12:51pm: If Morrison signs with the Twins, it’ll be a one-year deal with a vesting option for 2019, per Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link). The White Sox have also shown interest in Morrison, Wolfson adds.
12:42pm: The two sides are “in serious talks” and closing in on a deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets.
10:16am: Although first baseman Logan Morrison enjoyed a career year with the Rays in 2017, he hasn’t encountered a robust market in free agency. Legitimate interest in Morrison has been hard to come by since he became available in November, but he may not be out of work for much longer. The Twins are interested in the 30-year-old, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports (Twitter link).
MLBTR recently made a case for someone to sign Morrison, arguing that Minnesota would make sense as a destination because of the unspectacular production the team received from its designated hitters in 2017. Twins DHs Robbie Grossman and Kennys Vargas combined for league-average numbers, hitting .249/.344/.404 with 20 home runs and a .156 ISO in 720 plate appearances, and the club hasn’t made any notable additions at the position since then.
Morrison, meanwhile, set career highs in most offensive categories, slashing .246/.353/.516 (130 wRC+) with 38 HRs and a .270 ISO in 601 PAs. While the left-handed hitter entered last season with uninspiring career numbers, the significant gains he made with respect to hitting more fly balls (46.2 percent, up from a career 37.5 percent) and drawing more walks (13.5 percent, compared to a 10.5 percent lifetime mark) add intrigue to the outstanding production he logged in Tampa Bay. Statcast data provides further hope for Morrison, who ranked 26th in barrels per PA and 32nd in balls hit at least 95 mph in 2017. He also concluded the year with a .365 expected weighted on-base average that slightly outdid his real wOBA (.363).
Despite his quality 2017, Morrison reportedly isn’t sitting on any offers in the early stages of spring training, which could make it difficult for him to secure a deal in line with MLBTR’s pre-offseason projection (three years, $36MM). The Twins may be in position to land him for a cheaper-than-expected cost, then. But in the event Morrison inks a multiyear deal, he could emerge as Minnesota’s starting first baseman in 2019 if the team doesn’t re-sign soon-to-be free agent Joe Mauer.