The Major League Baseball amateur draft is just hours away, and once it commences, free agent Kendrys Morales will no longer be burdened by the weight of draft pick compensation. While fellow draft-pick free agent Stephen Drew returned to the Red Sox recently, Morales elected to remain on the market and become the first free agent under the current CBA to wait beyond the draft to shed his associated compensation. He may not be waiting long, however, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Morales is likely to find a new home within the next day or two.
The Yankees have been connected to Morales of late, but Heyman reports that the team asked agent Scott Boras and Morales to wait on signing as they evaluate the health of injury-plagued switch hitters Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira. Morales isn’t inclined to play that waiting game, however, which makes other clubs more likely to end up with Morales.
Heyman lists the Brewers and Mariners as more likely destinations than the Yankees, noting that another team or two is in the mix at this time. The Rangers have indeed shown interest, he adds, but they aren’t as likely to sign Morales as Milwaukee, Seattle or the alleged “mystery team”(s). Morales has generated some interest on two-year deals, according to Heyman, but he may prefer a one-year deal to hit unencumbered free agency next winter.
Of course, many other reports have indicated that the Mariners simply don’t have the financial flexibility to add Morales after the large amounts they spent this offseason. The Orioles were said to have interest at one point, but executive VP Dan Duquette essentially closed those doors in an on-record interview with ESPN’s Buster Olney. Heyman also reported recently that the Royals could join the Morales bidding, though they’d likely need to clear some payroll first in order to make that happen.