The Athletics have designate first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales for assignment, manager Bob Melvin announced Monday in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link, with audio). His spot on the active roster will go to Mark Canha, who has been activated from the injured list.
“Unfortunately, we had to let him go,” Melvin said of the decision to designate Morales. “I’ll tell you what, this guy, maybe he didn’t put up great numbers, but this is a terrific teammate. Yesterday, he didn’t play, and there’s a lot of speculation about him going away, and all he’s doing is rooting for every guy we have on every pitch. … Unfortunately, we don’t have room for him right now, and somebody’s going to pick him up. I know that, but boy, we really enjoyed our time with him. He’s a real pro.”
It was indeed a struggle for Morales, 35, during his limited time with the A’s. Oakland acquired him in late March after losing Matt Olson to a hand injury, and Morales saw pretty regular playing time at first base and DH. However, in his 126 plate appearances with the organization, he hit just .204/.310/.259 with one home run.
Morales drew his share of walks and didn’t strike out at a high clip, but the veteran slugger wasn’t able to produce enough at the plate for the organization to consider retaining him as a bench bat now that Olson is back in the lineup. With Olson and Canha both healthy and Khris Davis entrenched at designated hitter, there’s not much of a role in Oakland for Morales at this point.
The Athletics will have a week to trade or release Morales. Though he played the field in Oakland, most clubs will look at him as a pure DH option, so he’s likeliest to land with an American League club. The Indians have been mixing at matching throughout their lineup all season and parted ways with Hanley Ramirez already, while the Twins are evaluating Nelson Cruz for a potential injury. Morales could also latch on with a non-contender who hopes to bring in a veteran leader that can mentor a younger, developing core of players.