Looking At The Market For Kendrys Morales

The Mariners long seemed destined to bring back Kendrys Morales after the first baseman/designated hitter declined his $14.1MM qualifying offer. With interest already likely limited to American League clubs since he is not generally viewed as a regular first baseman, Morales's market figured to be dragged down further by draft pick compensation. That, in turn, made a return to Seattle an obvious fit.

But now, after adding both Corey Hart and Logan Morrison in quick succession, Seattle may no longer be a real landing spot for Morales. Both of those players seem more likely to see time at first and DH than in the outfield, and the club still has Justin Smoak in the mix as well. (Smoak, of course, just had his best big league season at age 26.)

On the other hand, the M's could elect to deal Smoak and bring back Morales. But if they do not, the remaining market looks to be a tough one for the Cuban national. It may be fair to wonder whether he will be able to better the qualifying offer that he turned down. (It would not be the first time that something like this has happened: Jason Varitek declined arbitration, under the prior Type A/B compensation system, only to re-sign with the Red Sox for far less than he stood to earn via arbitration.) Indeed, one GM even told Peter Gammons that he "just cannot see Kendrys Morales signing until after the draft." (Twitter link.)

There are, of course, some other American League clubs that would seem to make sense as a landing spot for Morales. (Presumably, NL teams will remain disinterested given his defensive limitations, even if agent Scott Boras is pitching him as a regular in the field.) After all, the switch-hitter is capable from both sides of the plate and mashes righties in particular. He has hit thirty home runs and seems a good bet to knock over twenty on a regular basis. Since his first season as a regular in 2009, he has a 128 OPS+. There is a reason he received, and declined, a qualifying offer, and he begins to look more and more appealing the more top players depart the open market.

There is one team that, like the Mariners, could make a great deal of sense if they make a trade. The Yankees currently stand to give a lot of DH at-bats to Alfonso Soriano. If the club deals Brett Gardner — however unlikely that may be — Soriano would move back to the oufield and potentially open the door for Morales, who could also spell a recovering Mark Teixeira at first. Bear in mind, New York would have relatively little to lose in terms of sacrificing draft picks, having already given up its first rounder. And Yankee Stadium would make quite an appealing spot for Morales to up his power numbers.

Then, there are the Orioles and Angels, both of which could definitely use Morales' bat. Unfortunately, each of those teams would also be required to give up a first-round draft selection (the 15th and 17th overall, respectively) to bring him in. And that is before considering payroll limitations. Nevertheless, the Brewers ultimately proved willing last year to give up a top choice to bring in Kyle Lohse on a seemingly reasonable deal last year, so it would be unwise to count the Halos and O's out completely.

The most interesting alternative possibility, however, could be the Astros. Houston has begun spending after trimming payroll to minimal levels in years past, and an interesting bat would elevate interest and expectations. And the team would only lose a second round choice if they inked Morales. GM Jeff Luhnow said just yesterday that the first base/DH slot was an area that the club might consider upgrading. Brett Wallace and Chris Carter are both limited players, while top prospect Jonathan Singleton might still need time to develop. If Morales could be had at a low enough cost, Houston could slot his bat in the middle of the lineup and use Wallace and Carter in some manner of platoon (or shed one of them).  

While a return to Seattle may not be in the cards, there's still a market out there for Morales, even if there isn't a clear odds-on favorite for his services.


31 Responses to Looking At The Market For Kendrys Morales Leave a Reply

  1. yankeestarz 2 years ago

    Declining the QO is now looking like an even worse idea than it was before.

  2. Tony Matias 2 years ago

    See what happens when Boras makes your bed for you Kendrys?? You still have to sleep in it.

    • $3513744 2 years ago

      Boras is still the best agent in the game.

      • alphabet_soup5 2 years ago

        Not necessarily for non-elite players with draft picks attached.

        • $3513744 2 years ago

          you can find holes in anything and anyone. if you want the best agent, Boras is your man. plain and simple.

        • OUTFOXEM 2 years ago

          Boras will get his man a team. He always does.

  3. Could be a team with a protected first round pick, so they only give up a second. Maybe a third if they’ve already given up their 2nd.

  4. neekohlai 2 years ago

    Stay away JeDi stay far far away.

  5. Farmer Tan Colin! 2 years ago

    Yikes man. How much is he actually looking at getting? I’m guessing it’s going to be like 14/2 or something ridiculously low. I’d be amazed if any NL teams can knocking and how many AL teams are in need? Looking like the Yankees or bust.

    • Tom 2 years ago

      With A Rod, Tex, Jeter, and McCann on the roster, I’d say the Yanks probably won’t have room for a DH for the next few years.

      • Farmer Tan Colin! 2 years ago

        I agree and if I were them I wouldn’t go finding a DH. Man they look old…Ichiro, Soriano, Wells as well.

      • GoForThree 2 years ago

        Beltran will also need some time at DH.

  6. docmilo5 2 years ago

    Why do the M’s deal Smoak? Didn’t Tampa want LoMo? LoMo may take pressure off the top prospects in a Price deal. We know the Rays already had interest. LoMo, Franklin, Taylor and some lower level pitching?

  7. I thought about the Varitek comparison earlier today as both were Boras represented clients who grossly overestimated their market. Considering how teams value first round picks at 8 million with second rounders being presumably a few million less, I think a team might be interested in Morales if he was willing to sign a 2 year deal with a low salary. That doesn’t look very appealing to him though.

    This, Drew’s situation, and the astronomical rise in FA spending could lead players to rethink declining the QO. It seems as though less stellar players like Morales have a lot more to lose on the open market than ever before if draft pick compensation is involved.

  8. cochise 2 years ago

    How does the compensation pick work if the player waits until after the draft?

    • Anthony Dion 2 years ago

      you don’t get one, bro.

    • harmony55 2 years ago

      The former team gets no compensatory draft pick if the qualified-offer free agent does not sign with another MLB team before the June draft.
      I worry that Kendrys Morales will land in Japan, depriving the Mariners of a draft pick.

  9. How does Boras pull some Keyser Soze out the hat on this one? Tell Jack Z there’s a guy on the market with 23 Hrs and 80 RBIs! Plays a mean 1B! Doesn’t cost a draft pick!

  10. LazerTown 2 years ago

    Who told him to turn down that offer?
    He is an average 1B, why would someone want give up a pick, and $14M aav.

    • bjsguess 2 years ago

      I personally wouldn’t touch him but the strategy wasn’t bad. You have Cruz rumored at 4/$60. Is it really such a stretch that Morales would be worth more than 1/$14?

  11. OaklandFan22 2 years ago

    To the A’s makes a lot of sense, since we are in need of a DH. But I’m not sure we have the money he is asking for.

  12. glenstein 2 years ago

    I think it’s reasonable for the Astros to suspect they could sign Kendrys and trade him at the deadline for something better than they could draft in the 2nd round.

  13. Don Stauty 2 years ago

    What would be the odds of Seattle signing him in a sign and trade situation? He would be more valuable to teams if it didn’t cost a draft pick to sign him. Thinking the per year cost would be the biggest issue.

    • jtmorgan 2 years ago

      In the CBA no free agent can be traded until sometime in June or July. So no sign and trades allowed.

    • northsfbay 2 years ago

      The sign and trade is negotiating in bad faith.

  14. sparkysway 2 years ago

    Detroit should sign him and keep Miggy at 3rd because there is NO WAY this rookie they want at 3rd is ready to start.

    • Bradley Maravalli 2 years ago

      So Cabrera at 3B, Morales at 1B, and Martinez as DH. Talk about the most defenseless core lineup ever. Lol.

  15. Bradley Maravalli 2 years ago

    Logan Morrison is not a valid replacement for Morales. Also, Morales is tied to a first draft pick. If Seattle is honestly weary of signing him, Morales is going to be in limbo for a good while.

  16. camerondatzker 2 years ago

    It looks like The Mariners will try to trade1st Baseman Justin Smoak. I see 5 possible locations for him. The Brewers if they don’t get Ike Davis from The Mets, The Giants as a powerful home run threat from the bench and a part-time player, The Padres as a platoon player with Yonder Alonso, The Yankees as a bench player. The Pirates could be a player if Gabe Sanchez doesn’t work out.

  17. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    Who says that the Mariners can’t put LoMo in LF and Hart in RF? It’s not ideal defensively, but the offensive benefits could outweigh the defensive liabilities

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