One day after KC Royals manager Ned Yost stated that the team could go with an eight-man bullpen to start the season if Luke Hochevar isn’t 100%, the Royals signed lefty Franklin Morales to a minor league contract.
Morales is also invited to big league spring training (which began yesterday). UPDATE: He will make $1.85 million with an additional $850,000 in incentives if he makes the big league roster (according to Jon Heyman).
The Royals really only have one left-handed reliever in camp (Tim Collins), as the Royals may be looking at Brandon Finnegan as more of a starter. There are however a few lefties in camp with big league experience (offseason acquisitions Brian Flynn and Joe Paterson) to go along with guys like Buddy Baumann, Scott Alexander, and John Lamb.
Morales spent the 2013 season with World Series Champion Boston as a member of their bullpen. He pitched three times during the Red Sox postseason run (he walked two and allowed two hits in 1.1 innings).
Morales went back to Colorado as a starter in 2014 (he started his career there from 2007-2011), winning a career-high six games in 22 starts (38 appearances). He allowed 166 hits in 142.1 innings, along with 24 home runs and 65 walks (compared to 100 strikeouts).
He was supposed to be the Rockies emergency starter last season, but 22 starts is a lot and maybe a reason for his poor numbers. Lefties only had a .699 on-base plus slugging (compared to .923 by righties, while in his career, Morales has held lefties to a .624 OPS.
Morales could be helped out by finally pitching in a big ballpark, as he pitched in hitter-friendly Coors Field and Fenway Park in his career. He could pitch his way onto the Royals Opening Day roster and be a valuable option for Yost, especially if he is only used against left-handed batters.
Now the Royals have two Morales’ in camp.
Spring training news & notes:
- The Royals were rumored to be looking at fellow lefty Phil Coke and right-hander Alfredo Aceves.
- Ryan Madson hadn’t showed up for voluntary workouts earlier in the week, but was expected in camp for the weekend workouts. He is also expected to be healthy.
- Catcher Salvador Perez made sure to let everyone know that his buddy Lorenzo Cain was in camp early. He took to Instagram, posting video and a photo. The Kansas City Star also has a video interview with LoCain from Thursday’s workout: