The 2017-2018 offseason is here for the Minnesota Twins. Who could the Twins be targeting in the free agent market to improve their lineup?
Now that the Minnesota Twins have entered the offseason, they are looking to improve the roster through trades and through free agent signings. In this series, we’re going to examine individual players that the Minnesota Twins could have interest in this offseason through free agency.
We will not have any specific order to which player we highlight in this series, but we will look at each player’s past history, why he would be a good fit for the Minnesota Twins, and, last, the sort of contract likely to be required to sign the player.
Next up in the series is a player that broke out in a big way in 2017…
Logan Morrison, 1B/DH
Logan Morrison had a storybook type season in 2017. After a previous career high for home runs of 23 in his second season with the Florida Marlins in 2011, Morrison hit 38 home runs in 2017. Most of his slash line was similar to his career marks outside of an obvious improvement in his slugging percentage as Morrison slashed .246/.353/.516 this past season.
Not only has Morrison’s production gotten a lot of attention. So has the process he used to reach those results. Morrison attributes a change to his approach at the plate which includes a focus on increased launch angle when making contact with the baseball.
While an increase in home runs is some evidence of that change in approach, Morrison’s increased fly ball rate tells even more of the story. Until 2017, Morrison’s highest fly ball rate was 40.6% in 2012 and in 2016 it was one of the lowest of his career at 34.7%. This season that rate jumped up to 46.2% providing evidence to Morrison’s change in approach.
How he would fit
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Morrison is a left-handed power bat with limited defensive abilities. He really profiles best as a DH who may be able to give some time at first base defensively. One issue is that the Twins already have a left-handed hitter who starts at first base, Joe Mauer. Morrison would provide the power potential Mauer does not. Morrison has played some left field in his career as well but it has been several years since he has played that position, really eliminating that as a potential scenario.
The Twins looked to need help against left-handed pitching last season. As a left-handed batter, Morrison doesn’t seem to be a fit to help in that area and his numbers support that. Morrison’s 2017 slash line against right-handed pitching in 2017 was .251/.356/.548 and drops to .233/.342/.419 against left-handers.
After those 38 home runs in 2017 Morrison is in a position to cash in on that performance this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors projected Morrison at a contract of 3 years and $36 million. That average per year could still be what he gets, but as the market unfolds, and especially if he were to sign with the Twins Morrison may end up with fewer years.
Should the Twins do it?
Morrison’s power numbers in 2017 are very intriguing. Ultimately he just does not seem like a fit for the Twins. If Morrison was a right-handed batter or performed better against left-handed pitching he could make more sense for the Twins in 2018. The Twins already roster Kennys Vargas who over his career hits left-handers better than Morrison with a .272/.341/.432 slash line. I am not a big Vargas supporter usually, but it seems better to roll with Vargas than try to pay Morrison this offseason.