Morales declined his option with the Kansas City Royals after hitting just .263 with 30 home runs and 93 RBIs this past season. The 33-year-old provides power from both sides of the plate as a switch hitter, and has proved that the torn ACL he suffered a few years back has not slowed him down.
The DH spent his last two seasons with the Royals and won the World Series with the team in 2015. He began his career with the Angels and spent six seasons there, but that stint ended when he suffered the career-threatening injury while celebrating a walk-off grand slam. His best numbers came with Kansas City, as he hit 52 big flies in his two years with the team. The Blue Jays have built themselves up as a home run-hitting team, and Morales will only add to that reputation.
The Atlanta Braves are getting ready to open up their new stadium and added a couple of veterans to add to the excitement. The team agreed to a one-year deal with former New York Met, Bartolo Colon. The 43-year-old is third among Latin American-born players in wins, behind just Dennis Martinez and Juan Marichal. He needs 13 victories to move into first place in that category.
Colon went 15-8 with the Mets this past season, and recorded 44 wins since 2014, the most among Met pitchers. Along with his first career home run last May, Colon's numbers proved that he can still get the job done at his age.
Atlanta also added veteran pitcher R.A. Dickey to a one-year, $7.5 million deal, with an $8 million option for 2018. The 42-year-old knuckleballer agreed to the deal before Colon, but will look to lead a young Braves' rotation. Dickey claimed that he had the Braves at the top of his list of potential landing spots this winter.
The right-hander did consider retirement heading into the off-season, but needed to draw interest from the right team to stay in the game. His best season came when he won the NL Cy Young in 2012 as a 20-game winner with the Mets. He spent the last four seasons with the Blue Jays, and went 10-15 with a 4.46 ERA this past season.
Dickey threw for 200 innings in four straight years from 2011 to 2015, and believes he can reach that mark again in 2017. He holds a career record of 110-108, and has the ninth-most innings pitched since 2010 with 1,441.
With these two veteran signings, the Braves could become the first team since the 1990 Rangers to have two pitchers start 10 games at 42 years of age or older.
There was one trade made Friday evening, per Howie Kendrick's request, the Los Angeles Dodgers dealt the second baseman to the Philadelphia Phillies for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney. Sources say the 33-year-old was unhappy with his playing time with the Dodgers, causing him to demand a trade. He is expected to be used in left field and second base in Philly.
Kendrick does have one-year left on a two-year contract he signed with Los Angeles. He started 126 games at four different positions in his lone season with L.A., hitting a career-low .255 with a .326 on-base percentage.
And the Milwaukee Brewers made a move of their own, regarding their manager. Milwaukee agreed to a three-year contract extension with Craig Counsell through the 2020 season. The 46-year-old just completed his first full season with the club, and has a record of 134-165. The team went 73-89 this past year, a five-win improvement from 2015.
Counsell has 16 years of playing experience, including time in Milwaukee, and has high hopes for the direction of his team. He hopes to see the Brewers battle with the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central in the coming seasons.