Kendrys Morales played just 28 of his 134 games at first base this year, seeing the bulk of his action at designated hitter after missing most of 2010 and all of 2011 with a broken ankle.
However, after being traded to the Mariners yesterday Morales said he’s “confident knowing that I’m 100 percent ready to play first base every day if that’s what’s needed.”
Even if Morales had been fully healthy this year the Angels would have gone with Albert Pujols at first base more often than not, but the situation will be much different with the Mariners considering one of John Jaso or Jesus Montero will likely be at designated hitter most games.
Before breaking his ankle Morales was an everyday first baseman for the Angels and even played some right field in 2007 and 2008, but he hasn’t played more than 450 total innings defensively in a season since 2009.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.