What About Logan Morrison?
By John Verburg
I have been essentially following the same format for some time when it comes to trade options, but I have decided to switch it up for Logan Morrison. There is a little bit of ground to cover with Morrison, so I didn’t want to tie myself in with the same format I have been using. Given that we at Motor City Bengals have covered a lot of different players already, I didn’t want to leave Morrison out of the mix, as he could potentially be part of a multitude of deals that occur in the off-season.
Today, at a press conference with the media, the Tigers General Manager David Dombrowski indicated that they would be bringing back LF Delmon Young, but mentioned that it isn’t going to be a long term deal at this point. That does represent a departure for Dombrowski in giving out extensions, so I think that still leave the door open for other options.
One of those options is of course Logan Morrison.
I don’t think there is much doubt as to the availability of Morrison in a deal this off-season. The Marlins weren’t happy with Morrison in 2011, and Morrison wasn’t happy with the Marlins. The trouble revolved around a couple issues. One, Morrison’s use of the social media Twitter. Two, Morrison failing to show up for a voluntary meet and greet with fans as a representative of the organization. And last, Morrison’s demotion to the minor leagues following these transgressions. As for the Marlins part, they claimed it was a performance based demotion. As for almost anyone else, it didn’t seem so much performance based, regardless of Morrison’s struggles, but appeared to be “fishy” on the Marlins behalf considering the timing.
I wanted to dive into Morrison the player a little bit at this point though. Morrison did struggle offensively in 2011, but that is pretty relative considering he had an OPS of .797. A lot of guys would like to struggle like that. A guy that has always been around the .300 mark as a hitter in the minors, Morrison did hit just .247 last season, but that wasn’t helped by a low BABIP of .265. However, there was a big difference in his power numbers. In 2010, Morrison hit just 2 home runs in 244 at-bats. In 2011, he hit 23 homers in 525 at-bats. Over Morrison’s 2 year career, he has posted an .811 OPS. I think Morrison fits in somewhere around the .270-.280 range in the future with his batting average, and could be a perennial 15-20 home run guy. At just 24, he is still developing his offensive skills at the major league level.
Defensively, Morrison is a terrible left fielder. There is no other way to say it. Part of the issue is that Morrison is a natural 1B, and because of Miguel Cabrera on the Tigers, he is going to have to play that position if the Tigers acquired him. The one thing that Morrison does have working in his favor though is that current Tigers LF Delmon Young is terrible defensively as well, so apparently defense isn’t at the forefront of the Tigers minds at that position.
Offensively, Morrison is a clear upgrade over Delmon Young. He has more power, and more patience at the plate than Delmon Young. Looking at the advanced metric of wOBA, it isn’t really all that close. Morrison has a career wOBA of .353, which is substantially above average. Young sits at .323 at his career, and spent 2011 at a wOBA of just .303. It’s largely due in part to his impatience at the plate, despite a lower strikeout rate than Morrison. Morrison is also 2 years younger than Young as well, so any argument that Delmon Young has room to get better, could certainly be made for Morrison as well.
But this isn’t just about Morrison vs. Young, though a trade for Morrison is only an upgrade if it is done with the intention of dealing Young. Morrison could potentially be an upgrade over Boesch, though I do believe that those guys are essentially the same player, with Boesch having a little more defensive capability and athleticism.
Now, acquiring Morrison isn’t going to come without cost, and there is still the decision if whether or not the Tigers organization would want to take him on. His episode with the Marlins could lead some to believe that he is a troublemaker to some extent. Considered as one of their team leaders, I believe the Marlins wanted to teach Morrison a lesson. That fan event that he missed? It wasn’t mandatory. Though if you are an organization, you want your good young players to attend these. The demotion? He wasn’t playing well. You would want your player to take the demotion and go and work on things. These things could hinder a trade for a young man that appears to be outspoken to the point where it frustrates his bosses. A possible sign of immaturity.
The talent is there though.
Morrison could help the Tigers. He can hit some home runs. Can get on base. And he has potential to get even better. He might just need a fresh start. I don’t think there is much doubt that I would rather get him in LF over Delmon Young. I have no doubt he is available to someone, but at what cost? Would the Marlins want Rick Porcello straight up? If you do that, you have to move Delmon in a separate deal. Would it take something less than Porcello? Maybe a Ryan Perry, plus a couple of good prospects.
I don’t know what to think with this one. Obviously I like Morrison. I think he is an upgrade over Young, but is he worth the trouble and the potential cost? What do you think Tigers fans?