Free Agent Forecast: Kendrys Morales
The Cuban switch-hitter is a better player than you probably think he is. He had a great year in 2009, and while he is yet to return to that form, he's still very productive at the plate. He hit .277 with 23 HRs and 80 RBIs last year, which was very respectable on a bad Mariners team. He's become more of a DH than a first baseman, mostly because his offensive numbers are good enough. He hits equally well from both sides of the plate and continues to drive in runs. Since his serious leg injury sustained in 2010, he's actually stayed decently healthy as well. He missed the 2011 season recovering from the injury, but he played 134 games in 2012 and 156 in 2013. There's no reason to think he won't be on the field for 140 games or more in 2014, as he is just 30-years-old.
Assuming Mark Teixeira is healthy, the Yankees don't need anyone to play first base. What they could use is a DH with power, which is exactly what Morales could be. His home run numbers would increase in Yankee Stadium over Safeco Field, and the Yankees could use a solid 25-85 guy in the middle of their lineup, especially with so many question marks in the infield. It's easy to see why the Yankees would want the guy -- but he's not the cheapest option. He made $5 million last year with the Mariners and after a solid season, he may be asking for more.
Between his solid bat, good clubhouse presence and ability to DH and play first base, I think this is a guy the Yankees WILL sign. I think the Yankees would like a two-year deal, which offers some security for Morales but it's not a huge commitment from either side. In terms of the money, it's hard to say exactly how much the two sides would agree on. I could see a deal of something like 2-years, $24 million.