Kendrys Morales remains available on the open market, largely due to the added cost of draft pick compensation, but it would appear as though there is some mutual interest between him and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates unsurprisingly would only want to bring Morales in on their terms, given the numerous options they could explore via trade instead.
Coming off a season in which he hit .277/.336/.449 over 657 plate appearances, Morales earned just $5.25 Million in his lone season in Seattle. The Mariners still made Morales a qualifying offer following the year. He declined, passing up $14.1 Million to test the free agent market despite being tied to the loss of a draft pick. Early reports suggested that Morales was looking for something in the neighborhood of $10-12 Million a year over multiple years, but those demands have presumably had to have come down at this point. Teams have already begun reporting to Spring Training. Morales can wait, but options will further diminish as time moves by. At this point he’s likely facing a one year deal, (maybe one year with an option, given the fact that he’s still just 30 years old) but it’s difficult to predict where that could be.
Should Morales wait until after the draft in early June he’d be free to sign with any team without that added compensation factored in.
Pittsburgh will report to camp with Gaby Sanchez penciled in as their primary first baseman. He’s batted just .250/.350/.400 in 450 PA since joining the Pirates at the trade deadline in July 2012. With just 7 HR and 18 doubles in that stretch, the team’s power production at a typical power position has been completely void. Their best internal option for power at the position could have likely been Garret Jones – whom they non-tendered in December and who has subsequently signed with the Miami Marlins.
The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo points to Ike Davis, Adam Lind, Mitch Moreland, Justin Smoak, Daniel Nava, and Mike Carp as options that Pittsburgh could look at acquiring as alternatives. Most of them have been linked to the Pirates in one place or another over the course of the winter, though there hasn’t been much written about Lind and Moreland being in the mix. The team could always stand pat, as well, provided either Chris McGuiness or Travis Ishikawa play well at the position in Spring Training.