Hartman: Pohlads approved signing of Morales

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 8, 2014 - 11:47 PM

The Twins owners stepped up with a competitive offer when the free agent slugger was available.

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Kendrys Morales, second from right, was introduced Sunday as the newest member of the Twins.

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One thing about the Pohlad family, who have owned the Twins since 1984 when the late Carl Pohlad bought the team that is now run by his sons: To my knowledge, they have never said no to a general manager of the club if they wanted the money to sign a player to help the team win.

This was the case when Jim Pohlad was approached a week ago and told that Kendrys Morales, one of the better hitters in the game, was available as a free agent.

“[General Manager] Terry Ryan and [assistant GM] Rob Antony came to Jim Pohlad and myself about a week ago,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said. “They wanted to make a run at Morales and ultimately we got it done about 24 hours ago. We think he’s going to be a big part of our offense here and can hopefully add to a team that we think is very much in the mix and can contend here throughout the balance of the season.

“He is out of options, we don’t have the ability to send him to the minor leagues; he’s not hurt so he can’t [go on the disabled list]. So we’re going to have to pick our spots in order to get him into our lineup but I suspect we’ll take that slow.”

Morales will be paid a prorated $12 million salary worth about $7.5 million for the remainder of the season, the third-highest per-year salary on the team behind Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco.

The reason Morales missed the first two months of the season is because any team who signed him as a free agent would have had to give up a draft pick — the Twins would have lost a second-rounder — but that problem disappeared after the draft was held this week.

Jim Pohlad said there was no doubt Ryan would get the go-ahead to sign Morales, and Pohlad told me Sunday they would be willing to sign another player if he could help the team.

“[The front office] knew our position, so I found out about it [Saturday],” Pohlad said. “I think it’s a good deal. The player is motivated, we’re motivated to have him. I look forward to good things.”

And how does Pohlad feel about the play of the Twins so far this season?

“It feels like there’s a different attitude,” he said. “It wasn’t great the last three years and so I believe there’s a different feeling and I think it’s good.”

Ryan liked signing

Ryan was asked if the addition of Morales could spark the team like Shannon Stewart did in 2003 when he was acquired in the middle of the season from Toronto.

“Well, we’re getting [Morales] earlier, that’s a good thing,” Ryan said. “This guy is more of a DH profile than Shannon Stewart was at the time. But we’re hoping he comes in here and provides some offense for this ballclub, we sure as heck could use it.”

Was he scouted a lot?

“We saw him with the Angels in the previous years, and then he went to Seattle,” Ryan said. “He had a good year for Seattle last year in a tough ballpark to hit in.”

Morales hit .277 with 23 home runs, 34 doubles and 80 RBI in 156 games last season.

Ryan talked about approaching the Pohlads for approval to spend the big bucks to sign Morales.

“They have always been generous when it comes to asking whether or not we have the wherewithal to go get a guy when it presents itself,” he said. “They have always been very receptive as long as you can back up what you think in your scouting reports and your evaluation.”

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