It has been an interesting offseason for baseball free agents. Certain stars like Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka received generous contracts. Other players misjudged the market, and ended up signing one-year deals. These include Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz.
This leads us to Kendrys Morales, who is still without a job. Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners could certainly benefit from his offensive production. A perfect match, right? No one has to lose a draft pick, and there are probably still some Morales jersey in the equipment closet at Safeco Field.
So what’s the problem? Why isn’t this done? Simple. It’s all about the dollar amounts.
GM Jack Zduriencik was recently quoted as saying:
It strictly has to do with where they’re at (in negotiations) and where we’re at.
For those of you that don’t speak GM rhetoric, let me translate for you. The Mariners want Morales at a bargain price. Morales and his agent Scott Boras want to save a little face.
At this point, you could probably put Morales on the list of players that misjudged the market. Morales turned down the one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Mariners. Why? Because he thought he could get a multi-year offer from another team. If those offers have occurred, they must not be enough for Morales.
Nelson Cruz signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles after it was rumored that the Mariners offered Cruz a five-year, $75 million deal in December. That rumor may not be true, but if it is, both parties look very foolish right now.
Does Morales come meagerly back to the Mariners and accept a similar one-year deal for less than the $14.1 million that he was originally offered? If no one else offers him a contract, he may have to. That pesky draft pick compensation may deter other teams at this juncture, particularly if they also are offering one-year deals.
Both sides are apparently holding fast. Morales and Boras will hope that the Mariners get desperate for some extra offense. Or, Morales will just hope that someone in the league gets hurt, which will make him suddenly more desirable.
Meanwhile, the Mariners will bank on Morales getting nervous about being unemployed. At this point, the advantage may be with the Mariners side of the negotiating table.
Time is running out as the start of the season approaches. Teams are trimming rosters and it is getting a little late to make additions. If this deal is going to get done, someone will need to blink…and soon.