Kendrys Morales And A Timeline

Jeff Sullivan · October 8, 2013 at 3:27 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

We’ve already heard that the Mariners intend to extend to Kendrys Morales a qualifying offer, worth a year and around $14 million. The idea is simple: the Mariners want Morales back, and it helps them to drive down his market. They want to try to sign Morales to a multi-year deal, and this will make other teams less likely to do that, and if Morales does sign elsewhere, the Mariners get a compensation pick. It’s highly questionable whether Morales really is a $14-million player, but just as important is how Morales sees himself, and indeed we have word:

Morales will turn down the qualifying offer, as he’d expect to hit it much bigger in a market flush with cash but bereft of power[...]

So the Mariners will offer Morales a year and ~$13.8 million, and Morales will reject it. The Mariners will no longer be held to that $13.8-million figure; if Morales doesn’t find what he wants in the market, the Mariners could conceivably re-sign him for less. I don’t love Kendrys Morales, because I don’t think he’s the upper-tier slugger the Mariners seem to consider him, but with all this in mind I want to show you a timeline. Courtesy of Rotoworld, here is Adam LaRoche’s 2012-2013 offseason:

November 2: Nationals extend $13.3-million qualifying offer

November 4: Nationals reportedly reluctant to offer LaRoche more than two years to re-sign

November 5: LaRoche, Nationals not close to deal

November 7: Red Sox, Rangers in LaRoche pursuit

November 9: LaRoche declines qualifying offer

November 29: “nothing hot” between LaRoche and Nationals

December 1: LaRoche, Nationals still at odds over contract length

December 3: Orioles in hard on LaRoche

December 3: Nationals say no developments in LaRoche talks

December 4: report that LaRoche would take two years from Nationals with vesting third year

December 6: said that no team will offer LaRoche more than two years

December 12: indications LaRoche will sign before Christmas

December 14: Nationals said to have not upped $25-million, 2-year offer

December 17: LaRoche talks with Nationals reach stalemate

December 17: LaRoche said to be willing to take free agency deep into winter

December 22: LaRoche, Nationals make progress

December 27: Red Sox reportedly after LaRoche

December 28: Nationals and LaRoche still disagree over contract length

January 8: Nationals re-sign LaRoche for two years, $24 million

Adam LaRoche wanted a big contract, and he was coming off a big season. The Nationals made a two-year offer, LaRoche didn’t like it, LaRoche explored the market, and eventually LaRoche took that same two-year offer. The Nationals did well to hold firm, and though they wound up with a bit of a roster crunch, they were able to unload Michael Morse for young talent, so that solved that. Teams liked LaRoche, surely, because there was no denying that he looked like a pretty good first baseman, but teams value draft picks highly. Maybe the highest they ever have. That did enough to LaRoche’s market to leave the Nationals with a lot of the leverage.

I don’t know how it’s going to play out with Morales, because Morales is younger than LaRoche and seems to have a better reputation. On the other hand, Morales’ contract season was worse, and he doesn’t look like he can be a regular first baseman. There’s the distinct possibility this qualifying offer is going to reduce Morales’ market to the point where it makes some sense for the Mariners to bring him back. And if another team out there is still willing to give him three years or big money, then the Mariners can back away and take the pick. Or, they should. They shouldn’t go to three years. They shouldn’t go to big money. Morales would project as a fairly minor inefficiency, but inefficiencies are inefficiencies and they’re matters of millions of dollars. There’s no need to splurge on a Kendrys Morales.

Out of this, there are three potential outcomes:

(1) Mariners keep Morales on reasonable deal
(2) Mariners keep Morales on unreasonable deal
(3) Mariners get a compensation pick

Two of those three outcomes are good. I like those odds!

Comments

31 Responses to “Kendrys Morales And A Timeline”

  1. mark s on October 8th, 2013 3:34 pm

    My question is what other teams have a need for Morales, either as a DH or at 1B, and have the money to sign him?

  2. G-Man on October 8th, 2013 3:35 pm

    So does Morales have just a week or two to decide whether to take the offer?

    Im fine with the Q offer because no way Boras will let him take it. Given that he turns it down, I would not go more then 8-9 mil for 1 year or 15 for 2. There should be a greater fool out there, though; Boras always finds them.

  3. RITTEM1 on October 8th, 2013 4:20 pm

    So many exciting ways we can screw this whole thing up. Boras is going to have Zduriencik for lunch

  4. jorax on October 8th, 2013 4:24 pm

    Seems like declining is a safe thing for Morales to do, all things considered. He gets to explore free agency and hope to get a better/longer contract. If that doesn’t pan out he can come back and negotiate with the Mariner’s for a similar AAV as the qualifying offer for 2 or 3 years.

    Basically, my money is on the LaRoche chain of events being the blueprint for how Morales’s winter goes – with him ending up on the M’s. I just can’t see other teams wanting him bad enough to pay him more (or for longer) and give up a draft pick. Let’s hope he only gets a 1 or 2 year contract once all is said and done…

  5. killeverything on October 8th, 2013 4:26 pm

    The 2 out of 3 odds are good, but if there’s anything Zuerednick has shown us is expect the worst possible.

  6. Xteve X on October 8th, 2013 4:37 pm

    December 3′s headline is giggity-worthy.

  7. Snuffy on October 8th, 2013 4:56 pm

    And LaRoche was/is a very good defensive player. Kendrys is an injury risk when on defense and can’t run a lick. Great news for Seattle!

  8. stevemotivateir on October 8th, 2013 5:03 pm

    @Mark

    The Yankees and Indians are the only two I can think of that might actually take a little interest. If I’m missing something obvious, someone feel free to bring it to my attention.

    Hard to see either of those teams willing to cough up draft picks and shell out for a multi-year deal, though.

  9. G-Man on October 8th, 2013 5:17 pm

    “There’s the distinct possibility this qualifying offer is going to reduce Morales’ market to the point where it makes some sense for the Mariners to bring him back.”

    So let’s understand that the Q offer should reduce his value to the M’s by the same amount, since signing him will deprive them of the pick they would have gotten from someone else.

  10. Paul B on October 8th, 2013 5:22 pm

    Don’t the Orioles need a DH?

    That Morse guy didn’t work so well.

    I hope the Mariners do not sign Morales because I really think Raul will be back.

  11. MKT on October 8th, 2013 5:32 pm

    I am pessimistic about Z and the Mariners and I think they are sufficiently dunderheaded that they will do both: sign both Raul and Morales, and both of them to multi-year contracts to boot. Ineffably stupid, but I fear that’s what the Mariners will do.

    The good part of feeling like this is that there is nowhere to go but up, and to be pleasantly surprised if the Mariners sign only one of those players to a stupid contract.

  12. Longgeorge1 on October 8th, 2013 6:19 pm

    If the M’s sign both Morales and Raul I will not go any further north than Cheney ( from Oly ) to watch a ball game. If they sign Raul multi-year I’m buying some A’s gear.

  13. stevemotivateir on October 8th, 2013 6:27 pm

    @Paul

    The Orioles don’t seem to be desperate for a DH. They seemed content with Valencia and a rotation of the other position players. I suppose that could change, but it’s hard to picture them sacrificing $$ and a draft pick.

  14. PackBob on October 8th, 2013 7:28 pm

    I think that’s Heyman’s opinion regarding Morales’ intentions, but it seems likely the way it will go.

    That Morales couldn’t play long at first base without causing problems, being the least physically demanding field position, makes him an injury risk even at DH. One awkward swing, running too fast (oxymoronic?), a sleeping injury, and he could be down.

    The only thing that Morales provides is a slightly above average offense that seems great after the black hole the DH has been for the Mariners. His base running negates that, but emotionally it’s so refreshing to see someone who can actually hit at the DH.

    Morales is meh for me. Bad if it’s the best the Mariners do this off-season, okay if they add some better pieces along with.

  15. Westside guy on October 8th, 2013 7:31 pm

    I will believe Morales will reject the qualifying offer when I read that he’s actually done it. Until then, it’s all posturing.

    This story could be Boras’ way of ensuring Morales GETS the offer. Boras isn’t dumb… he knows the market as well as anyone. He may very well know $14 million is significantly more than Kendrys will get elsewhere.

  16. Badbadger on October 8th, 2013 9:12 pm

    I don’t mind if the M’s wind up with Morales on a 2/18 or maybe 2/20 deal. He’s not a super bat, but he’s solid and the M’s need a lot of solid players.

  17. terryoftacoma on October 8th, 2013 10:21 pm

    This probably came from Boras.

    There are ten teams(9 minus the M’s) that would only lose a second round choice if they signed Morales which isn’t quite so bad.

    5 days after the WS ends we’ll know for sure whether he accepts a QO or not.

  18. Eastside Crank on October 8th, 2013 10:34 pm

    I could not see giving Morales more than 12 million over 2 years. There is no way they should make the qualifying offer. A DH who cannot run needs to be able to hit with more power to be useful. Morales will not get any big offers, at this point the Mariners are bidding against themselves.

  19. scraps on October 9th, 2013 12:39 am

    I could not see giving Morales more than 12 million over 2 years. But I can see the Mariners giving Morales more than 12 million over 2 years.

  20. scraps on October 9th, 2013 12:45 am

    Two of those three outcomes are good. I like those odds!

    If only those three outcomes were weighted the same!

  21. maqman on October 9th, 2013 3:00 am

    I hope they do keep him, one less hole to fill and the price of free agents has gone up. It seems many have not noticed. Pence 5/$90MM is a clue.

  22. casey on October 9th, 2013 7:36 am

    I am also in the camp to keep him – the alternatives just don’t seem to be very good. In house there is Raul (or a some kind of Raul platoon), or Montero or maybe the weak armed Ackley tries dh. Outside its guys like Napoli (who is pretty comparable but is 32), or old man Beltran or PED guy Cruz all of whom will cost a combination of years and multi-millions. To me Morales looks like the best of the bunch and can play an okay first base for 40 games a year.

    I also don’t mind the free draft pick if he goes elsewhere so M’s are making the right move.

  23. milquetoast on October 9th, 2013 10:38 am

    The Nationals did well to hold firm, and though they wound up with a bit of a roster crunch, they were able to unload Michael Morse for young talent, so that solved that.

    But the Mariners can’t trade with themselves!

  24. bluemoonking on October 9th, 2013 12:03 pm

    Can’t we have a fourth option?

    Get rid Smoak, don’t sign Morales and sign the kid from Cuba, Abreau? And then Tanaka?
    Oh, right, the Mariners got the missing piece in Travis Witherspoon…

  25. casey on October 9th, 2013 12:42 pm

    the projections I have seen on Abreu are .240/.250 with 20 homers (Cespedes light). Having trouble remembering Smoak’s final numbers but 5 year contract with multi-millions – sounds like a lot to pay to move the deck chairs on the titanic – again.

    Now Tanaka – I’m all in on that one although will be expensive and very competitive with the big boys like LA and NY.

  26. Henry Jasen on October 9th, 2013 12:58 pm

    Don’t you have to think that Morales’ camp thinks he can get a better deal somewhere else than with the M’s? He projects at 1.5 WAR which should be worthless than $8 million per year and you have to figure some decline in the coming years.
    I don’t want to see both Ibanez and Morales back next year. One of them will be plenty. I would like to see the M’s take a run at Granderson even if they have to over pay. He fills an outfield slot competently and replaces some of the power of I & M. I would like to see them trade Saunders for someone like Lucas Duda who could probably provide similar offense at DH/1B at a fraction of the cost of Morales.

  27. NorahW on October 9th, 2013 2:21 pm

    I really hope that we don’t sign both Kendrys and Raul. We still have Montero too–I’m assuming they’re not going to cut him loose? So 3 DH’s again, unless Montero can learn to play first and they let Smoak go or include him in a trade somewhere.

  28. smb on October 9th, 2013 2:27 pm

    “Don’t you have to think that Morales’ camp thinks he can get a better deal somewhere else than with the M’s? He projects at 1.5 WAR which should be worthless than $8 million per year and you have to figure some decline in the coming years.”

    Probably, but even if not, do they think they can extort the Mariners, because Morales is one of the only reliably above replacement-level hitters on the team? I’d love to see them try…high comedy.

    Boras says, “We’re not signing unless you add $3 mil a year to all six years. You need him and we both know it. You’ll be beyond abysmal without him, and you were abysmal this year even with his valuable contributions.”

    M’s counter, “You have vastly overestimated the importance we put on the talent level of our players.”

  29. scraps on October 9th, 2013 3:53 pm

    It seems many have not noticed. Pence 5/$90MM is a clue.

    Every once in a while, some team gives money that almost everybody agrees is a overpay, not eventually but right now. Pence is not a clue, unless several teams jump on.

    Most teams are savvy now. Of course, if you mean to argue that the Mariners aren’t, and Pence 5/$90MM is a clue where the Mariners are looking, I can’t argue with that.

  30. Eastside Crank on October 9th, 2013 5:04 pm

    What evidence does anyone have that the Mariners have to vastly overpay free agents? Players afraid of the unfriendly confines of Safeco will not sign with the Mariners period. If they overpay Morales, how much does that make their own players worth when it comes time to sign them to new contracts? Morales will not get a big payday to DH for another team, it does not make sense for a bad team and even less sense for a good one.

  31. scraps on October 9th, 2013 7:18 pm

    If they pay what Morales thinks he’s worth, that will be evidence. I hope I’m wrong.

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