Free agent-to-be Kendrys Morales might not be one and done in Seattle. MLB.com’s Greg Johns passed along word that GM Jack Zduriencik said he intends to make the designated hitter a qualifying offer after the World Series.
That offer would give Morales a one-year contract in the $13.5 million-$14 million range should he choose to accept it. Alternatively, he could still take his chances in free agency. However, since the team that signs him would have to forfeit a draft pick, his value would diminish.
The question here is where Jack Z actually thinks Morales is worth that kind of coin or if he’s simply gambling on the draft pick. Morales is represented by Scott Boras, and those two might figure they can get the kind of multiyear deal that would make the sure money worth passing up.
It will be a tough sell. Morales is a steady hitter; in 2012, he hit .273/.320/.467 with 22 homers for the Angels. In 2013, he hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 homers for the Mariners. Still, he’s going to enter 2014 as a 31-year-old five years removed from his only big season in the majors (.924 OPS, 34 HR with the Angels in 2009). He can play some first base, but he has no real defensive value., and he’s far from an asset on the basepaths.
His comparables list at Baseball-reference may not mean much, but it should give his suitors pause. Guys like Reggie Jefferson, Erubiel Durazo, Mike Jacobs and Juan Rivera were essentially done at 31, and no one on his list remained a consistent producer.
Zduriencik will come out a winner here if he makes the offer and Morales leaves anyway, netting the Mariners a draft pick. The alternative is spending close to $14 million on an unexceptional DH when he could probably resign Raul Ibanez to fill the role for 25 percent of that. Given the way that most teams are addressing the DH spot by mixing-and-matching and using cheaper veterans these days, it seems like a bad risk.
Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber will return to the playing field on Saturday, per a report by the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales. The club’s prized left fielder suffered a season-ending injury when he collided with Dexter Fowler back in April, tearing both his ACL and LCL and undergoing intensive knee surgery later that month.
While no nerve damage was discovered during the surgery, the Cubs have kept a close eye on Schwarber during his recovery and put a kibosh on any part-time or full-time role with the team until the spring of 2017. Getting a few reps in during the Arizona Fall League appears to be the last step in the 23-year-old’s rehab process. He will be part of the Mesa Solar Sox’ ‘taxi squad,’ making him eligible for games on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.
Schwarber batted .246/.355/.487 with 16 in 69 games with the Cubs during his debut season in 2015. He will be added to the Mesa Solar Sox roster in advance of their set against the Salt River Rafters on Saturday evening.
The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs NLCS Game 6
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Kyle Hendricks (Cubs) vs. Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
We’re pulling out the big guns for this one. The Cubs took Los Angeles by storm again in Game 5, closing out their road trip with an eight-run spread over the Dodgers, and tonight they’ll try to clinch the NLCS on home turf in Game 6.
Pitching-wise, it’s a rematch of Game 2 with Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA) and Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) on the mound. Kershaw took the first set against the Cubs, going seven scoreless innings with six strikeouts in Game 2 while Hendricks held the Dodgers to a single run over 5 1/3 innings. Adrian Gonzalez was the only Dodger to capitalize on Hendricks’ cutter, going yard in his first at-bat to generate a 1-0 lead.
The Cubs’ biggest strength so far this series has been an electric offense, something the Dodgers have struggled to replicate against left-hander Jon Lester and Joe Maddon’s airtight bullpen. While they’ve already beaten Hendricks at Wrigley Field once this October, they’ll need Kershaw to go the distance in another playoff gem if they intend to keep the Cubs’ championship hopes at bay with a 3.4-run average. Should Kershaw and his crew knot the series again, the tiebreaker will fall to Rich Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.