THURSDAY: The Orioles, who have claimed both Josh Willingham and Mike Morse this week, may also have been the team that claimed Morales, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. However, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports pointed out this morning, Morales was not traded within 48 hours of his claim, meaning the Mariners pulled him back. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik will now have to decide whether or not to extend a qualifying offer to Morales following the season.
MONDAY: An unknown team has claimed Kendrys Morales off revocable trade waivers from the Mariners, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). It has yet to be reported when Morales was claimed or by whom, but the Mariners and the claiming team would have two days to work out a deal.
Morales, 30, is batting .284/.340/.449 with 17 homers in his first season with Seattle. The Mariners acquired him from the Angels straight up for Jason Vargas in a rare intra-division trade this offseason. The Cuban switch-hitter is earning $5.25MM this season, meaning he's owed roughly $1MM for the remainder of the 2013 campaign.
Morales will be a free agent for the first time this offseason, so the Mariners do have the option of hanging onto him and making a qualifying offer of roughly $14MM following the season. Were he to decline such an offer, the Mariners would gain a compensatory pick in the 2014 draft (a new team would not be allowed to do so, per the new CBA). However, as Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and the U.S.S. Mariner wrote last night, extending a qualifying offer to Morales doesn't look as wise at it did two months ago, as he's regressed significantly since early June.
Several teams have been looking to acquire offense, including the Orioles, Indians, Yankees and Rangers. It seems likely that an American League team placed the claim on Morales, as every team in the AL would have a crack at him prior to the NL (in reverse order of standings), and he's only played first base 27 times this season (as opposed to 96 games at DH).