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Kendrys Morales likely to sign soon

Kendry MoralesBe on the lookout for a team to sign Kendrys Morales in the near future.

The Cuban slugger did not sign with a team during the offseason and remained unsigned through the first 2+ months of the regular season. The biggest impediment to him signing was the draft pick tied to him as compensation. Because the Seattle Mariners tendered him a contract offer that he declined, any team that signed Kendrys would have had to surrender a draft pick. Though this rule helps compensate teams that are losing free agents, it comes as a detriment to free agents and hurts their market. Now that the MLB draft is underway, teams are free to sign Morales without surrendering a pick.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman says the Mariners, Brewers, Yankees, Rangers and a mystery team are most likely interested in Morales. We expect an American League team to sign him just because he’s limited defensively and a much better fit as a DH. He’s a nice addition for whatever team gets him.

Kendrys Morales’ 2014 Topps baseball card features teammates making fun of him

Kendrys-Morales-card

Every young ballplayer dreams of being on a baseball card when they grow up. For most kids, that vision does not involve your teammates all pointing at you and laughing. Poor Kendrys Morales.

Morales’ card in the 2014 Topps baseball card set is flattering on some level. The photo was taken just before Morales touched home plate after belting a pinch-hit, game-winning home run for the Seattle Mariners last June. However, the context is somewhat embarrassing.

The reason his teammates look like they’re laughing and telling him to be careful is that Morales suffered a severe leg and ankle injury back in 2010 when he was celebrating a walk-off grand slam with the Los Angeles Angels. So you see, the Mariners were teasing him. It was all in good fun, but now it’s forever preserved through the magic of baseball cards. I’m sure there were other photos Kendrys would have chosen.

Photo via @cardboardicons
H/T Big League Stew

Mark Trumbo Can be Capable Replacement for Kendrys Morales

The Angels haven’t had the best run leading up to the season. They lost out on Carl Crawford in free agency — a player many people thought they were a lock to land — and they also missed out on Rafael Soriano and Adrian Beltre who were other reported targets. Then they acquired Vernon Wells and the $88 million he had left on his current contract. Spring training has featured ups-and-downs — Scott Kazmir has been rocked while Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter have only been so-so. The good news is Peter Bourjos, Howie Kendrick, and Bobby Abreu have all hit well and Ervin Santana has pitched well. But the biggest revelation of all this spring has been Mark Trumbo.

Trumbo is a 25-year-old rookie from Villa Park in Orange, CA who has been tearing things up. Through 23 spring games, Trumbo leads the Angels with six home runs and 20 RBIs, not to mention 17 runs scored. He’s slugged .706 and will likely open up the year as the team’s first baseman replacing Kendrys Morales who still is not recovered from his leg injury sustained in a freak celebration last season. The good news is the Angels will have a hot-hitting replacement at first who should be able to fill the hole for the first month or so.

Trumbo may not be a long-term solution at first as his 2:18 walk-to-strikeout ratio in spring training is a concern. However, Trumbo has displayed power at every level throughout his career, amassing 120 home runs in 2,793 minor league at-bats. He seems to be getting better with age after posting 36 home runs and a .945 OPS last season at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Expecting Trumbo to replace Kendrys Morales’ production is lofty, but the Angels may not be in much trouble with him in the middle of the lineup for the short run.

Kendry Morales is Kendrys Morales

It’s not uncommon for a rookie to break into the national spotlight and hear his name spelled or pronounced incorrectly. Jonathan Papelbon was referred to as “Jon” Papelbon for a few months before promptly correcting the media. UConn’s Niels Giffey was called “Nyles Giff-ee” for a few games before broadcasters were informed it should be pronounced “Neels Giff-ay.” For Kendrys Morales, the mistake lasted seven years.

According to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times, via Hardball Talk, there is an “s” at the end of Morales’ first name that was left off when he signed with the Angels in 2004.  Since his name was spelled correctly on his birth certificate and all other legal documentation, Kendrys decided to leave it alone.  When asked about it on Wednesday, Morales spoke like a man who wants order restored.

“No, no, no, no, no,” he said in Spanish. “They’ve been spelling it wrong.”

Better late than never, right? The real bonus for me here is that the correction comes at a time when Jon Miller will no longer be calling ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.  In fact, I’m surprised Miller didn’t catch the error himself given his rich background in the Spanish language.  Fortunately, we won’t have to listen to him explain why there is an “s” at the end of Kendrys for three hours every time the Angels appear on Sunday Night Baseball this season.

Kendry Morales Joins Long List of Athletes Hurt While Celebrating

I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s some sort of schadenfreude type of deal, that makes it so much fun to discuss and categorize injuries. We’ve broken down some of the most ill-timed sports injuries, talked about pitchers who have been hurt batting, and we’ve shared stories of some of the weirdest injuries in sports. And now, because of Angels first baseman Kendry Morales who broke his leg during a celebration following a walkoff grand slam to beat the Mariners, we have a list of athletes hurt while celebrating in sports. Let us know if we missed anything.

Kendry Morales Breaks His Leg Celebrating Grand Slam

The Angels had just beaten the Mariners 5-1 thanks to Morales’ walkoff grand slam to center field. After rounding the bases, Morales headed for home and leaped to the plate. Somehow he managed to fracture his leg and he may be out for the season. He was leading the Angels in batting average, home runs, and RBIs at the time of his injury.

Bill Gramatica Tears His ACL Celebrating a Field Goal

The mother of all idiotic celebrations to cause injuries, Gramatica tore his ACL jumping for joy after making a 42-yard field goal for the Cardinals against the Giants. The torn ACL knocked Gramatica out for the rest of his rookie season. Bill was never the same after injury, going from making 16 of 20 field goals his rookie year to being out of the NFL three years later.

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Kendry Morales Hurts His Ankle Celebrating Walkoff Grand Slam

I don’t believe it’s possible to oscillate from a greater high to a worse low than what the Angels and their fans went through on Saturday afternoon. After being shutout for seven and a third innings by Felix Hernandez, Bobby Abreu finally homered to tie the game at one. Things went to the bottom of the 10th tied 1-1 when the Angels loaded up the bases with one out. A double play could have ended the inning while a hit or deep fly ball would have won the game. Or if you’re Kendry Morales, a grand slam to deep center would do the trick. For a team that has been struggling as much as the Angels have the entire season, winning a low-scoring game on a walkoff grand slam could have been the impetus for a winning streak and corresponding surge in the AL West standings. Instead, one of the best moments of their season turned out to be one of the worse.

After circling the bases and heading for homeplate to celebrate with his teammates, Morales jumped onto home. It was hard to tell if he slipped on the plate, landed on a teammate’s foot, or if he just landed awkwardly but Morales definitely hurt himself on the landing. Morales immediately went down in pain and the team had to cart him off the field and take him to the hospital to have his ankle examined. Like I said, I don’t believe it can possibly get worse for a team that’s already having a rough year. Matter of opinion, this is a microcosm of the Angels’ entire season. Somewhere Bill Gramatica is shaking his head. Here are some pictures of Kendry Morales’ ankle injury:

Photo Credits: Harry How/Getty Images, FOX TV