The Twins have added Kendrys Morales, a potent bat for the middle of their lineup, a Twins source confirmed to the Star Tribune after a report by CBSSports.com. The Twins have not officially confirmed the report, first disclosed by Jon Heyman, and spokesman Dustin Morse says the team anticipates making no announcements today.
Morales, who hit 23 home runs for the Mariners last season, was a free agent last offseason, but never signed because his new team would have to surrender a draft pick as compensation. With the draft passed, that requirement is lifted, and the Twins won't forfeit anything for adding the 30-year-old first baseman/designated hitter.
Morales seems likely to become the Twins' new DH, once he joins the team, presumably after a minor-league stint to get up to speed. Morales missed the entire 2011 season after breaking an ankle during a celebration of a walk-off home run while with the Angels. But he hit 34 homers with the Angels in 2009, finishing fifth in the MVP voting won by new teammate Joe Mauer.
According to Jerry Crasnick of espn.com, Morales signed a one-year contract for "in the ballpark" of $10 million. Morales can become a free agent again, with no compensation strings attached, after the season.
The signing is the strongest indication yet that the Twins consider the AL Central within reach this year; Minnesota opened the day in last play in the five-team division, but only five games behind first-place Detroit. The Twins visit Detroit next weekend.
The Twins have not confirmed the report and won't today, perhaps because Morales would be required to undergo a physical first. In addition, the Twins will have to make a roster move to make room.