In the search for offensive help, the Seattle Mariners decided to bring back someone, who has actually had some hitting success at Safeco Field.
On Thursday afternoon, the team re-acquired designated hitter Kendrys Morales in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, sending minor league reliever Stephen Pryor in exchange.
“It was an opportunity to bring Kendrys back,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “We had a dialogue over the winter and it just didn’t work. We are in a position to where We wanted to add a bat, I don’t think that’s a secret.”
Morales is expected to join the Mariners on Friday.
After sitting out the first 2 1/2 months of the season as a hold-out, Morales signed a 1-year, $7 million free agent contract with the Twins. In 39 games, he was hitting .234 with 11 doubles, a homer and 18 RBI. He has posted just .584 slugging percentage. The weak numbers are mildly expected because of Morales’ truncated season and lack of spring training.
Over his last 13 games, he does have 14 hits, including six doubles.
“I don’t think there’s any question,” Zduriencik said of the lack of spring training. “I thought it was interesting that he went right to the big leagues but that might have been part of the negotiations. But never the less if you look at where he’s at right now, we all know what Kendrys is and we know his career as a hitter. Now he’s in a pennant race and now he has technically spring training under his belt, unfortunately he as to do it at the major league level. We all feel that Kendrys will hit his stride and be the Kendrys Morales we all know.”
Reports from Minnesota have said the Twins won’t eat any money on the deal, meaning the Mariners will pay the pro-rated remainder of the contract, just over $4 million. It’s a lot of money, but with Corey Hart likely not hitting any of his performances bonuses, there is some additional dollars available
Last season Morales was one of the team’s best hitter, batting .277 with 34 doubles, 23 homers and 80 RBI. The Mariners tried to keep him in the organization, first offering a three-year, $30 million contract extension and then later exercising the 1-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer, which he and his agent Scott Boras both turned down.
Pryor made just one appearance for Seattle this season as temporary fill-in for the bullpen. In 24 games with Class AAA Tacoma, he’s posted a 2-1 record with a 4.65 ERA. He underwent surgery last season to repair a torn right latissmus dorsi muscle. His return to his pre-surgery form has been gradual and incomplete. Pryor’s fastball has sat consistently 92-94 mph this season, no the 96-98 mph before the injury.