Morales has a track record of offensive success, he is a switch hitter and is just 30 years old which is what makes him such an attractive sign. He has a career .280 batting average with 102 homers, 345 RBI and a .333 OBP, but has had some injuries in the past that has forced him to miss some significant playing time. One of the most promising statistics that Morales boasts is his career average of .291 with runners in scoring position and has a .358 OBP with runners in scoring position as well, which is an area that the Orioles struggled in last year down the stretch.
Curious how has has performed in his games at Camden Yards? Morales has a .413 batting average with three homers, three doubles, and 12 RBI in 50 plate appearances at the Yard.
Now let's get to the downsides of Morales. First would be his history with injuries, and of course an injury could happen to any player at any time, but his history with them is a concern, although the major one was a freak accident where he broke his leg while jumping onto home plate after hitting a walkoff grand slam back in 2010.
Secondly is his lack of maneuverability, as he is strictly a first baseman or DH, with just 18 career games in the outfield. Manager Buck Showalter likes to use the DH spot as a rotating door to give guys rest, although he didn't really do that in 2013, but Morales would essentially have to be the everyday DH, so Showalter would have to find other ways to give guys a day of rest.
Third would be the concern of Executive VP/GM Dan Duquette's unwillingness to sign a guy who would cost a draft pick and Morales is one of those guys due to the Seattle Mariners giving him a qualifying offer, which he turned down, but now Seattle will receive a compensatory pick from the team that does sign him via free agency. Several reports have surfaced that Duquette and the Orioles are more willing to sign a guy that would cost a draft pick this offseason, but it still bares mentioning.
Lastly, and albeit not as big of a concern as other players, especially pitchers, is the money Morales would land. MLB Trade Rumor's Tim Dierkes predicts that Morales will land a two-year $28 million deal, which is not the out of sight numbers that the Orioles tend to fear away from, but is still some real money. Morales, we feel would be one player that the predicted contract would not be an automatic no from Baltimore.
In case you were wondering, Scott Boras is his agent.
Morales would be a great sign for the Orioles as he produced good offensive numbers last season with 23 homers and 80 RBI, while playing for a bad team in a pitcher friendly ball park. His offensive numbers would almost certainly increase when playing half his games at Camden Yards and his ability to switch hit is just another weapon. His inability to play anywhere but first base is a concern, especially with the increased number of interleague games now with the 15-15 format in the American and National Leagues. Morales is one of those players that would make perfect sense for the Orioles, but Baltimore will have to be willing to give up a draft pick and pay some money.
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