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Today in Blue Jays History: Jays Sign Morales and Gurriel

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Three Years Ago Today:

Blue Jays sign Kendrys Morales to a 3-year, $33 million contract. I remember, at the time, it surprised me. I didn’t think we’ll be signing a DH only guy, or, at least, not until after Edwin Encarncion and Jose Bautista had signed somewhere else.

It seemed, at the time, that the Jays had decided they wouldn’t be able to sign Edwin and wanted to move fast. Moving fast turned out to be a bit of mistake. The market for sluggers turned out to be a lot softer than we figured it would be. Had they waited a bit, they likely would have been able to sign Kendrys to a shorter contract. Or, they might have had a spot at Edwin.

Kendrys played 2 seasons as a Jay, hitting .249/.318/.442 with 49 home runs and a 0.9 bWAR, before we dumped him on the A’s. He played 34 games for Oakland before they passed him on to the Yankees, where he played another 14 games, before being released.

There was a lot made of how good he was with our younger players, becoming a mentor to some. But I don’t think that made him a good signing.

We had several posts on the signing:

The announcement.

Some thoughts a day later.

And a scouting report from Max Rieper of Royals Review.

The poll at the time was generally positive.

Also Three Years Ago:

The Jays signed Lourdes Gurriel Jr to a seven year, $22 million contract.

This one is the far better signing. Lourdes has played 2 seasons in the majors, marred by injuries, but he’s shown a good bat. He has hit .279/.320/.499 with 31 home runs in 149 games. I’m hoping we get to see what he can do with a full season next year and the next four years.

It took awhile to find his defense position, but I’m happy with him in left field. I think he’ll improve defensively with a full spring training to work at it.