Based on recent reports it sounds like Kendrys Morales has rejected, or will reject the Mariners qualifying offer. For what it’s worth, and before fans start counting draft picks before they materialize, it’s worth pointing out that Morales simply rejecting the offer is technically only half the battle.
Of course, I mean battle in only a figurative sense, and without any intent of disrespecting the various rappers and break dancers we’ve lost in the line of battle.
Kendrys Morales has to sign with another team. Regardless of where Morales signs, the Mariners will get a first round pick (unlike past rules).
Morales doesn’t figure to be a highly-coveted free agent compared to the likes of Robinson Cano and Jacoby Ellsbury. While it may seem intuitive to think that Morales is likely to be a fallback plan for a team that loses out on a more prestigious free agent, it may be more likely that he’s a figurative cherry on top of that free agent. By no means am I saying that Kendrys Morales or anyone else wants to eat fruit off of Brian McCann, for the record.
You see, once a team has already signed a compensation-tied free agent, their penalty for continuing to add talent is lessened each time. They aren’t innately worried about which team gets their picks, but are innately worried about which picks they will lose. The value of a compensation pick is debatable, with probably more emphasis put on that value by fans and pundits than has existed in reality. Regardless of that, it hurts a lot less to lose a second or third rounder – depending on the team – for Morales than it does to lose a first.
Additionally, last year we saw Kyle Lohse wait until nearly April to sign with the Brewers. Michael Bourn had to wait until halfway through February.
There’s a really good chance that Morales won’t sign early. There’s very little chance, however, that he won’t sign at all. We came seemingly close to seeing this with Lohse last year. If Morales waits until after the June draft then he’ll no longer be tied to draft pick compensation. If he does that, however, it would mean that both the market for him is pretty dry and that he’ll have lost out on about a half-year’s worth of salary for the sake of stubbornness. Certainly not a circumstance, or a trait within that circumstance that are likely to lead to future gains.
Today the Mariners entered the uncomfortable dance of draft pick compensation, where they tell one of the main contributors last year that he’s worth much less than he thinks. Last year Adam LaRoche found out that what the Washington Nationals were telling him he was worth was a lot closer to reality than what he thought he was worth. LaRoche ultimately re-signed with the Nationals on a two-year deal worth less than the qualifying offer annually.
The chances of this happening with Boras running Morales’ camp – not only the return, but also a return at below the qualifying offer annually – seem very slim. Some of us liked Kendrys Morales. Some of us thought that Morales was actually under utilized.
Kendrys Morales has probably played his last game as a member of the Seattle Mariners. His contributions aren’t great enough to call his departure bittersweet, though, which leaves only the sweetness of acquiring a draft pick.
Today’s news is good news, but it’s kind of what we expected to happen, if I wasn’t clear.