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Teams in need of some pop have a free-agent first baseman/designated hitter to turn to, but he may not be available until June.
According to CBS Sports, Kendrys Morales is likely to wait until after the Major League Baseball draft to sign on with a team. Some teams have maintained contact with Morales over the past few weeks, and a pre-draft signing remains possible, but interested teams may elect to wait in order to avoid losing a first-round pick.
Morales, 30, hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI last season with the Seattle Mariners. The Baltimore Orioles, who have reportedly been in contact with the slugger, as well the Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland Athletics have been mentioned as the most likely landing spots.
Baltimore is believed “to have engaged in serious talks” with Morales, per the report, and have made a number of top free-agent signings this offseason in order to remain in contention. The team is believed to have had its eye on Morales since the start of the season, and they could bring him in to replace Delmon Young, who is cooling off after a very hot start.
Per Jon Heyman:
They clearly have some money stocked away, and they are going for it. The Orioles have lost their first- and second-round picks, so they only stand to lose a third-rounder if they sign Morales now.
Morales’ former club, the Mariners, loved his clubhouse presence but were unable to come to terms with him on a deal up to this point. The team has struggled in OPS (ranked second to last in the American League with a .632 mark) and is tied for the second fewest runs (71). The team also needs another slugger to take some heat off of free-agent signee Robinson Cano.
The Mariners may start to get the idea that there may not be a compensatory draft choice forthcoming for Morales, which could potentially serve as a possible inducement to re-sign him, especially if their offense continues to struggle.
Milwaukee owner Matt Attanasio has a strong track record of signing Scott Boras clients, just look at Kyle Lohse and Francisco Rodriguez. Perhaps Morales could soon be added to that list. The Brewers do not want to surrender their first-round pick, meaning a post-draft signing is the main option for the club. Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay are currently in a timeshare at first base, but the team are hitting a combined .203 so far this season.
The A’s are off to a 13-8 start and currently stand second in the American League. But according to Heyman, it’s hard to count general manager Billy Beane out of making an “unpredictable move.” Heyman adds there may be some concerns about Josh Reddick, who’s batting .210 with four RBI. Oakland is the long shot and the dark horse in the Morales race.
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