As the month of August begins to wind down, so does the bulk of the work by MLB General Managers as the final deadline to have players eligible for playoff rosters passes. Once we hit September 1st, you pretty much have to go with what you have and hope that your team has enough to get into the postseason and play deep into October. Trades are still possible of course, and do happen occasionally, but they can only help during the regular season.
So at this point there will be a last minute scramble by GMs to attempt to fortify their rosters before the deadline. For the Athletics, there remains an obvious need in a couple areas of the team. They could use another power bat who can play first base and DH, and they could use a couple pitchers for the bullpen and one for the rotation as well perhaps. I will examine the pros and cons of a number of potential targets for the A’s in the coming days as the deadline draws near.
Kendrys Morales was sent to the Seattle Mariners last offseason in a rather surprising move that sent Jason Vargas to the Angels. Morales had of course battled back from a devastating broken leg he suffered while celebrating a walk-off grand slam in 2010. It took him almost two full years to return from the injury. Upon his return though he returned to his previous status as a feared hitter who could always provide quality at bats, and hit the ball out of the ballpark with frequency.
This season Morales is hitting a very respectable .281/.338/.446 with 17 home runs. His contract is up at the end of the season, and he figures to move on from the Mariners via free agency. A player like this is a perfect fit for the Athletics because of his expiring contract. The A’s shouldn’t be looking to acquire players who will be on the books beyond this season, thus maintaining their flexibility as the Hot Stove season gets under way. Morales’ contract status should also keep the cost in terms of players to a minimum since he would be a one month plus possible postseason rental.
The injury to Josh Reddick opens up some possibilities as we’ve seen with Brandon Moss moving to right field to take his place, Morales can play first base if needed but would fit in primarily as a switch hitting DH. Seth Smith would likely see less playing time, but the absence of Reddick would secure his place on the roster as the fifth outfielder and DH when Morales played first.
The Mariners have already placed Morales on waivers, and reports from Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports on Monday were that he had been claimed. We should find out within the next day or so which team was awarded the claim, if it’s the A’s I would expect a deal to be worked out.