a better balance to the Oakland lineup. The A’s are talking up using John Jaso as their designated hitter. A DH is supposed to bring power and the ability to drive the ball to a lineup – an attribute that Jaso does not have. But, do you know who does possess this? Morales.
With Morales penciled in as the DH, Bob Melvin could use this lineup:
CF: Coco Crisp
3B: Josh Donaldson
SS: Jed Lowrie
LF: Yoenis Cespedes
1B: Brandon Moss
DH: Kendrys Morales
RF: Josh Reddick
C: John Jaso/Derek Norris/Stephen Vogt
28: Eric Sogard/Alberto Callaspo
Moss and Morales could flip-flop at the five hole depending on if there’s a righty or lefty starting on the mound. Reddick would move down to the seventh hole to take the pressure off his disaster of a season he had last year at the plate. By adding another switch-hitter in the fold, Melvin would have a plethora of options to choose from.
Now that looks like a lineup come October.
Adam Kreamer is the Athletics writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @adam_Kreamer.