Kendry Morales Rumors
After the Mariners moved in the fences at Safeco Field and acquired several veteran bats in the offseason, it has to be disheartening for the team and their fans that the M's are again struggling at the plate. The Mariners are near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, carrying an overall team slash line of .233/.296/.371 heading into Friday's action.
The offensive slump can't be blamed on at least one of those newcomers. Kendrys Morales hit .253/.354/.422 with three homers though his first 96 PA, roughly on pace with the .787 OPS he posted with the Angels in 2012 though this season Morales has hit for less power and reached base more often. He's been one of the bright spots in the Seattle lineup but if the M's can't pull themselves together, Morales could be expendable come the July trade deadline.
Morales was acquired by the Mariners in December in a one-for-one swap with the Angels that sent Jason Vargas to Anaheim. It was a logical move for both teams as the Angels needed space at DH and the Mariners had an excess of starting pitching given the number of young arms in their system. Morales was a short-term investment for the M's since he is only under contract through this season, earning $5.25MM in his last year of arbitration eligibility. That's a very good price for a solid bat, and if Morales is a deadline pickup, a trade suitor would owe the switch-hitter just $1.75MM over the last two months of the season.
Here are some of the teams that could be a trade fit with the Mariners...
* Rockies. While Morales has played some first base since his return from the leg injury that cost him almost the entirety of the 2010-11 seasons, he is best suited for a DH role. An NL team might not want to risk playing Morales in the field every day, but if the surprising Rockies stay in the NL West race, they could acquire Morales and only use him against right-handed starters. Colorado has the right-handed hitting Jordan Pacheco to use against southpaws as Morales only has a career .714 OPS against lefty pitching. Todd Helton (currently on the DL) is also still in the mix at first for the Rockies but the club can't expect much from their former franchise player given his recent injury history.
* Giants. Brandon Belt's struggles have left the Giants thin at first base, but I see Morales as very much a longshot fit for their needs.
* Tigers. If Victor Martinez still hasn't returned to form by midseason, Detroit might look to improve their designated hitter spot. Scott Boras, Morales' agent, could be a factor in such a trade given his good relationship with Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
* Rays. Tampa Bay is another offensively-challenged team that has Wil Myers waiting in the wings for a call-up to play right field and Luke Scott on a minor league rehab assignment. Morales would be an upgrade over Scott at DH and, since Morales' remaining salary would be in the $1.75MM range, he'd fit into the Rays' limited payroll.
* Orioles. Nolan Reimold has been getting the majority of the DH at-bats with Wilson Betemit out until June. The O's could be in the market for an upgrade but it's doubtful given that a healthy Betemit hits right-handers well enough to make Morales redundant.
It could be argued that the Mariners should not only keep Morales but also pursue an extension with him, given that the 29-year-old is one of the team's few productive bats. Scott Boras clients, however, generally go to free agency and you wonder if Morales would want to remain at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field over the long term. Besides, the M's could always deal Morales at the deadline and then pursue him again as a free agent in the offseason. Trading Morales in June or July would net the Mariners a decent prospect or two as they may already be looking to reload for 2014.
Photo courtesy of Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports Images
Dozens of players will agree to terms with their respective teams today and avoid arbitration. We'll have detailed posts on the top earners around MLB, and we'll track more modest agreements -- those worth less than $4MM -- right here. MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker will have all of the details.
Teams had until 12pm CDT today to exchange filing numbers with their arbitration eligible players. Generally speaking the deadline creates lots of discussion and leads to early deals. Plus, for ‘file and trial’ teams this marks the final chance for negotiations in advance of a hearing. Here are the latest agreements from around MLB...
- The Padres announced that they have avoided arbitration with Edinson Volquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- The Red Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Andrew Bailey ($4.1MM), Daniel Bard ($1.8625MM), Andrew Miller ($1.475MM), and Franklin Morales ($1.4875MM). Terms courtesy of WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Mets and Bobby Parnell avoided arb with a $1.7MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Red Sox avoided arbitration with Alfredo Aceves, agreeing to a deal worth $2.65MM plus incentives, according to O'Connell Sports Management, Aceves' agency (on Twitter via Jon Heyman).
- The Cubs avoided arbitration with James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter). Samardzija obtains $2.64MM while Russell gets $1.075MM, Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Diamondbacks announced that they avoided arbitration with Chris Johnson ($2.2875MM). The team also avoided arbitration with Brad Ziegler ($3.15MM), agreeing to a one-year deal, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Terms courtesy of Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).
- The Nationals announced that they agreed to terms with Tyler Clippard, avoiding arbitration (via Amanda Comak on Twitter). The Nationals avoided arbitration with Ian Desmond, agreeing to a one-year, $3.8MM deal, Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports (on Twitter). The Nationals also avoided arb with Roger Bernadina according to the outfielder's agent, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The Nationals and Ross Detwiler agreed to a one-year, $2.3375MM contract, according to CAA (via Twitter).
- Brennan Boesch and Phil Coke avoided arbitration, agreeing to one-year deals with the Tigers, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports (on Twitter). Boesch will earn $2.3MM while Coke will earn $1.85MM. The Tigers also avoided arbitration with Alex Avila, agreeing to a one-year, $2.95MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (all Twitter links). Austin Jackson agreed to a deal worth $3.5MM for 2013, Heyman reports. Doug Fister obtained a one-year, $4MM deal from Detroit, Heyman reports.
- The Dodgers and A.J. Ellis avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $2MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ronald Belisario agreed to a one-year, $1.45MM deal, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports (on Twitter).
- The Mariners announced that they avoided arbitration with Kendrys Morales and Brendan Ryan on one-year agreements for 2013. Morales will obtain $5.25MM plus performance bonuses, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Ryan obtained $3.25MM, Heyman reports (on Twitter).
- The Rockies avoided arb with Tyler Colvin, agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced (on Twitter). Colvin will earn $2.275MM, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes (on Twitter).
- The Braves avoided arbitration with Cristhian Martinez, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter). The Braves avoided arb with Kris Medlen, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports (on Twitter). Medlen will earn $2.6MM in 2013. They also avoided arb with Jason Heyward, agreeing to a one-year, $3.65MM deal, Bowman reports (onTwitter). The Braves agreed with another young player, avoiding arb with Jonny Venters, O'Brien reports (on Twitter). It's a $1.625MM deal. Earlier today the Braves agreed to a one-year deal with Eric O'Flaherty, avoiding arbitration, Bowman reported (on Twitter). He'll earn $4.32MM plus awards bonuses, Bowman adds.
- The Athletics announced they avoided arb with Jerry Blevins and Brandon Moss, agreeing to one-year deals for 2013.
- The Cardinals avoided arb with Mitchell Boggs and Edward Mujica, B.J. Rains of FOX Sports MidWest reports (on Twitter).
- The Indians announced that they avoided arb with Matt Albers and Justin Masterson. Albers will earn $1.75MM in 2013, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports (on Twitter). Masterson will earn $5.6875MM according to Bastian (on Twitter). The Indians and Joe Smith avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.15MM deal, Bastian reported earlier today (on Twitter). The Indians also avoided arbitration with Lou Marson, Bastian reports (Twitter links). The catcher will earn $1MM on a one-year deal in 2013.
- The Astros avoided arb with Wesley Wright, agreeing to a one-year deal, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports (on Twitter). Wright will earn $1.025MM, according to Heyman (on Twitter). Earlier today the Astros and Bud Norris avoided arb with a one-year, $3MM deal, McTaggart reports (on Twitter). The Astros and Jed Lowrie avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.4MM deal with awards bonuses, according to his representatives at CAA Baseball (on Twitter).
- The White Sox announced that they avoided arbitration with Alejandro De Aza, agreeing to a $2.075MM deal for 2013. The White Sox also avoided arb with Gordon Beckham, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.925MM for 2013, MLBTR has learned.
- The Orioles announced that they avoided arb with Chris Davis and Brian Matusz (Twitter link). Matusz gets a base salary of $1.6MM while Davis gets $3.3MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter links). The Orioles also avoided arbitration with Troy Patton. The sides agreed to a one-year, $815K deal, his agency, CAA Sports, announced on Twitter.
- The Brewers avoided arb with right-hander Marco Estrada and reliever Burke Badenhop, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Estrada will earn $1.955MM while Badenhop will earn $1.55MM, Haudricourt reports.
- The Rays avoided arbitration with Matthew Joyce and Ryan Roberts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports (on Twitter). Joyce will earn $2.45MM and Roberts will earn $2.95MM plus incentives, the Rays announced. The Rays also avoided arbitration with Sam Fuld, agreeing to a one-year, $725K deal, Topkin reported (on Twitter). Earlier today the Rays avoided arbitration with Jeff Niemann. The sides agreed to a one-year, $3MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Royals announced that they avoided arbitration with Luke Hochevar, agreeing to a one-year deal for 2013. Hochevar will earn $4.56MM plus performance bonuses, Pete Grathoff of the Kansas City Star reports (on Twitter).
- The Yankees avoided arb with Boone Logan, agreeing to a one-year, $3.15MM deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Padres avoided arb with John Baker, agreeing to a $930K deal (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Twins and Brian Duensing avoided arb with a $1.3MM deal for 2013 (via CAA Sports on Twitter).
- The Marlins avoided arbitration with Ryan Webb, agreeing to a $975K deal, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).
- The Blue Jays announced that they avoided arbitration with Emilio Bonifacio by agreeing to a one-year, $2.6MM deal. The Blue Jays also announced that they avoided arbitration with J.A. Happ, agreeing to a one-year, $3.7MM deal for 2013.
- The Angels and Tommy Hanson avoided arbitration with a one-year, $3.725MM deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
- The Giants avoided arb with Gregor Blanco, agreeing to a one-year, $1.35MM deal, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Phillies announced that they avoided arbitration with Antonio Bastardo with a $1.4MM contract for 2013.
- Gaby Sanchez and the Pirates have reached agreement on a one-year, $1.75MM deal plus bonuses to avoid arbitration, according to the Beverly Hills Sports Council (on Twitter).
Two AL West rivals have agreed to exchange prominent players in a deal that will address major needs for both clubs. The Mariners and Angels have agreed to a trade that will send Kendrys Morales to Seattle for left-hander Jason Vargas, the Mariners announced.
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto had been hoping to obtain an innings eater for Morales, and that's precisely what he's getting in Vargas. The 29-year-old has completed at least 192 innings in each of the past three seasons. He pitched 217 1/3 innings this past season, posting a 3.85 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 40.2% ground ball rate. He joins a rotation that will include Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson. Garrett Richards now projects as the team's sixth starter.
Vargas will go to arbitration for the third and final time this offseason and remains on track to hit free agency one year from now. MLBTR projects a 2013 salary of $7.4MM for Vargas, a CAA Sports client.
Vargas, a fly ball pitcher like Weaver, will have a fleet-footed outfield of Mike Trout, Peter Bourjos and Josh Hamilton covering lots of ground behind him. Mark Trumbo now projects as the Angels' designated hitter. Though Bourjos and Trumbo also surfaced in trade rumors after the Angels signed Hamilton, it now seems likely that they'll stay put.
Morales, who is also one year away from free agency, projects to earn $4.8MM in 2013. He'll add some offense to a Mariners lineup that finished last in the American League in runs scored in 2012. The 29-year-old posted a .273/.320/.467 batting line with 22 home runs and 26 doubles in 522 plate appearances for the Angels this past season after missing the entire 2011 campaign with a leg injury.
The addition of Morales could cost Justin Smoak playing time, assuming the Mariners find a way to get Jesus Montero into the starting lineup most days. The Mariners' rotation will include Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Blake Beavan and, potentially, promising young arms such as Erasmo Ramirez, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen. It's possible GM Jack Zduriencik will add a veteran arm, MLB.com's Greg Johns suggests (on Twitter).
Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com first reported the trade (on Twitter). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Kendrys Morales remains more likely to be traded than Peter Bourjos and Mark Trumbo in the wake of the Josh Hamilton signing, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The Angels seek an innings-eating starting pitcher in return for their switch-hitting DH.
Morales, 29, will not receive a qualifying offer after the 2013 season according to Rosenthal. He is projected to earn $4.8MM through arbitration this winter, a reasonable sum for a player who hit .273/.320/.467 with 22 homers in 522 plate appearances this past season. It was reported over the weekend that multiple AL teams had interest in Morales, though few clubs have an innings-eater to spare.
In today's Insider-only blog post, ESPN's Buster Olney says Josh Johnson has a chance to be next offseason's Zack Greinke. If the right-hander stays healthy in 2012, he'll be arguably the best starting pitcher on the free agent market at a time when the sport is flush with cash and big market teams like the Cubs and Rangers figure to be in a position to spend. Here are the rest of Olney's rumors...
- Matt Sosnick, Johnson's agent, confirmed to Olney that they have not yet had any contract extension talks with the Blue Jays. They are open to it, however.
- Olney lists Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Ruiz, Brian McCann, Matt Garza, Joel Hanrahan, Carlos Gomez, David Murphy, and James Loney as players who have a lot riding on 2013 as they prepare to hit free agency after next season.
- In the wake of the Josh Hamilton signing, Kendrys Morales could be a good fit for the Rays as a switch-hitting DH with power and on-base skills. ESPN's Jim Bowden reports (on Twitter) that multiple AL teams are "in play" for Morales.
Here's the latest on how Josh Hamilton's agreement with the Angels will affect several other players and teams all around the league, including how close some other teams came to signing the free agent slugger themselves...
- The Rangers have told Geovany Soto he'll be their everyday catcher in 2013, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Rangers could now pursue free agent backstop A.J. Pierzynski. Also from Olney, rival evaluators are speculating that the Rangers might now be the best fit for Nick Swisher (both links are to Olney's Twitter account).
- The Mariners "badly wanted" Hamilton, which means the Angels disappointed two of their AL West rivals today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). MLB.com's Greg Johns hears that the M's were heavily courting Hamilton and "had strong hopes" he would sign with them.
- The Red Sox had interest in Hamilton but weren't willing to offer a contract longer than three years, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- The Phillies were similarly not interested in Hamilton at such a high price, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Hamilton's signing could increase interest in other free agent outfielders like Swisher and Cody Ross, thus possibly pricing the Phillies out of the market and forcing them to turn their attention to acquiring pitching instead.
- The Marlins could reverse their stance on trading Giancarlo Stanton, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, if the Rangers are desperate to add another big bat and were willing to offer Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt in a deal. Frisaro also thinks Miami could be a trade match with the Angels as Peter Bourjos "has been on the Marlins' radar for a while."
- Fangraphs' Dave Cameron breaks down the value of Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Bourjos both to the Angels and on the trade market.
- Bourjos, for his part, tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he wants to remain in Anaheim and enjoys being an Angel, though he also wants to be an everyday player.
- ESPN's Keith Law doesn't see Hamilton providing much value in the last two years of his contract, though his signing "makes more sense" if the Angels trade some roster depth to fill the holes in their rotation. Law also notes that Michael Bourn appears to be running out of suitors, and speculates that Bourn could look for a one-year deal now and then look for a big multiyear contract next winter.
- Early today, we looked at rumors concerning the possibility of the Angels and Mets working out a trade involving R.A. Dickey.
MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post
- In the wake of the Madson signing, the Angels are letting teams know Jordan Walden is "very available" according to ESPN's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). The 25-year-old right-hander pitched to a 3.46 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 39 innings this year.
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto would not say whether he was still pursuing Japanese free agent reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, reports Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times (on Twitter).
- The Angels will tender contracts to all four arbitration-eligible players according to DiGiovanna (on Twitter). Kendrys Morales, Alberto Callaspo, Jerome Williams, and Kevin Jepsen represent the team's class of arb-eligibles.
- The Angels have claimed shortstop Thomas Field off waivers from the Twins, the team announced. The 25-year-old has hit .260/.315/.260 in 54 plate appearances with the Rockies over the last two years.
- The Padres offered Hiroki Kuroda a one-year deal worth $17-18MM, reports George A. King III of The New York Post. The right-hander instead took a one-year, $15MM deal to return to the Yankees.
- Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports hears Brian Wilson's first choice (aside from the Giants) would be to pitch for the Dodgers next year (Twitter links). Wilson lives in Los Angeles during the offseason and will likely be non-tendered later this week.
Earlier today, we learned the Angels are interested in Ryan Madson. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the Angels are indeed in talks with Madson about a possible deal. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez adds, via Twitter, that GM Jerry Dipoto loves Madson, a Southern California native, and isn't afraid to take a chance on a closer coming off Tommy John surgery, as evident by last offseason's pursuit of Joe Nathan. Gonzalez also tweets any deal will probably be incentive-laden. Here are some more Angels notes from Gonzalez, who recently cleaned out in his inbox and answered emails from his readers:
- Gonzalez advances the idea the Angels may be better off not re-signing Zack Greinke. The argument goes since the Angels already have one ace in Jered Weaver, they will have more financial flexibility to fill the two holes they have in their rotation and to rebuild their bullpen, if Greinke signs elsewhere. Either way, the Angels are handcuffed until Greinke makes his decision.
- The Yankees, Red Sox, and Braves will not be factors in the Greinke derby, but the Dodgers and Rangers could really mess up the Angels' plans.
- Free agency will be the Angels' best bet to fill their holes because they don't have much minor league talent to offer in trade.
- Gonzalez would be shocked if Kendrys Morales is traded because he is viewed as a bargain in arbitration and is a crucial left-handed presence in a lineup that leans heavily to the right.
- Look for Alberto Callaspo, who provides solid defense and draw walks, to man third base in 2013 with top prospect Kaleb Cowart taking over in 2014.
Before the season, we identified 11 players who were entering "make or break" years. These guys had experienced ups and downs in their respective careers and were positioned to re-establish themselves as difference makers at the Major League level and set themselves up for nice paydays in the future. Now that we're into August, let's take a second to check in each player (all links go to MLBTR posts)...
- Scott Baker, Twins -- Baker, 30, had elbow surgery in April and will miss the entire season. Minnesota will likely decline his $9.25MM option for 2013 (no buyout).
- Phil Hughes, Yankees -- The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 4.10 ERA in 131 2/3 innings this year, including a 3.40 ERA since mid-May. He's a safe bet to be tendered a contract for 2014, his final year as a arbitration-eligible player.
- Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- Jurrjens, 26, pitched so poorly earlier in the season that he had to be sent to the minors. He's since resurfaced and owns 6.89 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, cementing his status as a non-tender candidate.
- Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- Lind has battled back problems and also been demoted to Triple-A this season, and he's hit .227/.298/.394 while with the big league team. The 29-year-old continues to disappoint since signing his four-year, $18MM extension prior to 2010.
- Francisco Liriano, White Sox -- It's been another up and down season for the 28-year-old southpaw, who owns a 5.03 ERA in 111 innings. The Twins traded Liriano to the ChiSox at the deadline.
- James Loney, Dodgers -- Loney, now 28, hasn't helped himself at all this season, hitting just .251/.301/.330 in 327 plate appearances. He might have to settle for a minor league contract this coming offseason.
- Kendrys Morales, Angels -- The 29-year-old is hitting .282/.327/.455 with 14 homers on the year, well below the level he established prior to his leg injury in 2010. Morales figures to be both a trade and non-tender candidate after the season.
- Mike Pelfrey, Mets -- Pelfrey pitched to a 2.29 ERA in three starts before needing Tommy John surgery. The Mets are expected to non-tender the 28-year-old after the season.
- Geovany Soto, Rangers -- The 29-year-old backstop has continued to deal with injuries in 2012 and is hitting just .201/.289/.356. Soto is an obvious non-tender candidate.
- Kevin Youkilis, White Sox -- Youkilis lost his starting job with the Red Sox and was traded to the White Sox, who are likely to decline his $13MM option after the season. The 33-year-old has dealt with nagging injuries and is hitting .238/.339/.427 overall.
- Delmon Young, Tigers -- Young, 26, has had a below-average season at the plate (.266/.298/.402) and has dealt with some off-field problems. He hasn't helped his free agent stock any.
The Angels continue to seek relief help, even as they pursue high-end rotation upgrades, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. They have talked to the Nationals about bullpen help and could have interest in Royals closer Jonathan Broxton, Knobler adds. Here’s the latest on the Angels, who now have a 50-41 record:
- The Angels are willing to offer Peter Bourjos for the right reliever and they're suggesting to teams that they would also deal Kendrys Morales, according to Knobler. Starter Garrett Richards could be available in a deal for a top starter such as Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels or Francisco Liriano.
- Adam Katz of WMG now represents Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports (on Twitter). Agent Bean Stringfellow had represented Santana in the past. Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Agency Database for any information about player representatives.
- Torii Hunter told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that there hasn’t been any progress toward a contract extension that would keep him in Anaheim beyond this year. The 37-year-old would like to remain with the Angels, though he would consider other clubs if Los Angeles doesn’t have interest in bringing him back. “If my time is up here, then you think about Minnesota, think about Texas,” Hunter said. “The Angels are No. 1 for me.”