Latest On Kendrys Morales, Nelson Cruz

Earlier today, a report indicated that the Orioles' pursuit of switch-hitting, first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales had picked up steam in recent days. Here are the latest rumblings on both Morales and fellow bat-first free agent Nelson Cruz, a right-handed-hitting outfielder. Though each of the reports appears to be consistent with the idea that the two players' fates are intertwined, they differ somewhat as to where things stand:

  • The Orioles are talking with both Morales and Cruz, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. A deal with one of the two "could happen soon," Rosenthal adds.
  • Baltimore is divided internally as to which is the better target between Morales and Cruz,'s Roch Kubatko tweets. Regardless, says Kubatko, nothing is imminent.
  • Both the Orioles and Mariners have Morales above Cruz on their target lists, sources tell Jim Bowden of (Twitter link). The two clubs are both chatting with the two sluggers, according to Bowden.
  • Morales and Cruz both declined qualifying offers, meaning that signing clubs will sacrifice a pick to sign them. But both the O's and M's already decided to part with their top, non-protected pick for other signings. So, if Morales and Cruz were to sign with Baltimore and Seattle — regardless of which player signs with which team — the former would give up its second-round choice while the latter would remain neutral. If the Mariners were to sign Morales, they would neither gain nor lose a choice since he turned down their qualifying offer. If they sign Cruz but lose Morales, they would lose each of their two top unprotected picks, which would include the compensation choice otherwise obtained for allowing the latter to walk.

62 Responses to Latest On Kendrys Morales, Nelson Cruz Leave a Reply

  1. pft2 1 year ago

    Orioles might also consider signing Drew to play 2B this year and replace JJ Hardy who will be a free agent next year. JJ Hardy could get them a pick if he turns down a QO, or land them something in a trade if the season does not go well.

    • laracco 1 year ago

      Isn’t Machado their shortstop of the future?

      • Ivan 1 year ago

        My guess is that Machado is doing a well enough at 3B that if they sign Drew, Drew will play SS and Manny will stick at 3B

        • laracco 1 year ago

          I was just repeating what I saw on MLB network 2 days ago that said the Orioles were going to move him back. In the end they probably don’t know and the Orioles will probably keep him at third since it makes sense.

      • pft2 1 year ago

        Probably not after the knee injury, and he is pretty awesome at 3B already.

        • basemonkey 1 year ago

          I’m not against keeping Manny at 3B, but Kendry or Cruz acquisition has nothing to do with Hardy or Machado. It’s to do with protecting Davis and Jones.

      • natttyboh 1 year ago

        I love Manny at 3rd but I was thinking that it is a lot easier to find a solid 3rd baseman compared to a finding a SS so it would probably make sense to move him over to short down the road,

    • Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

      Drew isn’t a bad idea at all.
      Even Boras said he would be willing to play a different position.
      Plus, I have no reason to believe he can’t make the transition.
      It’s just going to be how reasonable the contract will be.
      I still would take Cruz over Morales, but if the O’s don’t go that route, then sign Drew and give Lough and Delmon Young a chance to help the O’s cause.

      • Meh Sheep 1 year ago

        Wow Boras saying something to create more demand for his client, this is a first. Bet he’ll be stating how Chris Davis can be a closer.

    • basemonkey 1 year ago

      This makes no sense. The whole point of picking up a bat is RH power to protect Jones-Davis, not to create depth behind SS or 2B, which the Os already have a ton of (Machado is SS if Hardy leaves. That’s certain).

  2. Lilstackhustla 1 year ago

    Has there been a MLBTR poll on Morales vs Cruz? I’m not sure who I’d rather sign.

    • James 1 year ago

      Yeah, it was roughly 50-50 between the two.

      • Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago


        8,690 voted Morales
        8,661 voted Cruz

        (question posed was “which hitter would you rather sign?”)

    • natttyboh 1 year ago

      I seem to remember looking at the splits and seeing that it was more worthwhile to go for Cruz, even though Morales is a switch hitter. I could be wrong though.

  3. charles 1 year ago

    I hope the Mariners sign at least one of them for that bat to give Cano some insurance

  4. Jeff in Cleveland 1 year ago

    Get both O’s!

    • charles 1 year ago

      they will get at least one. Caring is sharing

    • charles 1 year ago

      Learn to share O’s

      • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

        they have been open to sharing all offseason now is the time to get greedy

        • charles 1 year ago

          your right. My Mariners have been sitting on there hands doing nothing

  5. harmony55 1 year ago

    The Mariners already have forfeited their top unprotected draft pick by signing Robinson Cano.

    In the unlikely event Seattle signs Kendrys Morales, plus Nelson Cruz or Ervin Santana, the M’s will forfeit their second-round pick for Cano and their Competitve Balance Round B pick for Cruz or Santana because the potential Morales compensation pick would never vest (and their first-round pick is protected).

    • Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago

      That’s what I said, no? “both the O’s and M’s already decided to part with their top, non-protected pick”

      The scenario I gave for Cruz/Morales signing with SEA/BAL was that, assuming one signs with each, it makes no difference to the Mariners: they would neither gain nor lose a pick.

      But you are right that, if the Mariners sign Morales and Cruz/Santana, they would give up what is currently the 72nd overall pick in addition to the second-rounder they already gave up. (First round choice is protected.)

      • harmony55 1 year ago

        I offered my clarification after you wrote: “if they were to sign Cruz but lose Morales, they would sacrifice the compensation choice otherwise obtained for allowing the latter to walk.”

        A Seattle signing of Nelson Cruz would never be tied to the M’s compensatory draft pick, which will be tied to Robinson Cano in the event the pick vests with a Kendrys Morales signing elsewhere.

        • Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago

          I understand what you’re getting at: if they lose Morales but don’t sign Cruz, they would stand to lose the comp pick instead of the 2nd rounder. I was specifically positing that both of Cruz and Morales sign with one of SEA/BAL, and looking at the overall result. But I made a slight edit to avoid any unintended implications.

      • charles 1 year ago

        what do you think is the best route for the M’s and why do you think that the M’s havent signed anyone yet?

        • Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago

          I haven’t really broken that down carefully, but I’d probably agree with others who have said the team already has sufficient defensively-limited power hitters, and would be better off pocketing the pick for losing Morales while looking to improve their outfield defense or rotation.

  6. Nayners 1 year ago

    Like the Mariners need another 1B/DH type.. Still, I think Morales is a better choice for them over Cruz. Sign Morales, trade Smoak and Franklin for a corner outfielder and/or starting pitcher.

    • Ivan 1 year ago

      How about this deal with the marlins. Franklin and some Lowish (5-15) prospect for Brian flynn (LHP starter that is ready for big leagues) and Marcel Ozuna (RF, CF that may not fit in the marlins plans if marisnick develops his bat soon.)

      • PXDX 1 year ago

        Franklin for Ozuna straight up might be a match.

        • Ivan 1 year ago

          seriously? I’d do that trade in a heartbeat!

        • harmony55 1 year ago

          Nick Franklin and Jake Marisnick match up more closely: born the same month, similar prospect rankings in 2012 and 2013, six years of team control.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            They might match better, but the displaced Franklin is the one who has to be playing everyday somewhere, and the onus is on the Mariners to move him, not the Marlins to match the trade. Ozuna isn’t chopped liver either, he’s had success in the bigs already.

          • Drew 1 year ago

            Franklin has an option left, so he can go back to AAA.

          • Ivan 1 year ago

            Hey do you mind explaining the options to me. No one really explained them to me, and Super two status as well if you could.

          • harmony55 1 year ago

            The depth chart at the Marlins’ website lists Jake Marisnick as the fourth outfielder behind Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, so apparently Marisnick is “displaced” as well. Perhaps the onus is on the Marlins to make a trade.

          • Ivan 1 year ago

            His best skill is his defence. He is fast and has a good arm. He just needs to develop his bat a little more. If he could hit at the major level he would be the starting CF instead of Ozuna

  7. Wooltron 1 year ago

    I’ll be happy as long as Cruz gets less AAV than he would have received via his QA.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Personally I’d rather give Cruz 1/14 than 3/30. Hes the type of one dimensional player that declines quickly.

      • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

        what you would give him and what he will take are 2 very different things and I think if you are signing a player and losing a draft pick you need at least 2-3 years out of the player

      • pft2 1 year ago

        David Ortiz says hi. No decline in his universe.

        • Ortiz isn’t a one dimensional player. He may not play defense, but his offensive output is vastly superior to Cruz.

          • pft2 1 year ago

            So you have a unique definition of 1 dimensional. Papi hits, that is all he does, and he does it very well, but that is one dimensional in my book

          • It’s not that unique. There are plenty of different types of offensive players. Papi can hit for average, power, and he can take a walk. Cruz is only appealing as a power hitter.

  8. Dan Bowen 1 year ago

    Both guys are probably regretting not taking their qualifying offers.

    • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

      I mean even if morales signs say a 3/27 million that is less annually but more guaranteed and you never know what could happen next year

      • pft2 1 year ago

        Exactly. Players always trade off AAV for years and total dollars, a concept some fans just can not grasp for reasons I can’t fathom

  9. PXDX 1 year ago

    What if they both signed with the Orioles or Mariners?

    • harmony55 1 year ago

      The Orioles would lose their second- and third-round draft picks (after forfeiting their first-round pick for Ubaldo Jimenez) while the Mariners, who have a protected first-round pick, would suffer the net loss of their second-round pick and their Competitive Balance Round B draft pick after the second round. The potential sandwich-round compensatory draft pick for Morales would not vest for the Mariners, meaning the signing of Robinson Cano would result in the forfeiture of the second-round pick.

      • PXDX 1 year ago

        This is really confusing, but thanks for the reply!

  10. James 1 year ago

    I would prefer the M’s sign Morales who has shown he can hit in Safeco and trade Franklin and Smoak for an outfielder or a SP. Put Hart or LoMo at 1B and Morales can be the full time DH. Ackley in left and Saunders in center or right depending on who they would receive from Franklin/Smoak deal.

    If they trade for an SP instead of an OF then put LoMo in right while Saunders mans center. Its just a big logjam right now.

    • soopurelative 1 year ago

      Are you purposely forgetting the Mariner’s 40lbs overweight potential first baseman/DH/project? Or have you already relegated him to Tacoma? Don’t get me wrong. I’m trying to forget about him too…

      • pft2 1 year ago

        Jack Z has already written him off, saying he has zero expectations for him

        • soopurelative 1 year ago

          Not just Zduriencik. Pretty much the whole staff. But he is still on the roster and showed up to ST camp. And that’s why I mentioned the “/project”

      • James 1 year ago

        Yeah, I still had some hope for him to rebound in some sort of way but showing up to camp 40lbs over his target weight shows he has lost all motivation.

  11. GrilledCheese39 1 year ago

    Wishing the Pirates would sign Drew, Morales, and Cruz (if he’d sign a 1/yr deal) but, sigh that’s never gonna happen. They’d all be perfect fits though, lol.

  12. JoshReddicksWalkupSong 1 year ago

    I read an article that said GMs value high draft picks at about $7M. So, for it to make financial sense for a team to sign one of these guys and lose their first round draft pick, they would have to save at least $7M over the course of the deal. If they value one of these guys at $14M a year, they would have to sign him at $7M on a 1-year deal. But spreading that $7M over the course of 3 seasons makes more sense for the players.

    This is why the Mets signing Drew to a 1-year deal, and also why Drew and his agent requesting an opt out after one year doesn’t make any sense. Either they’re going to have to sign with their old team, take a huge pay cut for a one year deal or sign a 2-4 year deal with $7M taken off their market value. That is assuming the team that signs the player still has a non-protected first round draft pick.

    • pft2 1 year ago

      High draft picks, meaning 1st round, more like middle 1st round. A 2nd round in the orioles case or 3rd round in the Mets case is worth nowhere near as much.

      Players understand they pay for the cost of the pick, and have been doing so for many years now, nothing has changed really except the loss of slot money which I think is overstated. However, teams seem to be using the picks to squeeze more money out of them, and doing so in a collective and concerted fashion, at least for non-elite free agents.

      Also, the old team is losing the anticipated compensation pick by signing the player, which is a supplementary pick worth somewhere between a 1st and 2nd rounder, so they won’t be offering much more than a team who stands only to lose a 2nd or later rounder.

      Drew actually wants a 3-4 year deal, and at age 31 and only 1 significant injury in his career, an injury that he has shown he has recovered from, the reluctance of teams to give it to him is curious to say the least. He is only proposing the optout because the AAV he is being offered is so much less than his expected market value (far more than 7 million over 3-4 years).

  13. Longdistance O'S fan 1 year ago

    I have been sitting on the fence on should we chose CRUZ or MORALES all winter but I keep hearing more and more that the stadium in SEATTLE is not as much of a home run park and MORALES hit 23 hr’s last season and he is cheaper than CRUZ so TAKE MORALES…….GO O’S

  14. Jeff_Todd_MLBTR 1 year ago

    Decided to look it up, and figured I’d share. Assuming you are referring to defense, 2013 Machado ranks 8th on Fangraphs’ rankings. Impressive, needless to say.

    He ranks pretty well in overall production, too. By fWAR, 2013 Machado was the 137th best season ever by a 3B, sandwiched between 1962 Brooks Robinson and 2011 Evan Longoria. Of course, that is over 143 years of statistics.

  15. soopurelative 1 year ago

    Seattle moved their fences in previous to last season. As a team, they were second in the League, just behind the, ahem, Oriole’s in HRs. Regardless, Morales hit about the same number of HRs on the road as he did at home. Actually, most of his numbers were compatible whether at home or on the road. That’s why Seattle is going to sign him (wishful thinking)… 😉

  16. Ted W 1 year ago

    Definitely Morales. He is a switch hitter that’s a lock for 20+ HRs and 80+ RBIs. Also has a better AVG. than Cruz. Cruz is coming off his PEDS suspension, so who knows what you’ll get. Kendrys Morales easily gets my vote.

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