The decision to extend a qualifying offer to Morales was met with surprise when it was first reported last month, but the report that Morales would decline the offer was questioned even more. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes predicted that Morales would end up back with the Mariners on a two-year, $28MM contract in his free agent profile of the Cuban-born slugger last month.
Morales, 30, batted .277/.336/.449 with 23 homers for the Mariners this season — numbers that were a near-mirror image of his .273/.320/.467 batting line and 22 homers for the Angels in 2012.
Should Morales reject the $14.1MM offer and sign elsewhere, the Mariners would receive a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round. However, as a good but not elite bat who is primarily limited to designated hitter, I feel that the qualifying offer is particularly damaging to Morales. He and agent Scott Boras have a week to make an official decision on the offer.