SEATTLE -- Longtime Angels first baseman and one-time Mariners slugger Kendrys Morales is still looking for work, the last one standing among free agents who rejected a qualifying offer and are thus tied to Draft pick compensation.
"I want to see him playing," Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, Morales' good friend, said in Spanish. "He's a great guy, great person, great teammate. The season's gone on a while already and he hasn't signed. And [Stephen] Drew already signed. Let's see what happens these next few days."
Drew joined the Red Sox, a team that doesn't have to surrender its first-round Draft pick to sign him because he finished the previous season with them. The Mariners could do the same with Morales, who rejected their $14.1 million qualifying offer in October, but have seemingly shown little to no interest.
That means the 30-year-old switch-hitter will have to wait until after next week's First-Year Player Draft, so teams don't have to give up a Draft pick to sign him.
Aybar has kept in touch with Morales, who's currently with his family in Miami and is "working out, trying to stay in shape."
Signed out of Cuba in 2005, Morales -- represented by Scott Boras -- finished fifth in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting in '09, suffered a devastating leg injury while celebrating a walk-off homer the following year and missed nearly two full seasons before being productive again from 2012-13, posting a .275/.329/.457 slash line with 45 homers and 153 RBIs with the Angels and Mariners.
"It's gotta be very difficult for him, especially a guy who takes as much pride in his work as he does," said Raul Ibanez, who played with Morales last year. "I feel for Kendrys because he's a really good hitter."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less