Morrison, who started his Rays career last season with a .100/.133/.156 line with no homers or RBI in April, is looking to build on his second-half momentum from last season to open the 2017 campaign, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. "Take out April and I was pretty good," said Morrison, who arrived to camp on Thursday. "But I was pretty bad in April. Long season, but hopefully I can be as consistent as I was in the second half, even May on, and stay healthy."
The veteran first baseman, who re-signed with the Rays on a one-year, $2.5 million deal on Feb. 7, has traditionally struggled in the opening month of the season throughout his seven-year career, but 2016 was on a level all its own. Morrison went hitless over his first four games, tallied just six hits in 60 at-bats over the month, and whiffed 25 times, striking out at least once in 17 of the 18 games he registered one or more at-bats in. The 29-year-old bounced back from the historically bad start to finish with a .238/.319/.414 line with 18 doubles, one triple, 14 homers and 43 RBI, with particularly strong performances in May and September. However, the latter month was curtailed by season-ending wrist injury that ended up requiring offseason surgery. Morrison's exact role in the coming season is likely to still be sorted out in spring training, as the Rays still have to determine how they will deploy Brad Miller in the field. However, one thing that is for certain is the fortitude of Morrison's surgically-repaired wrist, which he confirms "feels good." "We'll see how they'll want to progress me, whatever," Morrison said. "But I feel ready to go. ... It's up to [the Rays if I'll need extra time to get ready] and the training staff. But guys play with this surgery three months out, and I'm 4 1/2 to 5, so I should be fine."
The veteran first baseman underwent wrist surgery in October, but he seems to be recovering at a decent pace to play the bulk of the regular season. Morrison struggled significantly for a good chunk of 2016, but he picked things up in the second half to reclaim his spot as the Rays' starter at first base. Once he's fully healthy, he should be a regular in the lineup, but expectations for him should be tempered until he proves to be fully healthy (and back to his previous promising form at the plate).
Morrison (wrist), who re-upped with the Rays on a one-year, $2.5 million deal last Friday, can earn significantly more by hitting several benchmarks related to his health, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The veteran was limited to 107 games and 398 plate appearances in 2016, as forearm and wrist injuries conspired to sideline him. He was left to test the open market earlier in the offseason until the Rays opted bring back into the fold, presumably to facilitate a move of Brad Miller to second base. Taking some precautions after last year's injury-marred campaign, the team built in a $250,000 bonus into Morrison's new deal that triggers if he spends less than 60 days on the DL "due to specific injury". He'll also see a $250,000 bump that if he makes 400 plate appearances, with and the bonus recurring every 50 thereafter up to 550. The 29-year-old exceeded the 400-threshold in both 2011 and 2015 with the Mariners.
He was essentially a league average hitter last year (101 wRC+), but his .238 average, 14 home runs, 45 runs and 43 RBI placed him below the line of a useful corner infielder in standard leagues. Morrison won't play every day, but he also won't require a strict platoon at first base, and could be a useful compiler in deep mixers and AL-only leagues. He had offseason wrist surgery but is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.
Morrison (wrist) became a free agent Thursday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Morrison signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay last offseason, but he'll depart after an abysmal season where he batted just .238 with 14 home runs. The 29-year-old does walk at a solid rate, although his uptick in strikeouts could deter some of his suitors this winter while he recovers from wrist surgery.
|10/2/2016 vs Texas|
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|2010||AAA-New Orleans Zephyrs||68||238||36||73||17||4||6||45||48||35||1||2||.427||.487||.307|
|2011||AAA-New Orleans Zephyrs||6||24||3||4||2||0||1||5||2||4||0||0||.222||.375||.167|