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Today in Blue Jays History: Jays Sign Morales and Gurriel

MLB: FEB 22 Blue Jays Photo Day Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Six Years Ago Today:

The Blue Jays signed 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 Encarnación 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. Unfortunately, moving fast turned out to be a bit of a mistake. The slugger market turned out to be much 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 shot at Edwin.

Kendrys played two 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.

It isn’t the first time we’ve been wrong.

He was a likeable guy. It is too bad that it didn’t work out for us.

Also, Six Years Ago:

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

This one is the far better signing of the two on this day. Lourdes has played five seasons in the majors, marred by injuries, but he’s shown a good bat. He has hit .285/.329/.468, with 68 home runs in 468 games.

It took a while to find his defensive position, but he’s getting better in left field. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove in left twice. I think he’ll continue to improve on defense. Coming in on the ball, he is excellent. Going back or to his sides, he is a work in progress. But he does have a fantastic arm.

Lourdes had surgery on his left wrist after the season. I’d imagine his drop in power had something to do with the injury. Here’s to a pain-free 2023 season.