Morales' weird 2014 just got weirder, as he's been traded from the Minnesota Twins back to the Mariners for pitcher Stephen Pryor. So ends Morales' oh-so-memorable 39-game stint with the Twins. He hit .234/.259/.325 in Minnesota with one homer and 18 RBIs after signing there on June 8. Twins fans will remember every single swing, obviously.
If you haven't followed the odd Kendrys Morales saga the past nine months:
• He rejected a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Mariners, for whom he played in 2013 and hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs in 2013.
• Morales didn't immediately sign with another team. He was linked to a number of teams, including the Mariners, but a deal didn't get by spring training, nor by season's start.
• Ultimately Morales decided to sit out the first two months of the season. Rejecting Seattle's qualifying offer meant that any team that signed him then owed the Mariners a draft pick. Morales' agent Scott Boras believed that limited Morales' market and had his client wait until after the MLB draft to sign, because then there was no draft-pick penalty.
• The Twins signed him to a one-year, $12 million contract, which was pro-rated down to $7.4 million.
• Now he's back in Seattle, getting a paycheck from the Mariners again. Seattle's portion reportedly works out to $4.33 million.
For the Mariners, that's not a bad deal, money-wise. They're paying him $4 million instead of $14 million. They're in contention for the AL Wild Card, so they're getting Morales when they need him most.
But Seattle is giving up Pryor too, of course — he's a 25-year-old who has pitched in one game this season after a shoulder injury in 2013. He did pitch in 26 games in 2012 and has a career ERA of 2.81 in 32 innings at the big-league level. Yes, it seems odd to trade a player for another player you could have signed as a free agent six weeks ago, but that's MLB in July for you. Everybody's angling to get better.
If Morales flourishes in Seattle, then things may get weird yet again. He'll be a free agent after this season, of course.
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