In case you missed it, the Twins finally brought an end to this year’s post-qualifying offer market, inking first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales to a deal that will pay him at a $12MM annual rate (around $7.5MM for the rest of the year). Morales will ultimately take home slightly less than Nelson Cruz takes home from the Orioles, though he’ll have to play much fewer games to earn it and will not be eligible for a qualifying offer next year. (Of course, he will also fall well shy of the $14.1MM qualifying offer that he rejected.)
Here’s the latest on the Morales signing:
- The Mariners did make an offer to Morales within the last two days, tweets Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The value of the offer was not reported. Seattle, of course, will not receive any draft compensation for losing Morales, since he waited to sign until after the first day of this year’s amateur draft.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi says that he was not involved in any discussions about the possibility of adding Morales, reports Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. “[W]e thought [Mark Teixeira's] injury wasn’t going to keep him out for a long period of time,” explained Girardi. “We were pretty confident that we were going to get [Carlos Beltran] back.” While New York had been said to be a possible suitor, the most recent report indicated that the team had been rebuffed when it asked agent Scott Boras to hold off on signing while the team evaluated the health of Teixeira and Beltran.
- Morales is likely to slot right into the Twins‘ MLB lineup in spite of his layoff, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He figures to provide an immediate boost to the offense, even if he’s rusty, as Minnesota has received scant production from the first base and designated hitter slots in the lineup. On the other hand, it would be surprising to see the team take at bats away from Joe Mauer, and utilizing Morales as the primary DH will mean that the team can put only one of its two most productive hitters thus far (catchers Kurt Suzuki and Josmil Pinto) in the lineup. Of course, Suzuki remains a candidate to be traded away over the summer.
- Adding Morales represents another move that increases the Twins‘ ability to compete in the short term without sacrificing long-term value, writes Dan Szymborski for ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Morales projects to be a roughly league-average DH, says Szymborski, but that sort of player would cost prospects to acquire via trade. And while the team may still have an uphill path to contention, it does sit just under .500, only five back in the AL Central and two-and-a-half out of the Wild Card. Like Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, who were inked to long-term deals over the offseason, Morales does not require Minnesota to cough up a draft choice.