By Todd Dybas The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Out for early batting practice Monday with the Minnesota Twins, former Seattle Mariner Kendrys Morales joked around with some of the Seattle bullpen.
The Mariners tried three times to make Morales a member of this year’s team. Each time, it didn’t work.
Seattle first offered Morales a three-year, $30 million contract last September. When that was declined, they offered the 2014 league-wide one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million, which would tie his free agency to draft pick compensation. As did all of the free agents made qualifying offers last offseason, Morales turned it down.
Morales eventually signed a one-year, pro-rated $12 million contract with Minnesota on June 8, despite the Mariners coming back at him again.
“I knew it was going to be tough to look for another offer, or another job, but in my heart I just didn’t really want to come back here and be in the same spot … I was taking his chances to see if something was better,” Morales said of hitting the open market through interpreter, and Twins bullpen coach, Bobby Cuellar.
When asked why he declined the three-year offer, Morales didn’t get specific.
“There really was a little bit of talk, but there wasn’t really any real discussion,” Morales said.
As for the Mariners’ final push to sign him, Morales said there was a snag.
“They were talking to me, but unfortunately my agent and whatever Seattle was talking about, there was some … misunderstanding in the negotiation,” Morales said.
The switch-hitting Morales had a hot start for Minnesota, but came into Monday with a .216 batting average and one home run in 102 at-bats. He hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI for the Mariners last season.
Seattle is still in search of a right-handed power bat.
Felix Hernandez has recorded 10 consecutive starts where he has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs. The streak is the second-longest by an American League pitcher dating back to 1974 when Gaylord Perry had an 11-start streak for the Indians. Left-handed start James Paxton (strained back muscle) will throw two innings in a simulated game today. … The Mariners came into Monday 10-1 in Monday games. … Mariners catcher John Buck turned 34 Monday.
July 8, 1994: Alex Rodriguez made his Major League debut as the starting shortstop against Boston. Rodriguez was 18 years, 11 months and 11 days old at the time.
Later that night, the Mariners hit into the ninth unassisted triple play in major league history. Shortstop John Valentin turned the play. The batter was Marc Newfield, the baserunners were Mike Blowers and Keith Mitchell.
The Mariners continue a seven-game homestand Tuesday with the second of four games against Minnesota at Safeco Field. The pre-break schedule concludes next weekend with three games against Oakland.
Right-hander Chris Young (8-4 with a 3.11 ERA) will face Minnesota righty Phil Hughes (8-5, 3.95) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Root Sports will carry the game.