The Mariners have made it very clear in the last week. They like Kendrys Morales. They like the way he hits. They like the way he fits in the middle of the order. They like his presence in the clubhouse.
And they’d like to keep him in a Seattle uniform after this season.
General manager Jack Zduriencik told the media following the trade deadline on Wednesday, and then later verified it in a radio interview on Sports Radio KJR the following day, that he’s had preliminary talks with Morales and his agent Scott Boras about his future with the team.
It’s why they didn’t trade him despite several inquiries.
"To me, our best option was to keep him here," Zduriencik said in the interview. "We do have the qualifying offer that we are prepared to make. We are also trying to do something with Kendrys as we move forward."
The qualifying offer means that the Mariners have first right to sign Morales to a contract extension. And if he chooses to go elsewhere, they would receive a compensatory draft pick in the first round of next year’s amateur draft.
But the Mariners would rather just keep Morales around instead.
Coming into Saturday’s game, the 30-year-old designated hitter was batting .298 with 26 doubles, 17 homers and 64 RBI. He has a team-high .353 on-base percentage to go with a .488 slugging percentage.
He’s been everything the Mariners wanted when they acquired him in a trade from the Los Angeles Angels in a trade for Jason Vargas.
Lately, he’s been one of the hottest hitters in baseball.
He had back-to-back four hit games on Thursday and Friday, just the second Mariners player to accomplish the feat. And those eight hits came consecutively.
In the first four games of the road trip, Morales had 13 hits in 17 at-bats.
“I’m trying to be aggressive on the first pitch,” Morales said Saturday through bullpen coach and interpreter Jaime Navarro. “If they throw them for strikes, I’m going to go after them. That’s the best thing I’ve been doing. Right now I feel comfortable doing that and it’s working for me.”
In his last 12 games, he’s hitting .449 (22-for-49) with four doubles, three homers and nine RBI.
“He’s been pretty steady all season long,” acting manager Robby Thompson said of Morales. “This is probably the best he’s been. The guy has ice in veins. He’s as even-keeled as a player I’ve ever been around.”
Morales is keeping that same attitude when it comes to his future.
“I haven’t thought about it,” he said. “I’m not worrying about that. I’m worried about finishing strong and after that we’ll talk about it.”
But it’s not to say he’s opposed to the prospect of staying with the organization. He has enjoyed his time with the Mariners
“I feel comfortable here,” he said. “I like what I see. We have a young team and I like it a lot. But that’s something they need to work on, a decision from the office, and I’m not going to worry about it and just keep helping the team.”