The Mariners intend to make Kendrys Morales a qualifying offer

11 Comments

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.

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

David Banks/Getty Images
1 Comment

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.