Orioles’ Interest In Kendrys Morales Intensifies

The Orioles have been oft-connected to free agent slugger Kendrys Morales this offseason, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the club's interest in the switch-hitting Scott Boras client has picked up in the past few days.

The reason for Baltimore's heightened interest is twofold, according to Connolly. First, the Orioles' reluctance to part with their first-round pick is no longer a concern, as they forfeited the No. 17 overall selection in order to sign Ubaldo Jimenez earlier this week. Secondly, while Morales had previously been seeking a deal for as many as four or five years in length, Connolly's sources now indicate that Morales and Boras would be willing to settle for a short-term deal with an opt-out clause. Connolly writes that the Orioles may even be able to land Morales on a two-year deal with an opt-out after the first season.

Such a deal is essentially a one-year deal, with a player option tacked on to serve as a safety net in the event that Morales gets hurt or struggles in his first season with Baltimore. Connolly likens the deal to another one-year deal/player option negotiated by Scott Boras — Adrian Beltre's 2010 contract with the Red Sox. Like Beltre, Morales is looking to leave Seattle's pitcher-friendly environment in hope of demonstrating his power skills in a more hitter-friendly setting.

Should a one-year deal and player option be reached, Baltimore would almost certainly make a qualifying offer to Morales were he to opt out, which could restart this entire draft pick compensation cycle for Morales and Boras (in that instance, he would likely be coming off a season with better numbers, however). As such, Connolly looks at the situation as potentially forfeiting a second-round pick in 2014 (No. 55 overall) to move up a round higher in the 2015 draft by adding an additional pick via Morales' departure.


55 Responses to Orioles’ Interest In Kendrys Morales Intensifies Leave a Reply

  1. Morales had a safety net called the Qualifying Offer that he turned down. I don’t see why he needs another. The O’s should turn that opt out into a club option as incentive to sign him. The O’s have significant leverage with Morales who doesn’t have many places to go.

    • harmony55 1 year ago

      We don’t know how many teams remain interested in Kendrys Morales and therefore don’t know who (if anyone) has leverage.

      • Bernard Middlebrook 1 year ago

        Yeah, but we have a pretty, pretty good idea! It’s February 20th and he’s not signed. He’s a DH so no National League teams are going to sign him, even though Boras manages to plant articles saying teams like the Pirates are interested. It’s Baltimore or Seattle. Texas isn’t interested, the Yanks are done spending, Boston has Ortiz, the Jays don’t seem inclined, W Sox have no room for him, teams like the A’s and Rays can’t afford him.

        • harmony55 1 year ago

          Sources?

          I suspect your “pretty, pretty good idea” is based on media speculation not on information from anyone directly involved in negotiations.

          I’ll reserve judgment until Kendrys Morales signs. Free agents learned from Kyle Lohse last offseason that patience can work.

          • Lohse could play for 30 teams. Morales is appealing only to AL teams without DH options which is a very limited market. It would be very uncharacteristic of the Pirates to sign Morales, who carries significant risk as an everyday first baseman.

          • johnsilver 1 year ago

            Rumor was (and I believe) Lohse cut out AL East as his destination last year. I also think he would have fared no better than did Ryan dempster did at Boston.

            Both were very successful control pitchers in the NL Central, Dempster had success through April and May, but found out that patience at the plate is different in the AL East amongst more teams, as is no pitcher at the plate and think he would have run aground just the same, hence Boras not willing to accept any 1-2y deals from any of those teams.

          • formerdraftpick 1 year ago

            For the past 5 years, the Pirates have had risk at 1B. Brandon Inge even served at 1B for them last year.

          • They signed Inge at the league minimum and did not give up a draft pick.

          • Bernard Middlebrook 1 year ago

            Yes, cause waiting until late March to sign got Kyle Lohse so much more money! Pretty sure he could have gotten 3/33 earlier in the 2012-2013 offseason.

          • harmony55 1 year ago

            If Kyle Lohse had accepted 3/33 earlier last offseason he would have been left wondering whether he would have gotten more (or less) if the righthander had held out longer.

            It cuts both ways.

          • Bernard Middlebrook 1 year ago

            It wasn’t Lohse driving that train. It was agent Boras insisting that he’d get the pitcher more $$$$. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way for his players, especially this year. Most players want to sign by the time spring training camps open; want to know where they will be working the next 7 months.

          • harmony55 1 year ago

            The player drives the train for the agent who merely lays the alternative tracks for the player to choose.

        • PXDX 1 year ago

          * “teams like the A’s and Rays are too smart to have a full-time DH because they have depth and use it as a L/R platoon spot.”

          Fixed that last line for you :)

          • danistheguy 1 year ago

            That worked so well for the O’s last year.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            It worked just fine for the Rays and A’s.

          • danistheguy 1 year ago

            The O’s have Urrutia and Reimold/Pearce/Young as a potential LH/RH DH platoon. That might work. Or they could just sign a switch hitter that will OPS .780-.790 from both sides of the plate and have real good depth.

    • SumatranRatMonkey 1 year ago

      Why on Earth would they do that? Did you not understand the part where if he opts out of the second year, they can offer a QO and get a draft pick next year?

      • If he’s good enough to warrant a QO, then it’s reasonable to expect that he would be worth the price of the option to keep him around. If he has another season like last year, he’ll likely accept the QO.

  2. Mike 1 year ago

    [Morales Intensifies]

  3. snowbladerp14 1 year ago

    I am ok giving up the pick if we get 2 years min prefferably 3 years out of him. I dont want to give up a pick on a one year deal

    • Shawn Baublitz 1 year ago

      Yeah, makes zero sense to lose a pick for a 1 year rental.

  4. Meh Sheep 1 year ago

    Could be they are trying to negotiate where they can’t make a qualifying offer like has been put in other players contracts.

  5. Maxxx Depth 1 year ago

    texas

  6. Guest 1 year ago

    Can a player that declines an option be offered a QO? If I recall correctly, Beltre was a type A player with the Red Sox, but when he opted out, Sox couldn’t offer Arbitration. So they got nothing when he left.

    • Karkat 1 year ago

      Huh? Sox got Blake Swihart and JBJ with the picks they got for losing Beltre to the Rangers…

    • The QO is different from the old system, but the answer is yes. Jiminez declined his option and was offered a QO. Beltre was offered arbitration and declined.

  7. Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

    I know, I am like the frog being swallowed by the stork with the caption ‘Never Give Up’!
    However, I still want Nelson Cruz over Morales everyday of the week and twice on Sunday! Besides, the Mariners didn’t want to trade him to us back in August 2013, when we needed him the most!
    Just Say No Morales and Yes to Cruz!

    • SumatranRatMonkey 1 year ago

      I would say it depends a lot on the contracts. I’m guessing it takes a longer deal to get Cruz.

    • Pat Maher 1 year ago

      Why do you prefer Cruz? He has a lot of baggage that comes with his signing. Morales has better numbers, is younger, and doesn’t have a steroid history.

      • Comfy_Wastelander 1 year ago

        Even absent a comparison, I’d be scared of signing Cruz to a significant contract. He’s several years removed from his one big year and even that was all power-based… in a hitter’s park… while on PEDs. Even scarier: now at age 33, he’s right on schedule for a big drop off like most every other one-dimensional slugger.

      • Jeff in Cleveland 1 year ago

        Cruz is injury prone too. Morales would fit in nicely.

      • Rabbitov 1 year ago

        You have a lot to learn about Lefty.

    • mstrchef13 1 year ago

      What does the M’s not trading him to us have to do with signing him as a free agent? Totally unrelated. Cruz’s skills are much more likely to fall off a cliff (or be reduced due to no longer taking roids) than Morales, and Kendrys can play a passable 1B (in the unlikely event of Davis needing a day off, I don’t want to see Markakis or Flaherty there ever again).

      • Rabbitov 1 year ago

        Ryan Flaherty is the heart and soul of this team

    • orangeoctober 1 year ago

      why would you prefer cruz? the only thing he adds over morales is left field depth and he’s not exactly known for defense. he’s also another right hander when the o’s could use a leftie power bat more. not to mention the steroid baggage.

  8. AmericanMovieFan 1 year ago

    Morales is probably worth Carlos Quentin money. 3 years/$27MM w/ a club option at $13MM and a $3MM buyout.

    2014: $9MM
    2015: $9MM
    2016: $9MM
    2017: $13MM w/ $3MM buyout.

    • snowbladerp14 1 year ago

      Id like 1 less 9 million dollar year but it wouldnt be the end of the world

      • AmericanMovieFan 1 year ago

        I doubt you get him for less than 3 years in this FA market. I doubt you get him for $8MM a season, either.

  9. Bleed_Orange 1 year ago

    If this is all true I love the deal for the O’s. Could be a huge win win for both the player and the club.

  10. PXDX 1 year ago

    Would be pretty funny if the O’s got Morales and Cruz and they, along with Ubaldo, had monster years leading them to the playoffs.

    • Jeff in Cleveland 1 year ago

      I think getting both would work. I don’t like the Orioles in house options for left field and DH.

      • Pat Maher 1 year ago

        The team, and a lot of the fans, are pretty excited about David Lough. That was definitely an underrated trade. With Reimold, you’ve got a point because the guy cannot stay healthy as hasn’t done anything productive since his rookie year.

        • Jeff in Cleveland 1 year ago

          I did notice the excitement for Lough but I’m not very excited. Lough only had 5 steals and 5 home runs last year. Granted he hit 280 but I don’t understand the excitement of those stats.

      • Commander_Nate 1 year ago

        Look back to the 2011 World Series before deciding you’d want Cruz in your outfield.

  11. Jared Keeney 1 year ago

    We still want you in Seattle Kendrys… 10 times better than smoak

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

      Morales is a better hitter than Smoak but he will costs Seattle the comp pick they will receive and 5-6 time more money, add to that that Seattle will then have to trade Smoak and it just doesn’t fit.

      • Jared Keeney 1 year ago

        Every mariners fan wants to trade Smoak. Its a perfect fit. Hart and LoMo can take 1st base. And Morales can DH and fill in at 1st when needed like last year. And we still have enough money for another player.

      • Jared Keeney 1 year ago

        Also Seattle shouldnt be worried about losing a possible comp pick if they can get a MLB player right now

      • Bernard Middlebrook 1 year ago

        Smoak is guaranteed nearly $2.8 million this year (including $150K buyout of 2015 option), so I don’t see Morales getting 5-6 times as much $$$$. That would put him at $14-17 million a year. He isn’t getting that this late in the offseason. Oh wait, the offseason is over!

  12. orangeoctober 1 year ago

    id love the orioles to get morales. he’d send a ton of balls into the right field flag court at camden yards

    • pft2 1 year ago

      I think Morales makes Baltimore a legitimate contender. Not sure about their pen though

      • Rabbitov 1 year ago

        Orioles pen looks pretty good. The two biggest problems last year were that the bullpen was overtaxed and Jim Johnson blew like 12-15 games. Both have (hopefully) been fixed.

  13. pft2 1 year ago

    After this year and the whiff of collusion, I think there is a pretty good chance Morales take the QO if offered. Especially if his AAV in this deal is much less than 14 million, which I suspect it is. So I would not count on that compensation draft pick next year.

  14. Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

    I’ve never understood the preference for Cruz over Morales for the O’s. There was an article on MLBTR not to long ago that mentioned the benefits of Cruz playing OF as a preferred position of need over Morales at 1B. I don’t understand how that adds up. While Cruz CAN play OF, he is a below-average fielder at best, and that’s playing RF. He will not displace Markakis and the best you could hope for out of him is LF, which he’s only played 59 career games at, and is worse in than he is at RF. The trade for Lough was mainly because he plays stellar defense. The O’s need is at full-time DH, so It would really only make sense to compare offensive benefit. Cruz is pretty much a .260ish hitter who’s hit a lot of HRs. Both players have comparable OPSs. So it looks like somewhat of a wash offensively. So given that for the most part, their defensive abilities don’t matter, and their offensive numbers are pretty much a wash, there’s really 4 factors that I see that matter, and they all favor Morales.
    1) Morales is a switch hitter, although Cruz’s splits aren’t bad
    2) Cruz has only played more than 128 games once in his 9 year career, Morales has avoided injuries outside of the freak Grand Slam broken leg fail that everyone remembers
    3) Morales is 3 years younger
    4) A HUGE concern in my mind, Morales has never been linked to PEDs. There’s a lot of downfall IF the player goes off of PEDs, you never know what you’re getting, but you can assume it’s worse.

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