Mark Shapiro and company had quite a busy Friday. Earlier today, it was reported that the Blue Jays inked Cuban sensation Lourdes Gourriel to a seven-year deal worth $22 million, a move that could pay dividends a year or so down the line. A second domino has fallen that helps frame the 2017 season. Former Kansas City Royals' designated hitter Kendrys Morales signed a three-year deal worth $33 million with Toronto.
Morales, who will be 34 in June, has quietly been a productive member of the Royals staff since he signed on before the 2015 season. He has been an important source of power for the Royals averaging 26 home runs a season in his tenure, which included a silver-slugger award and a World Series Championship.
For the Jays, returns from Encarnacion and Bautista seem a bit more unlikely now, as Morales will assume the role of designated hitter and will likely slide into the cleanup spot for the Jays. His power numbers should play up in the AL East, especially consider the fact that he will be playing half of his games at Rogers’ Center.
I am, however a bit bearish on the third guaranteed year. Power is not a skill that ages particularly well, and by the end of the contract Morales will be entering into his age-37 season. Luckily for him, the fact that he doesn’t play the field should help with the aging process and could make this contract look like a win. A new era is beginning in Toronto, and it should be interesting to see how it all plays out.null