Now is time for round 2 of the Mariners Offseason Priorities. And it’s all about the big man right here, and what he can do for the team even if he isn’t signed to a new contract or extension.
The Mariners need to extend Kendrys Morales a qualifying offer this offseason.
For those of you unfamiliar, let me quickly explain the qualifying offer system. First, take the 125 top paid players in major league baseball (the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Felix Hernandez, Miguel Cabrera) and find the average per season salary for those 125 players. For last offseason, that number was $13.3 million. This offseason it will increase, potentially close to or at $14 million. Then, you offer a player on your team whose contract is up a one year extension. With a salary that equals the 125 player average. If the player takes the deal, you get that one year “rental” for $14 million, where both you and the player benefit from him having another contract year.
If you suck, you can trade him away midseason and you won’t be worse for wear. And if the player does NOT take that qualifying offer in the offseason, he has a little attachment to him whenever another team tries to sign him. Unless that other team has one of the top-10 draft picks in the MLB first year player draft, they give up their first round pick to the team that offered the qualifier.
Let’s use Kendrys as an example, because I believe the Mariners need to extend him this qualifying offer.
If the Mariners decide to extend the qualifying offer to Kendrys at the end of the season, it is his decision whether to take it or leave it. If he takes, the Mariners are guaranteed solid offensive numbers from the DH position day in and day out. However, it does cost the team $14 million for one season of a guy who was paid around $7 million this season.
If he takes the offer, he would have the 2014 season as a contract year… and we all know in contract years many players really flex their muscles and have their best season. That would be great if he did that for the Mariners. Because after next season the Mariners are poised to be competitive for some time– and an older guy like Kendrys may want to jump on that bandwagon for an extended period of time with the chance to play some meaningful games in September. And if he for some reason has a terrible season, he is basically on loan and the Mariners aren’t committed to him for 3 more seasons and $30+ million dollars.
And if he does not accept the qualifying offer? Some other team in the league will have to give us their first round pick to sign Kendrys. Seeing as he is a Boras client, it will be a matter of when, not if, he will get signed by another team.
Yes, Kendrys would be an asset to this team and a staple offensively if he stayed for an extended period of time. Even over just one more season, I think he could anchor a surprisingly competent 2014 Mariners squad.
But even if he doesn’t come back, draft picks in the first round are good too. Though they don’t guarantee a sure-fire major leaguer, but they offer a small consolation prize for when a player declines a qualifying offer. And, that also means we aren’t overpaying for a guy on the wrong side of 30.
In the end, if the Mariners offered Kendrys a 3 year/$33 million contract, I would be ok with that. Frankly, though, I am pretty darn sure Kendrys won’t sign with us for that amount. And if he rejects that contract we don’t get a first round pick.
Giving Kendrys Morales a qualifying offer is the best for all parties involved this offseason. Whether Kendrys accepts or declines the qualifying offer, the Mariners are getting something in return.
And as we’ve seen in recent off-seasons and recent trades, the Mariners need to start working on getting things in return.