Minnesota Twins: Morales in, Kubel out

Minnesota Twins

Target Field

The Minnesota Twins made an announcement Sunday that they had signed Kendrys Morales to a one-year deal.

By doing so, outfielder Jason Kubel has been designated for assignment.

Morales started his career in 2002 with the Cuban national baseball team Industriales, and spent two and half years in the league. In 2004, Morales was banned from the Cuban national league due to speculation that he had been in contact with agents to flee the country.

Signing with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in December of that year, Morales did not begin his minor league career until May 2005 due to citizenship paperwork. After a short time with the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Morales made the quick move to Double-A Arkansas.

Kendrys Morales

Kendrys Morales

Morales made his Major League debut with the Angels on May 23, 2006, but did not have his first full season with the team until 2009. In that year, Morales posted his best numbers at the Major League level by getting 173 hits in 566 at-bats, including 43 doubles, two triples, 34 home runs and 108 RBIs with a .306/.355/.569 average. By the end of the season, Morales was ranked second behind Joe Mauer, who was the AL MVP that year.

On May 29, 2010, Morales hit a grand slam against the Seattle Mariners, but obtained a fracture in his lower left leg after stomping on home plate. Requiring surgery, Morales missed the rest of the 2010 season as well as the 2011 season due to complications in the rehabilitation process.

Morales returned to the lineup in 2012 in time for Spring Training. On July 30, Morales became the third player in MLB history to hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same inning behind Carlos Baerga in 1993 and Mark Bellhorn in 2002.

Prior to the 2013 season, Morales got traded to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Jason Vargas. In the one year with the Mariners, Morales finished out the season with a .277/.336/.449 average with 34 doubles, 23 homers and 80 RBI.

As a free-agent, Morales was signed by the Twins Sunday to a one-year, $12 million contract. However, it is unsure when Morales will see play time with the Twins. Morales is out of minor league options, and cannot be sent down to get some practice in unless he is exposed to waivers first.

But overall, Morales is looking forward to playing with the Twins, and understands that it will be day-to-day before he sees play time, and just wants to do it the right way.

Other Twins players have been excited about the addition, as well, including Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer.

“We don’t want to rebuild. We want to win,” Dozier said. “And I think we brought in a guy who can help us do that.”

But, as I stated earlier, with Morales coming on, Kubel has now been sent to assignment. In 45 games, Kubel had just 35 hits, including six doubles, one triple, one home run, and 13 RBIs and a .224 batting average. Kubel will be missed, but hopefully batting numbers can improve now that Morales has joined the team.

Related article: Twins happy to add Morales’ powerful bat