The Mariners, currently sitting at 53-48, are in a tie for the second American League Wild Card, with both the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. They have wanted to buy at the trade deadline since becoming a surprise contender, something not many expected when the season started. Nonetheless, Seattle is right in the thick of it, and adding a familiar face in town may not be the worst for them.
Morales, 31, signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins on June 8th, becoming the last 2013 qualifying offer player to sign a new deal (via the Mariners, his 2013 team). The deal was for $7.41 million. In a short 39 game stint with Minnesota, the Fomento, Cuba native hit .234/.259/.325 with only one home run and 18 runs batted in. This came in 162 plate appearances, which worked out to be a 62 OPS+.
Morales did have the chance to go back to the Mariners in free agency, including on a reported three-year, $30 million contract they did offer him at one point during free agency. Now, Morales has no choice but to head back to Seattle, but the one plus for him is that he will have the option to head elsewhere in free agency at the end of the season. So if Morales does not want to return to the Mariners following this season, he does not have to. But who would not want to play for a contender?
In return, the Minnesota Twins will be getting right-hander Stephen Pryor, who, at the age of 25, seems to be ready for the big leagues full-time. Back in 2012, Pryor did pitch in 26 games, going 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA and a 5.27 FIP, resulting in a 99 ERA+. He struck out 27 and walked 13 in 23 innings pitched. The acquisition for the Twins may pan out, but it seems like they got a high-potential type of guy.
The Mariners will likely not be done buying now. They could still make a run at perhaps the biggest piece on the trade market, David Price. But for now, an old friend heads back to the old stomping grounds, as Kendrys Morales will be heading back to the Seattle Mariners.