Kendrys Morales reached the 30-homer mark for the second time in his career, last accomplishing the feat in 2009. His doubles total, however, dropped precipitously, suggesting the designated hitter benefitted from the mystery causing baseballs to leave the yard at a record pace last season. The rest of Morales' skills were in line with his career levels, save for the increase in HR/FB% responsible for the power surge. Unfortunately for Morales, despite the added homers, his runs and RBI were tempered as his teammates collectively struggled. Morales, who will turn 34 near midseason, has amassed over 600 plate appearances in three of the past four seasons. As a switch hitter with stable skill set, there's no reason to be wary of a fall-off. He'll no doubt come at a discount because he's only eligible at a utility spot, again yielding a positive return on investment for those willing to sacrifice roster flexibility. With a move to Toronto as a free agent this offseason, Morales could tack on 20 to 30 combined runs and RBI with relative ease, and the more favorable home park significantly improves his chances of approaching 30 home runs again.
Morales agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract with the Blue Jays on Friday, pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The veteran got off to a sluggish start in 2016, batting .226 and .163 in April and May, respectively, but he bounced back and finished with 30 homers and 93 RBI for Kansas City. It was his second career 30-homer season and first since 2009. He's an established, switch-hitting middle-of-the-order bat and should help pick up the slack if Edwin Encarnacion and/or Jose Bautista leave in free agency.
Morales was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Royals on Monday, Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star reports. The risk that Morales would actually sign the qualifying offer was simply to great for the Royals to bear, so now Morales is officially able to pursue any free agent contract. Since there's no lost draft pick to sign him anymore, the switch-hitter could command a decent price on the market given his solid power (52 home runs over the past two years).
Morales declined his mutual option Friday, making him a free agent. The Royals will still have a chance to extend a qualifying offer, but Morales will be able to also test the waters of free agency. The switch hitter swatted 30 home runs and drove in 93 runs, which should help him maintain a nice designated hitter role wherever he lands over the winter.
Morales, who has an opt-out clause as part of a mutual option for 2017, could receive a qualifying offer if he elects to exercise that clause, the Kansas City Star reports. After a slow start, Morales rebounded to hit 30 homers in 2016, his highest total since he swatted 34 long balls in 2009 for the Angels. Overall, his line slipped to .263/.327/.468 in 2016 from .290/.362/.485 in 2015. At age-33, it's easy to wonder if there will be a long list of American League teams willing to offer up a multi-year deal if Morales becomes a free agent, but he's likely to receive a raise next season whether it's with Kansas City or elsewhere.
Morales went 3-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI in Sunday's win over the Tigers. That's now three straight multi-hit performances for Morales, pushing his slash line for September up to .352/.408/.659 in 88 at-bats with eight home runs, 15 runs scored and an incredible 29 RBI.