Kendrys Morales probably hasn't wandered too far away from his phone in a while.
In November, things might've seemed like they were about to get pretty fantastic for the 30-yaer-old switch hitter. But now it's the middle of February, and his visions of lucrative multiyear deal are fading. When he turned down the Mariners' qualifying offer, Morales might not have considered that the one-year, $14 million deal would be -- by far -- his best option. However, as the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reports, Morales might just be headed back to the Mariners.
But this time, he might not be looking at a $14 million offer.
Despite being linked to Morales in rumors, the Pirates aren't willing to part with a draft pick for the career .280/.333/.480 hitter. Baltimore is willing to forfeit a pick for the right free agent, but according to Cafardo, general manager Dan Duquette hasn't been able to get the financial green light from ownership.
Morales is a good hitter, but the if the market has revealed anything this winter, it's that teams aren't willing to give up draft picks to sign good players. He isn't the only guy wasting away on the open market, but Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Stephen Drew all appear more likely to net new deals because they aren't as one dimensional as Morales.
As a designated hitter -- what he's been most of his career -- Morales offers teams significantly less than his fellow free agents. If he's willing to accept a lower annual salary, he might be able to convince the M's that they still need him, but he isn't likely to secure a long-term deal -- from anyone.
Morales' other option would be to sit out a third of the season. If he waits until after the June draft to sign, he'll no longer cost teams a draft pick, and he'd likely sign a prorated deal. That could be a huge pivot point for the player's union when it comes to their stance on the framework of the qualifying offer. They would be all but forced to take action.