1:45pm: Royals general manager Dayton Moore tells MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that he has “definite interest” in re-signing Morales this winter as well (Twitter link). The Royals, of course, are facing some potential payroll constraints, so it’s not clear that they’d be able to fit Morales into the budget.
9:41am: The Yankees have reached out to the representatives of free agent DH Kendrys Morales, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. The 33-year-old would be seen as an option for New York in the event that the club deals catcher and DH candidate Brian McCann this winter.
There’s more interest from the AL East, too, according to the report. Both the Blue Jays and Red Sox have also put out early feelers on Morales, who was not issued a qualifying offer by the Royals and can therefore be signed without sacrificing a draft pick. Those organizations have also been tied to Edwin Encarnacion, who’ll certainly require a much larger contract, so Morales looks to represent something of an alternative.
The lack of a qualifying offer certainly enhances the appeal of Morales, who is more or less a pure DH but does deliver some flexibility as a switch-hitter. Despite a lull early in 2016, he ended his two years in Kansas City with a robust .277/.344/.476 batting line and 52 home runs over 1,257 plate appearances.
While there are plenty of alternative sluggers available in free agency — some of a more premium variety, others on par, and still others with less appeal than Morales — it seems that he is a popular early target. That’s certainly a good sign for the veteran, who is expected to command a multi-year contract once again. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicts that Morales will land at $26MM over a two-year commitment. That would represent a solid raise over his most recent contract, which was signed on the heels of a much-less-encouraging platform.