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Why Kendrys Morales doesn't make sense for the Pirates


Since Kendrys Morales' name continues to come up as a potential solution to the Pirates' first-base problems, here's the case against him.

1) He's not really a first baseman. Morales suffered a serious leg injury while celebrating a walk-off grand slam in 2010, and since then he hasn't played more than 275 innings in a season at first base. Everything I've read since then suggests that he can't be a full-time first baseman. Given Morales' age and injury history, there's isn't much reason to doubt that's true. So it's really pretty simple:

Kendrys Morales probably can't play in the field more than once or twice a week.
The National League requires everyday hitters to play in the field.
The Pirates are a National League team.

∴ Kendrys Morales probably can't play every day for the Pirates.

2) Morales would cost the Pirates their first-round pick. The Pirates are picking low in the first round next year, and the comp pick shouldn't, and likely wouldn't, be a huge hindrance for them -- heck, they gave up a similar pick to acquire Gaby Sanchez last year. I wouldn't mind if the Pirates gave up their pick in order to sign an impact player. But the pick is at least part of the equation.

3) Morales isn't an impact player. He's a good, but hardly great, hitter who's aging and has no defensive or baserunning value. Both Steamer and Oliver project him as something like a 1.5-win player next year. That's something, but that doesn't into account that we don't really know how playing in the field every day might affect him.

4) Morales is currently in this position because he turned down a qualifying offer, which means he didn't want one year and $14.1 million from the Mariners. Maybe at some point his agent, Scott Boras, will come to the conclusion that was a mistake and adjust his demands downward, but I doubt it. If something like $15 million, or even two years and $24 million (as USS Mariner points out, that's what Adam LaRoche signed for last year after declining a qualifying offer) are the baseline for what it might take to sign Morales, that's an easy no for me. If the Pirates were an American League team in search of a DH, that might be different. But for a National League team, Morales isn't worth the money, let alone the money plus the loss of a draft pick. And I say that as someone who's disappointed with the Pirates' thrifty offseason so far. I want the Pirates to spend money. But this isn't the way to do it.