Kendrys Morales had a good first week for the Twins after sitting out the first two months of the season and then signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal in June, but he’s been horrendous since then while hitting .209 with one homer and a .524 OPS in 33 games.
Today the Twins cut bait on the Morales move and surprisingly they not only found a taker for him they traded the 31-year-old designated hitter to the Mariners for a potentially useful 24-year-old reliever in Stephen Pryor.
Morales has shown some signs of life recently and hit well for Seattle last season, so the Mariners are betting on him adding a little thump to their lineup again down the stretch. He refused to re-sign with them this offseason, but that was when agent Scott Boras still had visions of a big multi-year deal and … well, now Morales didn’t have a choice in the matter.
Meanwhile, the Twins can turn back to Josmil Pinto at designated hitter and pick up a hard-throwing right-hander in Pryor, who has a 2.81 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 32 innings as a big leaguer but has struggled since returning from an injury last year.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.