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.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.