The Yankees need reinforcements right now both offensively and in their starting rotation. There is probably nothing they can do about their pitching this far in advance of the trade deadline with nobody ready to sell yet. However, Kendrys Morales is sitting out there and will not cost prospects or a draft pick after the MLB Draft is done on June 7th.
The Yankees should hold off on signing Morales until after the draft so it does not cost them a pick. Afterwards, all it will cost them is money, and Hal Steinbrenner recently said that he is willing to spend to upgrade the team.
“Always willing to look at options come July, come the trade deadline,” Steinbrenner told ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand. “And I think we’ve shown that. Some years we’ve done stuff like last year with [Alfonso] Soriano. Some years we haven’t. But we’re not going to ever lay down and die. We’re going to do what we need to do to stay in.”
The Yankees offense has been pretty good so far this season. They are 9th in MLB in wOBA (.325) and 10th in wRC+ (102). They have gotten excellent seasons out of Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Yangervis Solarte thus far. However, with the weak starting rotation the Yankees will need even more production from their offense.
The Yankees may be losing a very important hitter for a lengthy period of time in Carlos Beltran. Beltran has now received two cortisone shots in his elbow and will attempt to swing a bat on Monday before deciding if he needs surgery that would sideline him 8-12 weeks.
The Yankees need to replace his bat if he will be out that long. They have been batting Jacoby Ellsbury third since the injury and he has been really struggling lately.
It is probably just a coincidence that he has slumped since being moved to the third spot, but either way he should be batting leadoff. Ellsbury just does not have enough power to justify him batting third. He is much better as a table setter.
They need a switch hitting power bat to replace Beltran if he gets surgery, and lone behold there is one just sitting right out there. Morales had solid season for the Mariners last year, as he hit .277/.336/.449/.785 (116 wRC+). That season is pretty much in line with his career numbers except for his MVP caliber season in 2009.
He showed great power last season by hitting 23 home runs even though he played his home games in spacious Safeco Field. Morales would be perfect for Yankee Stadium, as he has hit .286/.340/.499/.839 batting left handed for his career.
Morales would be able to slide right in as the everyday DH for the Yankees since they would not really have one if Beltran is out. The Yankees would be forced to play Ichiro Suzuki or Zoilo Almonte in the outfield and have Alfonso Soriano DH if the situation is not upgraded. You do not want either Ichiro or Almonte as anything more than a bench player, despite how well Ichiro has played this year.
The Yankees would also be able to plug Morales in as the third hitter in the lineup and move Ellsbury back to leadoff where he belongs. They then really should put Gardner or Solarte second instead of Derek Jeter of course, but that is a story for another day.
The AL East and wild card race is going to be very tight so any acquisition can mean the difference between winning the division and watching the playoffs at home. If the Yankees can sign Morales and then use their prospects to trade for a pitcher or two that could put them over the top in the AL East.