Morales to Minnesota (USAT)
And on a weekend afternoon in early June, the biggest miscalculation of Scott Boras's career is finally over. The last of his big-name free-agent pieces has found a home – and the mystery team wins again.
Kendrys Morales and the Twins came to terms on a one-year deal Saturday, pending a physical. He's going to make a pro-rated share of $12 million. As soon as Morales is ready for game action, he'll probably be the team's designated hitter. Jason Kubel's days in Minnesota could be just about over.
The fantasy speculators in the crowd were surely hoping for a different landing spot. Like any switch hitter, Morales will be batting left-handed most of the time – and Target Field absolutely suffocates left-handed power. That said, it's been a neutral park in other areas over the last few years (scoring, right-handed pop), so let's not mistake this place for the Houston Astrodome. The home stadium is a knock against Morales, not a death sentence.
Minnesota doesn't have to forfeit a draft pick for Morales, of course. A compensatory pick was tied to him until the recent First Year Player Draft – a fact of life which obviously discouraged bidders. The same condition applied to Stephen Drew, who eventually joined up with the Red Sox a couple of weeks ago. (A few months back, Boras compared the players's situation to jail. Orange is the new black, I guess.)
Morales has first-base eligibility in Yahoo and is unowned in 77 percent of leagues. If I were shuffling the corners right now, I'd have Morales around $10-11 – the Jon Singleton neighborhood. Add as needed. He hit in the .270s the last two years, despite unfavorable parks (Anaheim, Seattle). Here's a back-of-envelope projection: .273-27-12-38-0.
If you're in the mood for a Minnesota longshot, maybe Danny Santana can help. He's been getting run as the leadoff man this week, and he's off to a .373/.408/.493 start through 67 MLB at-bats. He's 3-for-3 on steals, and he carries three positions of eligibility (second, short, outfield) in Yahoo's game.
Santana had four hits, five RBIs and one steal in Saturday's 8-0 victory over Houston. He's been sharing center field with Aaron Hicks – though Santana was Saturday's DH. His minor-league profile won't knock your socks off (and he strikes out too much for a 5-foot-11, 160-pound outfielder), but he did bat .297 in Double-A last year, with 30 steals. And just being around Minnesota coach (and baserunning guru) Paul Molitor is a good thing.
Santana is ready for a tire-kick in 97 percent of Yahoo leagues.
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