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Kendrys Morales is looking good

Jan 27, 2012, 9:24 AM EDT

Kendry Morales homer

Kendrys Morales hasn’t played since breaking his leg in May of 2010, but if the reports from Tempe, Arizona are to be believed, he’s going to be playing, and playing well, pretty darn soon:

“I’ve been hitting with him every day (at the Angels’ minor-league complex in Tempe, Ariz.) and he looks strong,” Angels centerfielder Peter Bourjos said Wednesday. “Monday was the first time he took live BP (with a coach throwing) and he was popping them out from both sides. “It’s very impressive.”

Granted, Bourjos isn’t the most objective observer here, but even if he’s exaggerating, it’s a big improvement over last year.  I was at Angels’ camp the day of their first spring training game last March and was around early for BP.  Morales was there, but he didn’t hit. People — even people connected with the Angels — were whispering stuff about him, shaking their head and looking sad. No one could even pretend.

Oh, and bonus: Bourjos says that Morales has lost weight and looks to be in great shape, so there’s that too.

If Morales can return to 2009 form, it’ll be like the Angels signed two crazy-good hitters in the offseason, not just one.

  1. uyf1950 - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Glad to see he’s coming back and looking good after that injury. Not an Angels fan but you still hate to see someone injure themselves.

    I have to ask though with Pujols now in an Angels uniform where will Morales be playing?

    • judahbenhur - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      Morales hits at the DH spot. If he is completely healed, he can also play first and the corner outfield spots. He actually gives the Angels tremendous options. Morales also came up at as a third baseman.

  2. unclemosesgreen - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    If Morales is healthy, it will also give the Angels six 1B / corner OF types, in Pujols, Morales, Trumbo, Wells, Abreu and Torii Hunter. And that’s not counting Mike Trout. So they could have some serious trade bait as the season goes on.

    • APBA Guy - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Trout is much more mobile than the others you mentioned. Don’t you think he needs a year (approximately) at AAA also?

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 28, 2012 at 4:52 AM

        Trout and Torii are quite mobile, and Vernon Wells used to be a CF as well. I also didn’t mention Bourjos, who did an excellent job holding it down in CF last year. Having Bourjos in center and all of those guys means that Mike Trout will almost certainly open the season in AAA. It would probably take some combination of 2 trades or injuries for Trout to be a regular this year.

        I can’t speak intelligently about whether Trout really needs more seasoning, but I would recommend thin slices of garlic, butter, salt, pepper and lemon wedges. I mean, whether he’s ready or not, he’ll probably get his year in AAA.

    • cur68 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      Uncle Mo, you mentioned trade bait with Wells in the same sentence. I’m sorry, but Alex Anthopolous is not gonna GM the Angles. I think that slight of hand only works once, in any case. All you can hope for is that Wells turns up in the BSOHL and actually hits like its 2006. Other than that, abandon hope, ye who enter into a contracts with Wells. Nice guy, though. Mediocre ball player, but a nice guy.

      • judahbenhur - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:33 PM

        Wells still hit 26 home runs despite missing a month of the season. There is zero pressure on him this year and he’ll hit 7th. If he can just hit 250 with 30 home runs and 80-90 RBI in that spot the Angels will be very happy. A bounce back year also raises a possibility of the team being able to move him next year, as he’ll only have two years left on his contract.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jan 28, 2012 at 4:54 AM

        They could trade Vernon Wells tomorrow. All they have to do is package him with a suitcase containing $50 million.

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    It’ll be interesting, because Morales is a better defender than Pujols at first base. Neither man can really play anywhere else in the field, with any regularity anyway, and they both seem like they’d be completely wasted just at DH as they’re both quite athletic.

    My guess is they try to move Abreu to open up the DH-slot on a regular basis or, if the Trumbo experiment at 3B doesn’t work, maybe they let Pujols and/or Morales try their hot at the hot corner on occasion.

    I was all but certain they’d move Trumbo or Morales to Milwaukee for a reunion with Frankie Rodriguez there for a bit to shore up the bullpen and help clear up the first base logjam, especially since Milwaukee has a bit of a hole at 1B right now.

    • Alex K - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:57 AM

      Are you sure Morales is a better 1B defender than Pujols? That seems unlikely. Pujols is a very, very good defensive player.

      • Jeremiah Graves - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        I’m basing it on UZR/150.

        Being a Twins fan who lives in Red Sox Nation, I never really watch either one play, so it’s hard to make a decision based on anything other than the current defensive stat du jour.

      • paperlions - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        Not surprisingly, Pujols’ defense has been in a slow decline for the last few years. Still a smart defender that makes aggressive plays, but his range and glove are not what they were…you can see it, and it is reflected in the numbers…..but…let’s face it, he is Albert freaking Pujols, he may volunteer to play another position for a few games, but he will not be moved to DH just because someone else is a better defender.

      • Alex K - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        I just used a gut reaction about the fielding with nothing but memory of scouting reports to back me up.

        And I agree, paper, he’s not moving off 1B. Even if Morales is a better fielder it probably isn’t by enough to start that type of shit storm.

    • judahbenhur - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Morales can absolutely play one of the corner outfield spots and DH… he came up as a third baseman. Pujols is a gold glover at first.

  4. fuggles7 - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    They are probably waiting until Morales rebuilds his value, then trade him for more pitching and picks.. as Trumbo is going to be a much cheaper option going forward at DH.

    • paperlions - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      First, you can’t trade for picks in MLB.

      Second, they need hitting not pitching. With Pujols, they have one hitter that is clearly better than league average….Trout obviously has huge potential, but if they trade Morales, that leaves them with a fairly weak hitting lineup….especially if they keep running out Wells, Hunter, Abreu, and Trumbo….that is a lot of outs.

    • SmackSaw - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM

      Fugginstupid isn’t a baseball fan. That post reminds me of one of the guy’s in the office.

      • fuggles7 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:17 PM

        And SmackSaw is still living in his underwear in his mother’s basement.. but what the hey!

      • cur68 - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        I too, up until this year, thought you could trade for picks in MLB. I was politely informed that I was wrong. I held no grudge. Was in fact grateful for the correction. I’m not sure why you felt you had go with “stupid” there but I think you’ll find it says more about you than it does about the guy you’re being shitty to.

    • judahbenhur - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      Why or why would they want to trade Morales when it’s possible he could have bigger numbers than Pujols? He’s only 27, and finished 5th in the MVP voting two years ago. Morales is a monster at the plate, who hasn’t reached his ceiling. Morales isn’t going anywhere. Their challenge by the end of the year will be to sign him to a long term deal. If he comes back to form the Angels might have the best one-two punch in the game. Abreu, Trumbo, Conger, Callaspo and Izturis are the trade chips to either land a credible third bagger, bullpen help, or minor league pitching prospects to add depth to their rotation.

  5. aceshigh11 - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Good news…I’ve felt awful for him ever since it happened. Hope he comes back strong.

  6. jacobkoo - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    im curious…on the article (oc register) it states the hitter was limited to only left handed hitting. r they referring this spring season or last?? thats a big difference. can anyone clarify??

    • judahbenhur - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      He’s hitting from both sides without pain and running freely. FYI… the Angels averaged a full run more a game with Morales in the lineup. WHat will they average with Morales and Pujols?

      • jacobkoo - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:51 PM

        sweet!! f* ya thats what i wanted to hear. where did u get this info?? please tell me youre at tempe watching 1st hand.

  7. papacrick - Jan 27, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    If he’s healthy this year these are 4 best AL teams in order: Angels, Rangers, Tigers, Yankees. I’m a Tigers fan and like our chances but the Angels pitching staff is ridiculously good. They zero offense last year and now you add Pujols and Morales. Yikes! No wild card coming from the East this year.

  8. kpow55 - Jan 27, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Ecstatic that he’s back.

    Before he went down, Kendry was on his way to being an elite 1B….. Maybe not Pujols good but approaching somewhere between P. Fielder and MarkTex.

    He gets injured, they replace him with Pujols. He comes back and now they have the best 1b/dh combo in the league…… yes better than Cabrera/Fielder….as Pujols and Kendry are in actual game shape.

    PLEASE, PLEASE do not even consider trading him. If Miguel Cabrera can play 3rd i’m sure Morales or Trumbo can figure it out.

    • judahbenhur - Jan 27, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Bourjos better being laying down a bunt on Cabrera in every at bat when they play Detroit.

      • unclearnie - Jan 28, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        and Trout and Aybar and Izturis and every other speedy player in the Bigs

  9. mikemonroe420 - Jan 31, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    First off morales did not break through at third… It was at 1b. But he is a corner outfielder at heart. He was batting clean up and playin RF for Fidel’s Cuban national team at 16 yrs old. He has what is quite possibly the best arm on the Angels(rivaling aybar) and this year we will have the AL MVP, AL comeback player of the year, and the runner up for either one or the other. Rangers, your lease is up. We will be taking our division back for a decade or so. Sorry

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