By Shannon Drayer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – This is going to be short and sweet as I am putting the finishing touches on the weekly podcast, which will be up first thing Sunday morning.
A bit of breaking news as I type this. Jon Heyman of cbssports.com is reporting Kendrys Morales has reached agreement with the Minnesota Twins. Talk about out of left field. Rhett Bollinger of mlb.com reports the deal to be one year at a prorated $12 million. The Twins came out of absolutely nowhere on this one. They have had a miserable season but are only five games out so I guess why the heck not?
It's easy to kick and scream about why not the Mariners on this one, but they are not the only team that passed on him at what will amount to be $7.6 million. I am not making excuses here, the Mariners have a clear need and he would appear to be a fit, but the Rangers were interested and also had a need and passed. The Yankees also could have used the bat and passed. He very well could go out there and pick up where he left off with his offense, but I have to wonder if there were any red flags that chased teams off. I find it curious that was what he went for when there were so many teams that could have used his bat. Time will tell on this one.
So Morales is not here at Tropicana Field but a number of baseball luminaries are. Joe Torre, Tommy Lasorda, Jim Leyland and Lou Piniella are all on hand for the ceremony to honor Don Zimmer before the game. The media access has been very limited but I would expect to hear or see a number of them on the game broadcasts.
That game could be interesting with the Mariners heading into it short handed. Michael Saunders is unavailable with the sore shoulder and Justin Smoak is available as a defensive replacement only. The quad problems appear to have worsened for Smoak. The Rays broadcasters were noting that he was obviously hampered by it during last night's game and McClendon said he didn't like what he saw.
• Erasmo Ramirez is now officially listed as the starter Monday for the Mariners.