Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a radio interview with ESPN Seattle Tuesday morning that designated hitter and impending free agent Kendrys Morales will "definitely" get a qualifying offer from the club this winter, reports Greg Johns of MLB.com.
A qualifying offer is a one-year deal extended to selected free agents based on the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball, which this year is expected to come in at roughly $14 million.
The purpose of the offer is for teams to have an opportunity to receive draft compensation should a big-name player choose to leave the club in free agency. Should Morales reject the Mariners' offer, Seattle would receive a first-round supplemental pick in the 2014 draft. In addition, the team that does sign him would lose its top pick (unless it's one of the 10 protected slots).
Acquired from the Angels in a one-for-one swap last winter, Morales played well for the Mariners this season. The switch-hitting slugger hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 home runs in 156 games for the M's, turning in the second-best OPS+ for a full-time DH. That is a short list, but it's still not bad for a guy playing half his games in Safeco Field.
The 30-year-old Morales earned $5.25 million this season in his final year of arbitration, so a qualifying offer would come close to tripling his biggest salary. That may potentially spell trouble for Morales, as his value is essentially limited to his production at the plate.