Tha Sports Junkies 101

Blue Jays Make Free Agent Splash

Blue Jays Keith Allison via


The Toronto Blue Jays sign Kendrys Morales and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

The Toronto Blue Jays made a big splash in the free agent market yesterday by signing DH Kendrys Morales and 23-year-old Cuban phenom Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Morales is a switch hitter and should be slated to take over as the everyday DH for the Blue Jays. The 33-year-old Morales hit 30 home-runs with 93 RBI’s and a .263 average last season for the Seattle Mariners. Signing Morales helps fill the hole that was left by the possible departure of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion as both players are free agents and declined the qualifying offer from Toronto.  Morales managed to turn his strong season with the Kansas City Royals into a 3-year, $33 million deal with the Jays.

If the Jays can also bring back Edwin Encarnacion this would provide a much-needed left-handed hitter to a lineup that was ultimately left void by the weak production from first baseman Justin Smoak. Edwin would likely slot into a full-time role at first base for the Jays if he were to return.

The biggest signing by the Jays may have been the addition of Gurriel Jr. The 23-year old Cuban was signed to a 7-year $22 million contract, which is below market value for many of the top Cuban players from years past. Gurriel Jr. is expected to report AA New Hampshire where he will play middle infield and possibly be moved to the outfield.

Gurriel Jr. hit .321 with eight home runs and 32 RBI’s for his Cuban baseball team before defecting to the United States with his older brother. The versatile Gurriel will bring flexibility to the Jays as well as a powerful bat. He is still developing his skills and should be ready to show off his talents for Toronto in a couple of years.