It’s been such a crazy week in baseball this week, and it’s only Friday. One piece of news this week was the fire sale/early Black Friday extravaganza going on down in Miami. As you’ve probably heard to death already, the Miami Marlins traded a healthy portion of their starting roster to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package of prospects. As a result, players left on the team as well as the fans of the team and citizens of the city are left wondering, “What is going on?” Through it all, the Marlins might not be finished as Ricky Nolasco and Logan Morrison (LoMo) were said to be available as well.
Our own Chris Carelli covered whether Nolasco made sense for the Yankees and now I’ll look into whether LoMo is a viable option. On the surface it appears like a perfect fit for the Yankees, he’s relatively young (age 25) and has a very friendly contract, as he is still in his arbitration years until 2017. So the question remains, is he a full-time replacement for Nick Swisher? Let’s find out.
Over his short three-year career, the lefty is a .250/.339/.442 hitter, which is pretty decent. His best season came in 2011 when he hit 23 home runs and registered 72 RBI while recording a .247/.330/.468 slash line in 123 games. In 2012, however, his numbers declined to .230/.308/.399 as he struggled to stay healthy which is something that has followed him throughout his career.
Digging a little deeper into his stats reveals he is trending in the wrong direction in a few key metrics. First, his BABIP hovers around .281 throughout his career (helped largely by a .351 BABIP in his rookie season) but dropped to a paltry .248 in 2012. A closer look shows that he doesn’t exactly hit a ton of line drives (18.5 percent to a 20 percent league average in that department). LoMo also swings and makes contact with many pitches outside the strike zone (70.7 percent O-Contact rate), which will drive BABIP down immensely because in those situations batters are hitting a pitcher’s pitch, not one that could be squared up.
Another negative to LoMo’s game is his awful fielding. In Yankee terms, we are talking Raul Ibanez bad. In 479.1 innings in the outfield, LoMo recorded a -16.2 UZR/150, and over his career he’s amassed a -14.4 UZR/150 rating. He’s cost his team 26 runs total playing in left field according to the Total Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric. He has a decent arm, but Derek Jeter-like range.
Hey, we’re not here to just pick on LoMo, so let’s jump into some positives. The guy knows how to put the bat on the ball (18.4 percent career K rate) and knows how to take a walk (11.0 percent career BB rate). His platoon splits aren’t all that scary either. He’s about an average hitter against right-handed pitching and slightly below average hitter against southpaws.
|vs RHP as LHB||818||177||44||11||27||80||2||2||94||136||.247||.336||.453||.269||102|
|vs LHP as LHB||328||74||16||1||9||46||1||0||32||72||.259||.345||.416||.313||96|
With that in mind, overall his 91 wRC+ this season shows he was a below average hitter all told, but his 112 career wRC+ shows that there is promise. Being a left-handed bat, there’s a chance for LoMo to hit for a little more power playing in Yankee Stadium, but will that come at the cost of using the entire field? It’s a legitimate concern since Mark Teixeira openly suggested during Spring Training earlier this year that he might have gotten a little too pull-happy since coming to New York.
So the question still remains, “Is Logan Morrison a candidate to take over full-time for Nick Swisher?” I would say no, at least for now. LoMo is an injury waiting to happen, but there’s some hope that if he were to be traded to the Yankees, he would make good on some of the potential he showed in the minors. He certainly brings the down-to-earth, funny guy mentality that Swisher brought to the Yankees (seriously, check out his Twitter: @LoMoMarlins). His contract is friendly and the savings here could be used toward other holes in the Yankees roster, namely pitching. All in all, he’s nothing more than a buy-low candidate who could come over and surprise, much like Swisher did after coming over in the trade with the Chicago White Sox.