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.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.