The 2014 regular season may already be well underway, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from spinning. According to a report from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Baltimore Orioles are in contract negations with the switch-hitting slugger Kendrys Morales. Heyman reports there’s a “significant gap” in the value of said contract and the likelihood of this move happening is unknown. However, if you’re an Orioles fan you should hope that this deal never comes to be.
At first glance the chance at signing a player of Morales’ caliber seems like a dream come true. Since 2009 he’s been consistent and productive at the plate. Despite missing most of 2010 and all of 2011 due to injuries, Morales hasn’t showed much regression. Since 2012 Morales has hit 45 home runs and driven in 153 runs while hitting .275. Morales is coming off a year in which he hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs.
However, when you look closer at the Orioles’ situation, one realizes that signing Morales would make absolutely no sense and would be a complete waste of money for the Orioles.
Morales can only DH or play first base which would really limit what Buck Showalter could do with his roster. Showalter is known for using the DH slot to get favorable matchups against pitchers and resting specific players while still keeping them in the lineup.
Currently the Orioles have Nelson Cruz at DH and Chris Davis at first base. Even though Davis is on the DL, he’s making good progress towards his return and there’s no real reason to be concerned about his health. Davis is coming off one of the best seasons in recent memory at the plate and is extremely underrated defensively. Cruz, who’s considered the team’s DH, is a bona fide slugger. So far in 2014 he’s showed no signs to suggest he may be declining either. Cruz leads the team with eight home runs and 27 RBIs so far this season.
If the Orioles were to sign Morales it would create a logjam in the outfield, likely forcing speedster David Lough off the team and making Cruz the everyday left fielder. That’s a scary thought, since Cruz’s defense is almost comical to watch. Just by watching him try to play the ball it’s clear he’s at home at the plate, not in the field. Lough will improve his average as the year goes on anyway. Until then Lough is worth keeping around just for his fantastic defense and base-running prowess.
The Orioles will also have to shell out a lot of money over the next couple of seasons to their current players to keep the core group intact, so financially speaking this move would also make absolutely no sense either.
Essentially what the Orioles would be doing by signing Morales is handicapping the team’s financial future to fill an imaginary void in the lineup that doesn’t even exist. Unless there’s real concern about Davis’ health (which doesn’t seem to be the case), there is absolutely no reason to even consider this move. Why there are even negations going is beyond me.