Blue Jays add lefty depth with reliever Franklin Morales
The Blue Jays have reportedly signed veteran relief pitcher Franklin Morales, who was recently let go by the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of spring training
With their left-handed relief depth needing some support, the Blue Jays have signed 30-year-old Venezualan pitcher Franklin Morales according to a report this afternoon from Andrew Hendriks of the Canadian Baseball Network.
Pitching for the Kansas City Royals in 2015, Morales threw 62.1 innings over 67 appearances with a 3.18 ERA. His strikeout rate sunk to a career low of 5.9 K/9, but he did offset that with the most efficient walk rate of his nine years in the Major Leagues.
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After spending the early years of his career with Colorado and Boston, Morales did return to the Rockies in 2014 where he started 22 games and pitched 142.1 innings. He has spent the majority of his career outside of that season as a reliever.
Against left-handed hitters, which appears to be his value to the Jays, Morales has always been strong. He holds a career opponent’s OPS of .613 in lefty-on-lefty matchups, a number that grew even stronger last year with the Royals.
Across 107 opponent plate appearance, left-handed hitters posted a .192 / .245 / .313 line against Morales.
Moving back into a full-time relieving role with Kansas City last year saw Morales bump his fastball velocity back up to an average of 92.8 MPH. He will throw a slider approximately one-third of the time and features a little-used curveball and change.
With Aaron Loup on the disabled list, Brett Cecil remains the lone lefty on the Blue Jays roster as Pat Venditte, Chad Girodo, and Randy Choate were unable to unseat Ryan Tepera for a spot in the opening day bullpen.