There is no question the Seattle Mariners had an incredibly disappointing season. After manager Eric Wedge resigned, there is clearly plenty of work to do to get the team back on track. With that being said, what is one of the top offseason moves the organization must make to ensure success in 2014?
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has already made it perfectly clear he intends to make a qualifying offer to first baseman Kendrys Morales. Obviously, it is something the slugger should take into consideration because that means he will make approximately $14 million next season. However, his stellar year that saw him put up the second-best numbers of his career could lead to a long-term deal with another team.
There is always the possibility that he rejects the one-year offer from Seattle and re-signs with the team for a longer contract extension. Considering his agent is Scott Boras, I would definitely expect that to be the more realistic possibility.
Regardless of how the Mariners go about it, there is no doubt in my mind that they must re-sign Morales anyway they can. He was by far the most productive player at the plate for Seattle this season, which means he is a huge piece to the puzzle that cannot be let go. After finishing the season 20 games under .500, the last thing the loyal fan base wants to see is the team’s best offensive threat skip town.
The good news for the Mariners is that it does not appear many teams would be willing to part ways with a top draft pick to sign Morales, especially since his below-average defensive skills are not ideal for a first baseman. Not to mention, even though his numbers were very good they still are not good enough to be considered a full-time designated hitter. For that reason, expect to see the Mariners re-sign Morales at some point this winter.
The 30-year-old batted .277 with 23 home runs, 80 RBI and 34 doubles in a career-high 602 at-bats in 2013.