Blue Jays: Plenty of veterans with something to prove
Everyone’s favourite target- Kendrys Morales
One of the most common gripes among Blue Jays fans is the contract and/or performance of DH, Kendrys Morales. Many fans hoped to see the front office re-sign Edwin Encarnacion last winter, but instead they witnessed a three year pact for Morales, who underperformed in 2017, at least by the standards of most observers.
He wasn’t terrible by any means, but he didn’t flourish in the way that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro had hoped he would, and instead became the type of DH only anchor that can limit a roster, especially an older one like they employed in Toronto. He was also heavily criticized for his elephant-like foot speed, especially on a term full of lead footed baserunners.
Morales has two years and 22 million remaining on his deal, and he’ll need to show both the Blue Jays and the rest of baseball that he can still bring value to the table. Without the ability to add much in the way of defensive value, a designated hitter needs to provide an elite offensive contribution, otherwise they become redundant in a real hurry in today’s game. Baseball is evolving quickly, and with more teams using a DH by committee to rest their lineup regulars, guys like Morales are slowly being phased out of baseball.
The same will happen for the likeable veteran if he doesn’t prove he can still provide a middle of the order calibre bat. There were some calls for the Blue Jays to eat his contract this offseason, and that could be a more serious consideration next year if things don’t improve. Again, it’s not as if he was terrible in 2017, but with the presence of other veterans like Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, and others who could use an occasional day off their feet, justifying a bat-only spot on the roster gets more difficult all the time.