Just over a week ago, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said on multiple radio interviews that the team planned to make a qualifying offer to designated hitter and once in a while first baseman Kendrys Morales.
It was the same thing that Zduriencik said around the trade deadline as well, while mentioning they were also trying to sign Morales to a contract extension.
Basically, the Mariners can offer Morales a one-year deal worth $13.8 million. Morales and his agent Scott Boras could either accept that contract or opt out and declare for free agency. But by doing so, any team that signed Morales must forfeit its first round draft pick in the 2014 draft to the Mariners. The deadline to make a qualifying offer is five days after the World Series ends. Morales would have till 12 days until after the World Series to accept or turn down the offer. What will he do?
On Tuesday, CBS sports Jon Heyman reported that Morales will spurn the qualifying offer and opt for free agency. This information likely came directly from Boras. And it shouldn't be surprising since Boras always believes he can find better deals for his clients on the open market.
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The weak free agent class this season that features only - Robinson Cano (exorbitant contract expected), Nelson Cruz (PED baggage), Brian McCann (enforcer of baseball's unwritten rules), Shin Soo-Choo (also a Boras client and looking for $100 million) gives Boras and Morales the sense that he could land a multi-year deal. According to Heyman, that multi-year deal still might come with the Mariners.
Will Morales get more per year on the open market? Probably not. But he may get a three-year deal at say $10 million per year instead?
Of course, this move could backfire on him as well. It's very similar situation to Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, who was coming off a career best year and turned down the Nats' qualifying offer after last season. LaRoche hoped to capitalize on it with a three or four-year contract, but found only to find no real takers on the open market. He eventually signed a two-year $24 million deal with Washington.