Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik recently said that the team will "definitely" make a qualifying offer to designated hitter/first baseman Kendrys Morales this winter, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Morales will likely reject that offer in search of a multi-year deal on the free agent market.
Morales isn't ruling the Mariners out as a potential landing place on a long-term deal, writes Heyman, nor are the Mariners ruling out agreeing to a multi-year pact with Morales. That may still be the most likely outcome, as Morales' defensive limitations and solid but unspectacular stats may not be a package that teams are anxious to surrender a draft pick to acquire. Last winter, Adam LaRoche struggled to find a lengthy deal after being tied to draft pick compensation, and he was coming off a .271/.343/.510, 33-homer season. Morales, in contrast, hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 home runs, though he's three and a half years younger than LaRoche.
The Mariners showed interest in an extension for Morales over the summer, but he and agent Scott Boras had an asking price that was high enough to prevent the team from even extending a formal offer.