The Royals will not make a qualifying offer to DH Kendrys Morales, according to reports from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter) and Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Likewise, the team won’t extend the QO to righty Edinson Volquez.
Morales, 33, will return to the free agent market without any draft pick compensation required to sign him. The slugging veteran hit his way into contention for the $17.2MM offer, but will not have to make a tough call whether to accept it after declining his end of a mutual option with the team. Instead, he’ll have a shot at securing another multi-year guarantee without having to take a hit to account for the loss of future value any team would’ve otherwise had to account for. (The QO played a major factor in harming Morales’s free agent case after the 2013 season.)
Morales didn’t end the year with the kind of numbers that he posted in 2015, his first of two campaigns in Kansas City, in which he slashed .290/.362/.485 and swatted 22 long balls. But the switch hitter did manage thirty total long balls and finished the 2016 on a lengthy run. Over his final 404 trips to the plate, Morales slashed a robust .302/.364/.547 and launched 24 round-trippers.
There’s plenty of competition in the DH market, which certainly reduces expectations for Morales’s earning capacity. But he commanded two years and a $17MM guarantee the last time he reached free agency, and has a much stronger platform to work from this time around. That he’s capable of hitting from both sides of the plate certainly helps his cause, though his inability to play much (if at all) in the field will constitute a demerit in the eyes of suitors. It seems quite clear that Morales is headed for an American League club after spending the entirety of his career to date in the AL.
Volquez’s own case was all the more clear, though there were rumblings at one point that K.C. would possibly make him a qualifying offer. The fellow 33-year-old, who also turned down his end of a mutual option, still has plenty of velocity. And remains a reliable innings-eater with reliable groundball results in the 50% range. But Volquez ended the 2016 campaign with a 5.37 ERA and just 6.6 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9, so he’ll likely be valued as a back-of-the-rotation option on the market.