The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly made their first major signing of the off-season acquiring designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
Morales put up a .263/.327/.468 line last season with 30 home runs and 93 RBI for the Kansas City Royals. He was not tendered a qualifying offer by the team, meaning the Blue Jays will not give up any draft pick compensation as a result of the signing.
The 33-year-old switch hitter is coming off a strong pair of seasons as the Royals’ primary DH. He played only 21 in the field during that time, making 16 appearances at first base and five in right field.
Over the course of his career Morales has been equally effective from both sides of the plate, but last year he had a massive platoon split hitting .231/.307/.423 from the left side of the plate and .330/.369/.560 from the right.
By the bringing the Cuban slugger into the fold the Blue Jays make it very unlikely they will bring back both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion as the DH spot will be filled on a full-time basis. As Rosenthal points out, it is still conceivable that the team could re-sign Encarnacion to play first base everyday, but the signing appears to lower the odds.
In 10 major-league season Morales has a .273/.331/.465 line with 162 home runs and 586 RBI. He has made his home exclusively in pitcher’s parks in Los Angeles, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City, giving him the chance to best those averages at hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.