The Angels tendered contracts to all of their arbitration eligible players by the Monday night deadline inluding the still-hobbled first basemen Kendrys Morales. There was some mild speculation that Morales could have been non-tendered after the Angels dropped a quarter-billion on Albert Pujols and still have American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Mark Trumbo on the cheap. Morales hasn’t seen the field since early in the 2009 seaason but the Angels aren’t willing to call it quits with the slugging first baseman…
The Morales offer means the Angels will commit about $3 million to the switch-hitter in 2012, even though he missed the last 1 1/2 seasons because of a broken left ankle, suffered when he jumped into home plate in celebration of a walk-off home run on May 29, 2010.
Morales is rehabilitating in Arizona, where he has progressed to batting practice and jogging on a “de-weighted” treadmill.
I’m not sure if $3 million is best spent on a 29-year-old first baseman who needs a harness to keep him up when he “jogs” on a treadmill. But the way the Angels have spent money this winter, I keep checking my mailbox everyday for some of that proverbial fat cash. I only get coupons for a buffet at a super dirty casino in Biloxi though. I travel in style, people.
Morales broke out in a major way when Mark Teixeira spurned the Angels for the Yankees in 2009. Morales hit 34 home runs and a .306/.355/.569 line after replacing Tex and was off to a decent start in 2010 with 11 homers and a .290/.346/.487 line before his career was derailed by that ankle shattering walk-off celebration/disaster. In fact, that was the subject matter for the first ever post at Off Base Percentage. I was so young and full of hate back then. Where does the time go?
The projections for Morales’ 2012 are similar in that they have him playing. I’m not quite that optimistic. I’d like to see him run half way down the first base line without his fibula bursting through his sock before I get too excited. Bill James, on the other hand, projects 24 home runs and a .296/.341/.504 line while ZiPS has him at 14 long balls and a .274/.321/.455 line.
I’m rooting for Morales to get back on the field, don’t get me wrong, but I was more bright-eyed about his situation at this time last year than I am now. Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo were the other Angels tendered on Monday which just sounds much dirtier than it really is.