Minnesota Twins: Could Franklin Morales Be a Fit?


Could the Minnesota Twins interested in Franklin Morales?

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Earlier today we took a look at a left handed free agent we think would be a fit for the Minnesota Twins: Cesar Ramos. We want to highlight another possibility that could work for the Twins. Even though the team has signed Fernando Abad, and to a lesser extent Buddy Boshers, management should continue look for more lefty options to compete for a spot. This is the best tactic for making a bullpen if you’re not going to spend big bucks on Tony Sipp or Antonio Bastardo types (there was a whisper of the Twins’ interest in him but it seems far-fetched): sign a bunch of guys on cheaper deals trying to re-establish themselves and perhaps one or two will stick. It’s the “spray and pray” theory—one bullet’s bound to hit the target. The Twins have signed a few wild card options to minor league deals so far. There are a few low risk/high reward major league options the team should consider as well. Ramos is one arm that has been overlooked and fits that profile. Franklin Morales is another.

Morales spent 2015 with the World Series champion Royals. He was brought in on a minor league deal, ended up making the opening day roster and stuck with the team the rest of the season. The Royals continued their recent tradition of turning marginal pitchers into effective major league relievers. Morales had a 3.18 ERA, 3.52 FIP and a 1.155 WHIP over 62.1 innings in 2015. Compare those numbers with his career averages of 4.52 ERA, 4.68 FIP and 1.442 WHIP. Perhaps Morales regresses to some degree next season but he could have finally figured something out at age 29.

He had a 5.9 K/9 last year so he won’t rack up strikeouts. His career average K/9 is 7.1, so perhaps part of the key for Morales in 2015 was pitching more to contact and relying on the Royals’ great defence to get him more outs. He had a 2.0 BB/9 last season, which is less than half his career average. He limited the long ball well with a 0.6 HR/9. He fared significantly better against lefties than righties (.558 opponent’s OPS vs left and .779 opponent’s OPS vs right) He was worth 0.7 bWAR/0.4 fWAR in 2015.

Next: Could Cesar Ramos Be a Fit?

Morales doesn’t have much of a track record beyond what he accomplished in 2015, there are some warning signs of regression and he hasn’t garnered much interest this offseason so he shouldn’t cost very much. He’ll likely be cheaper than Ramos. A figure in the vicinity of his $1,850,000 2015 salary makes sense.