Kendrys Morales was activated from the 10-day disabled list earlier today. When he was on the DL, things were simple. The Jays had an open designated hitter spot for either a Steve Pearce and Curtis Granderson platoon or off-days for their group of injury-prone players. Now that he’s back, though, things become more complicated.
I don’t think Morales is some scrub who should be fired into space, or anything. He’s still an elite bat against lefty pitching, but to simply pencil him in as your full-time designated hitter makes life difficult given the composition of this roster.
The biggest reason that Morales’ role on the team is difficult for me is him clogging up a DH role that needs to be shared among different players on the team. Josh Donaldson, Devon Travis, and Russell Martin can’t be playing in the field every day. Still, even when they’re off their feet, you still want those bats in the lineup. That’s especially the case for Donaldson. Beyond that, Granderson and Pearce are an excellent platoon, but neither is particularly great in the field. The outfield of Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, and Teoscar Hernandez is stronger defensively than one that features either Pearce or Granderson.
In my mind, with all that considered, Morales fits on this team best as a bat off the bench. Can you rationalize that given the fact he’s paid to be a starting player? Does that really matter? Maybe we’re underrating Morales a little here, but I have a hard time believing the increased value his bat might bring is worth clogging the base paths and a decrease in positional versatility if he’s starting.
Another thing to consider is that you really can’t operate with five outfielders AND Morales on your 25-man. If, when Donaldson returns, you still have Morales on the roster, you have to send Teoscar Hernandez back to Triple-A (or, uh, DFA Randal Grichuk? That isn’t a good idea, by the way) otherwise you’re running into a situation in which Yangervis Solarte is your only backup infielder, and you’d obviously rather have him start than come off the bench.
I don’t know. I’m not speaking definitively, or anything, because this is a puzzling issue. I’m posing this as more of a question to the commenters than anything. Where does Kendrys Morales fit right now? Beyond that, where does he fit when everyone is healthy?