Morrison and Duda are similar in a lot of ways. Both posted 30+ home run seasons in 2017, both signed cheap one-year deals ahead of 2018 and both disappointed with their new teams.
Morrison had the best season of his big league career in 2017 with the Rays, blasting 38 home runs and driving in 85, both career highs. He parlayed that into a one-year, $6.5 million dollar deal with the Twins.
However, his first (and likely only) season in Minnesota did not go as planned. The left-handed hitting Morrison slumped to an ugly .186/.276/.368 line with 15 home runs. While it’s easy to see that line and brush it off, a lot of what happened to Morrison was bad luck. His .196 BABIP is freakishly low, particularly when considering his hard-hit rate and line drive rate stayed about the same as his career norms.
Morrison is probably never going to hit 38 home runs again (his previous career-high was 23) but he is not nearly as bad as his numbers from last season show. He will probably be the most expensive of the free agent first baseman on this list, and he certainly comes with a fair amount of risk.
However, there’s also no doubt he has the potential to be the best of the group by quite a bit – which also means he could net the Detroit Tigers a pretty prospect or two if he is hitting well when July rolls around.
The Detroit Tigers should pursue the bargain bin for left-handed hitting first basemen this offseason. The above three options represent the best options to outperform their perceived contracts, and could net the Tigers a prospect or two at the trade deadline.