Are The Mariners Really Still Interested In Kendrys Morales?

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Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

For a long time after the Robinson Cano deal there was a feeling in Seattle that the tide had turned for the Mariners, we were waiting for the other shoe to drop and introduce yet another big name player to the North West. Rumors of David Price and Shin-Soo Choo were abundant. The Mariners have been pretty active, they signed some free agents and brought in some new outfielders without digging deep into their prospects. By all accounts, the Mariners still have some work to do. The consensus is that we still need one more outfielder, another starting pitcher would be a huge asset, and the M’s continue to get rumored with closers.

Nelson Cruz is still waiting for his $75MM payday (don’t hold your breath). So who’s left in free agency that the Mariners can close on? According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Mariners are still chasing Kendrys Morales.

Kendrys Morales declined a $14MM qualifying offer from the Mariners earlier this off-season. At the time it was generally assumed that he was looking for a more long-term deal that would see him stay somewhere for more than one season. The market seems to have thinned out on Morales, and the blogs seem to think it could still be quite a while until we see Morales sign anywhere.

That being said, I would be surprised if the Mariners have completely stopped talking to Morales. He was one of the better hitters in Seattle last season, and he certainly can be an asset as a DH. At the very least we know he can hit at Safeco.

Strictly as a hitter, Morales brings as much to the table as the 75-Million-Dollar-Man (Nelson Cruz). One of these guys is Morales, the other Cruz:

2013 Avg OBP SLG wRC+ WAR
Player 1 .266 .327 .506 122 1.5
Player 2 .277 .336 .449 116 1.2

Anyone who thinks that spending all of that money on Nelson Cruz is going to generate more runs than last year might want to have a serious look at that chart.

Kendrys is going to get a deal. He’s too good not to. After last season in Seattle he at least proved he has a little bit left in the tank. The fact that the Mariners even extended him an offer means there is at least a little bit of interest in him.  Even though the market is soft on Morales right now, there are still two teams reported to be after him. The Baltimore Orioles are considered the front runner on him, and supposedly the other team is the Mariners.

It seems really far fetched to imagine that the Mariners are still interested, but here’s why it might make sense (at least a little bit).