What to do?
The Seattle Mariners have publicly committed to making a qualifying offer to DH/backup 1B Kendrys Morales this offseason. For his part, Kendrys has publicly stated that he will reject that offer and instead take his skills to the open market that is Major League Baseball‘s free agency.
For those of you who don’t know exactly what that means allow me to break it down a bit for you.
A “qualifying offer” is simply this- An average of the top 125 major league player’s salaries for the previous year.
That number this year is $13.8 million for one season. That means the Mariner’s have offered Morales a 1 year deal for $13.8 million.
So why is that important?
By at least making the offer the Seattle Mariners guarantee themselves a “compensatory draft choice” if Morales winds up signing somewhere other than Seattle. A compensatory draft choice is a draft pick in the June draft that comes after the first round, but before the second round. Sometimes these are called “sandwich picks”.
They are in addition to any regular first round pick the Mariners are scheduled to receive.
As I said earlier, Kendrys has already publicly stated he will reject the Mariner’s 1 year offer of $13.8 million and instead hit the open market. That’s not surprising considering Kendrys Morales is represented by the infamous Scott Boras.
So now what do the Mariners do?
Well, there are a couple of options. You can either fight for Morales, or in other words, up your offer and hope to get him to sign that deal or you can let him go and take your draft pick in June.
If you are the Mariner’s GM, Jack Zduriencik and you want to keep Kendrys you are going to have to cough up a bit more cash it would seem. Morales didn’t hire Boras to get a 1 year deal. That should be obvious to everyone.
Morales is not going to be much more than what you saw last year Mariners fans. Yes, he was the M’s leading bat with a .277 average.
Yes, he batted in the middle part of the lineup pretty much all year but let’s be honest here.
Morales does not bat 3rd or 4th in most major league lineups. He’s a career .280 hitter and he plays average defense at first base.
He’s better off as a DH than on the field
Is Jack Z really going to cough up the 4 or 5 year deal for $15 million a season that the Boras is likely seeking for his client? If the M’s do commit that kind of money, I’d say that’s a bad return on your dollars given what Kendrys brings to the table as a player.
Having said all that can Boras get that kind of money for Kendrys from any other team? In just about any other year I’d say no to that question but this offseason is really devoid of any big name bats hitting free agency which will drive prices up for the few players that are available.
The other factor that must be considered is how much to the Mariners value that extra draft pick they get if Morales signs elsewhere.
Zduriencik has shown in the past that he highly covets draft picks. He passed on Michael Bourn at $12 million per season over 4 years.
The numbers to keep Morales are very much the same.
By passing on Bourn, Jack Z was able to keep pick number 12 in the first round of the draft which Zduriencik did not want to part with. Incidentally, that pick lead to the selection of DJ Peterson a third baseman who wound up being hurt much of the year down in the minors.
Could pick #31 in the draft this year be of similar value to Jack and the rest of the Seattle brass?
I say yes.
Watch for Kendrys to sign elsewhere at the M’s to do what they always do, take their draft pick and bury it in the ground like squirrel stocking up for the winter.