The Waiver Wire Musical Chairs™ game was in full force today with no fewer then seven waiver claims being executed.
Earlier today, I was wondering if the Blue Jays, with 39 players on their 40-man roster, would get in on the action and it appears that they have, claiming 26 year old third baseman Brent Morel from the Chicago White Sox.
I guess today’s the day for Waiver Wire Musical Chairs! Do the Blue Jays join the game like they did last year?
— Blue Jays from Away (@JaysFromAway) December 23, 2013
This is actually an interesting move that bodes well for the Blue Jays. They pick up a right-handed hitter who has shown some pop (moreso of the gap-power variety) and who has hit left-handed hitters better than righties but the split has been more apparent in the minors rather than the majors.
Over the course of his major league career, Morel has 669 plate appearances with a .227/.276/.333. That goes up to .246/.307/.377 in 203 plate appearances against left-handed pitching. However, when we look at his 2013 stats from Triple-A Charlotte, he posted a .263/.349/.391 line which rises considerably to .317/.409/.468 against lefties. Morel will take a walk but also strikes out a fair bit but his career ML strikeout rates and walk rates are better against lefties than against righties.
So what does this say about what the Blue Jays will do in 2014? My thoughts are that he can play 3B and 1B (and DH) and he also has a smattering of minor league experience at second and shortstop. He will likely be the right-handed hitting half of a platoon with Adam Lind but, from what I can tell, is probably out of options which means that something is going to have to give between him and Moises Sierra, unless Gose goes back to the minors and Sierra makes the club as the fourth outfielder.
The Blue Jays’ 40-man roster is now full and the Jays still have several pitchers who are out of options in addition to Sierra and (probably) Morel.
I’m not crazy about this move but it has the potential to work out since Morel has had a very good pedigree as a prospect. He hit over .320 with a .359 OBP and a .480 SLG in 2010 split between Double-A and Triple-A and was ranked the #85 prospect in the game by Baseball America before the 2011 season. He seems to have hit a wall, going up and down to the minors ever since (sound familiar?) but I’m sure the Blue Jays are looking for a chance to see if they can resurrect his career and get the most out of his not insignificant skills. If not, the Jays can put him back on the Waiver Wire roller coaster in before the season opens.