The Pittsburgh Pirates and free agent first baseman Kendrys Morales share a mutual interest, though the club may choose to instead acquire a first baseman via trade, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
With dreams of an NL Central division title, the Pirates are currently ready to enter spring training with no definitive answer at first base. Gaby Sanchez appears the favorite to start if nothing else changes. He also began 2013 as the starter, though the Pirates felt the need to trade for Justin Morneau as an upgrade later in the season.
Meanwhile, Morales continues to sit on the market while seemingly accumulating little interest. He turned down a qualifying offer from the Mariners, meaning any other team that signs him would be required to forfeit a draft pick. The Mariners had been rumored to have some interest in bringing him back but a rumored impending deal with Nelson Cruz would likely end any hopes of a return to Seattle for Morales.
The Pirates reportedly would like to sign Morales, but only at the right price. That price would likely be lower than Morales would like due in part to the draft compensation. If he does not agree to a contract the Pirates are comfortable with, the team could look at players available in trade such as Adam Lind, Mitch Moreland and Ike Davis.
There is a possibility Morales could wait until after the June draft to sign. Under baseball rules, the signing team would no longer be required to give up a pick after that point. He hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 home runs for the Mariners in 2013.