Veteran slugger Morales a stunning addition to Twins roster

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 24, 2014 - 3:31 PM

They declared themselves playoff contenders by adding the switch hitter.


Kendrys Morales will reportedly sign with the Twins.

Photo: John F. Rhodes, Dml - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

That annual July debate around baseball, are you buyers or sellers? The Twins made up their minds early this year.

Only two games below .500 in a season that’s 10 weeks old — and more important, a mere five games out of first place in the lackluster AL Central — the Twins declared themselves pennant contenders Saturday by signing a significant free agent to beef up their lineup. Kendrys Morales, a Cuban power hitter who slugged 23 home runs last year for Seattle, has agreed to a contract with the Twins for the remainder of the season, a team source confirmed Saturday.

“We’ve always liked the guy. We know he can hit,” manager Ron Gardenhire said, though he said he was unaware of any upcoming move.

The source, who requested anonymity because the Twins have not officially announced the transaction, said the contract is pending a physical exam — important in his case because of a history of injury. Morales missed most of 2010 and all of 2011 after breaking his ankle, a freak injury suffered during a walk-off celebration while with the Angels.

Contract details have not been disclosed, but — which also confirmed the signing after first reported it — says the deal is worth a prorated share of a $12 million salary, or a little more than $7.5 million.

The move took baseball by surprise — had listed the Brewers, Mariners, Yankees and Rangers as potential landing spots, with the Twins never mentioned — because it’s an aggressive, in-season move by a team not known for them. But power hitting is a critical need for the Twins lineup, and Morales could step right in since the team has no regular designated hitter.

More than anything, however, the move is a demonstration of faith in the current roster, and a signal to fans that, as General Manager Terry Ryan insisted all winter, the Twins aren’t focused solely on a rebuilding project that’s still a few years away.

“We’ve been facing a lot of really good teams, we’ve been competing with them all, and I don’t see why we shouldn’t now,” Gardenhire said. “We feel good about ourselves, I’ve said that all along. This team doesn’t ever feel out of games.”

Nor out of a division race being led by a Detroit team that has scored almost exactly as many runs as the Twins. Minnesota has never been more than three games below .500, or two games above — a so-so record that’s still a big step forward for a team that lost 95 or more games for each of the past three seasons.

“I was excited to hear [about Morales]. I think anybody in the clubhouse is excited any time you make a move for a player like that,” said righthander Kyle Gibson, who pitched seven shutout innings in Saturday’s 8-0 victory over Houston at Target Field. “We feel like we’ve got a good team here. Our starting pitching is starting to roll pretty good, our defense has been pretty good. ... So we’re pretty confident in the way we’re playing right now.”

Morales was available, like shortstop Stephen Drew, months after most of last winter’s free agents agreed to contracts because signing him would have cost the new team a high draft pick. That scared away teams that might have been interested in offering him a long-term contract.

But that compensation disappeared with this past week’s draft, so the Twins, who would have lost a second-round pick, can add him without penalty. Drew, like Morales a client of agent Scott Boras, held out until the middle of last month, when he re-signed with Boston, which could bring him back without losing a draft pick.

Like Drew, Morales figures to need a week or two of minor league play to get up to speed for the big leagues, since he missed all of spring training and the first 10 weeks of the season.

“He’s always been able to hit. He’s a run-producer,” Gardenhire said. “... Hopefully he comes our way. That would be wonderful.”


  • related content

  • Poll: Are the Twins playoff contenders with Kendrys Morales?

    Saturday June 7, 2014

  • The Morales file

    Saturday June 7, 2014

    The Morales filePosition: 1B-DHBats: BothThrows: RightAge: Will be 31 on June 20Career highlights: Achieved career highs with a .306 average,...

  • Kendrys Morales career statistics

    Thursday July 24, 2014

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Kendry Morales and Kansas City Royals catcher Brayan Pena watch Morales’ 3-RBI base hit that broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, July 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon) ORG XMIT: ANS108

  • SUPERB DAY FOR SANTANARookie Danny Santana drove in five runs with three hits — a day after hitting his first big-league homer — and helped Kyle Gibson and the Twins ease to an 8-0 victory over Houston. Story, C6

  • Morales

  • Kendrys Morales had 23 home runs with Seattle in 2013.


    Up next: 1:10 p.m. Sunday vs. Houston • Target Field • TV: FSN (96.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Are you happy to see the Royals in the World Series?

Weekly Question