Blue Jays trade DH/1B Kendrys Morales to Oakland
In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, the Blue Jays have traded Kendrys Morales to the Oakland A’s in exchange for INF Jesus Lopes and international bonus pool money.
While the Blue Jays have been shopping many of their veteran players throughout the winter, I’m surprised to say that Kendrys Morales has been traded to the Oakland A’s on the eve of Opening Day.
It’s not that Morales isn’t still a solid hitter, I’m just surprised that in today’s evolving league that the Blue Jays were able to find a taker for a DH only option, however the injury to Matt Olson last week could have something to do with that.
In return the Blue Jays will be getting a minor league infielder named Jesus Lopes, as well as some international bonus pool signing space, which could certainly carry some value. Regardless of the return though, perhaps the greatest benefit is that the Blue Jays have opened up more at bats for their young players.
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It was thought that Morales would be leaned on this season as a key leadership piece in the dugout, but it appears the Blue Jays are comfortable moving on without him. He was lauded as someone that the Latin-American players could look to, especially guys like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but moving on from the 36 year should be easy enough to handle with other strong voices kicking around, especially new manager Charlie Montoyo.
Morales overcame a dreadful start last season to become one of, if not the best hitter on the team in the second half. He finished the season with a .249/.331/.438 with 21 home runs and 57 RBI in 2019, playing in 130 games and accumulating 413 at bats throughout the year.
My assumption is that the Blue Jays will now make sure that Teoscar Hernandez is in the lineup all the time, whether he’s in the outfield or in the DH spot. It remains to be seen if the Blue Jays have any other corresponding moves, but with the talent in their minor league system close to being ready to contribute, they may not want to fill that space anyway.
More to come as we learn more details on the trade, but for now, that’s for the memories Mr. Morales.