The Kansas City Royals could be in the market for a new first baseman this winter. If Eric Hosmer leaves, Logan Morrison makes sense on several levels.
When asked this offseason about where he wanted to play next, Morrison said playing for the Royals would be a “dream come true.” So the question is, should that dream come true?
In 2017, Morrison hit a slash line of .246/.353/.516 with 38 home runs, 22 doubles, one triple and 85 runs batted in. Without a doubt, 2017 was a career year. Over his eight-year career, he has a career slash line of .245/.330/.433 with 122 home runs, 148 doubles, 21 triples and 358 runs batted in.
Not amazing, but with the large outfield at Kauffman Stadium, his numbers could increase based on his limited sample size. Over 12 plate appearances at The K, Morrison is hitting .333/.385/.917 with two home runs, a double and six runs batted in.
Where the concern comes in is his durability and strikeouts. Over his eight years, he has only played 140-plus games twice, including 2017. Otherwise, he usually caps out around 100 games a year. Not ideal, especially for a player in his thirties.
Morrison also struck out 149 times this year, which would be the most on the Kansas City Royals. Yes, even more than Brandon Moss (128) and Alex Gordon (126). However, his saving grace is that he has never had 100 strikeouts in a season prior to this year. 2011 was originally his career-high with 99 strikeouts.
Morrison is a perfect fit for the Kansas City Royals, for multiple reasons. First reason is his versatility. Even though he has not played in the outfield since 2015, he has experience there. He has played right field and left field, but he slowly transitioned into a standard first baseman.
We are going to continue with the assumption that Hosmer is not going to be in Kansas City next year. With that in mind, having Morrison play first base is not an extreme drop off.
In 2017, Morrison finished with a .993 field percentage and eight errors. Meanwhile, now-four-time Gold Glove winner Hosmer finished with a .997 fielding percentage and four errors. Over his career at first, Morrison has posted a .995 fielding percentage.
Lastly, when sticking with stats and looking at how Morrison compares to Hosmer defensively, Morrison actually has the better dWAR (defensive WAR). Hosmer posted a -1.6 dWAR, while Morrison posted a -0.7 this past season.
Why Morrison fits
First off, and maybe most importantly, Morrison seems to want to play for the Kansas City Royals. Being a hometown kid, the desire to play in the city he was born could bring a necessary vibe to the new young group. If the Royals can sign guys that wants to be in Kansas City, the team chemistry will consistently increase.
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Morrison also fits with the Royals because of his defensive numbers. Limiting the drop off that will come with the position could significantly help limit rookie/young player errors. A veteran first baseman helps with this significantly, because he has experienced the ups and downs that come with the position.
More appealing, in a year where a rebuild is imminent, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman projects Morrison to sign a contract somewhere in the ballpark of $22 million over two years or $36 million over three years. With the potential jump in offensive numbers, a veteran presence and a top-10 American League defensive first baseman, it would seem that making Morrison’s “dream come true” might be a smart choice for the Kansas City Royals.
What do you think? Does Morrison make sense as a replacement for Hosmer? Would the franchise be better off with a different backup plan? Let us know your thoughts.