Kendrys Morales is still a major question mark nearly two years removed from breaking his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate following a game-winning-home grand slam, but he did get some good news after visiting his doctor in Colorado earlier this week.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Morales was cleared to “ramp up” some baseball activities. While he was previously jogging on a “de-weighted” treadmill and hitting off a tee in Arizona, he has already begun running under his own body weight. The real test will come when Morales begins running the bases aggressively, but this is a very positive early sign.
The Angels tendered Morales a contract this offseason, despite the fact that he hasn’t played in a professional game since May 29, 2010. The 28-year-old switch-hitter figures to make around $4 million in his second year of arbitration, but the benefits are obviously huge if he can bounce back to his 2009 form. Mark Trumbo is behind in his rehab from foot surgery, but the Angels still have enough depth that they can afford to bring Morales along slowly.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.