Kendrys Morales hasn’t played since breaking his leg in May of 2010, but if the reports from Tempe, Arizona are to be believed, he’s going to be playing, and playing well, pretty darn soon:
“I’ve been hitting with him every day (at the Angels’ minor-league complex in Tempe, Ariz.) and he looks strong,” Angels centerfielder 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.”
Granted, Bourjos isn’t the most objective observer here, but even if he’s exaggerating, it’s a big improvement over last year. I was at Angels’ camp the day of their first spring training game last March and was around early for BP. Morales was there, but he didn’t hit. People — even people connected with the Angels — were whispering stuff about him, shaking their head and looking sad. No one could even pretend.
Oh, and bonus: Bourjos says that Morales has lost weight and looks to be in great shape, so there’s that too.
If Morales can return to 2009 form, it’ll be like the Angels signed two crazy-good hitters in the offseason, not just one.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.