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I’m having a difficult time figuring out where Kendrys Morales fits

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?

  • DeeSells

    Depth has become a problem which is almost laughable, if it didn’t come at the expense of our young players. I don’t think there is currently an easy answer. I agree grichuk cannot be DFA’d and sending teoscar back down would cause a potential riot amongst the fan base.

  • Deener32

    Having too many good players for too few roster spots is a good thing!

    We really have no idea if all those guys will be healthy when JoDo comes back, and if they are you re-evaluate then. I think it’s impossible to jettison him to space (especially since Pearce has a reputation for missing time each year).

    I think the most obvious answer (unfortunately) will be sending Hernandez back to AAA until Morales, Pearce, Grandy, Pillar or Grichuk gets injured.

    To be clear- There is no scenario where the Jays give up on Grichuk after 100 or so AB’s. With two more years of cost control over him he likely has all the rope in the world from this front office.

  • Kristen Sprague

    Can we try to send Morales down? I’m assuming he has to clear waivers and if another team wants to pick up that contract then let him go. He can be called up if we run through injury issues

  • The Humungus

    So, what are we looking at here

    OF

    Granderson
    Grichuk
    Hernandez
    Pillar

    IF

    Diaz
    Smoak
    Solarte
    Travis

    C

    Martin
    Maile

    UT
    Pearce (because he can play IF positions as well)
    Gurriel Jr
    DH

    Morales

    13 position players

    That leaves room for a 7 man bullpen.

    When Donaldson comes back, I’m going to assume Gurriel Jr goes down to Buffalo. Assuming no one else gets hurt.

    I know you don’t want to DH Morales every day, but you also don’t want to platoon Granderson/Pearce at DH, because if Grandy is DH’ing and an OF gets hurt, now you have to put either Pearce, Gurriel or Solarte in the OF, none of which is an ideal.

    I think Morales has to DH. Not all the time, but more than 50% of the time for sure. At least until he shows that he just can’t cut it.

  • Dexxter

    He fits on another teams roster. Trade him and a low level prospect for whatever salary relief you can get. The anti Liriano trade.

    Not sure why we think there is still value here. Lomo and Moustakas sign for $6.5m after much better years than Kendrys and they can both play the field. Kendrys at this point has negative value. Cut bait.

    • lukewarmwater

      I am wondering if there is a team out there that would be interested in Morales if we ate part of his salary. I totally agree with Cam that with the veterans we have, it would be best to having a revolving D.H. to give guys a day off from playing on the hard turf. I also notice that teams that have just played a series in Tampa and then come to the big smoke often have some of their stars D. H. a game in Toronto. Our guys have to play up to 81 games on that hard field. Morales has struggled at the plate but he has to be slowest runner in the league and thus is a double play causing machine.

  • Peter Gentleman

    He belongs right back in the free agent pool after getting released. He was a barely average hitter when they signed him, and he’s only gotten worse since then. He doesn’t do anything that a hundred other readily-available guys could do if the need arises.

  • sparklenshine

    I think we keep him around as bench strength until we are closer to trade deadline…as an advanced 30something I can tell you it’s hard to get the body fixed – tulo ain’t coming back this year. I project that in 4 months TBJ are younger, more athletic and more manic – we’ll be riding the ups and downs of a young team. Our pitching will be more solid cuz we’ll be trading for young upside, arms…JD, Travis, Estrada, Morales, Smoak perhaps Axford & Pillar will all be gone. Won’t have a depth problem anymore

    • Dexxter

      Unless this team goes in the tank very few if any of those guys will be gone. Possibly Morales…. but I can’t see any of those other guys being let go or traded from a competitive Jays team unless their performance is so bad that they’re just unplayable.

  • Holly Wood

    Between now and when Donaldson gets back somebody may be legitimately be injured. If not who ever is not producing may suddenly have a lower body injury that requires 10 days on the dl . The Yankees did it this morning with a pitcher.