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Morales' Mariners tenure is likely over

Morales' Mariners tenure is likely over

Morales' Mariners tenure is likely over

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The pending acquisitions of Corey Hart and Logan Morrison would appear to close the door on the return of Kendrys Morales as the Mariners reshape their roster for next season.

Morales led Seattle in 2013 with a .277 batting average and 80 RBIs while hitting 23 home runs, but turned down the club's $14.1 million qualifying offer and now is exploring options on the free-agent market.

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Since the right-handed Hart and left-handed Morrison will likely split time between designated hitter and the outfield and the Mariners still project Justin Smoak as their primary first baseman, it's hard to see how the switch-hitting Morales would fit.

Agent Scott Boras is trying to find a landing spot for Morales, who will cost any team that signs him a first-round Draft pick due to the qualifying offer. Seattle would receive the first compensatory pick after the first round if Morales signs with another club.

Boras isn't ready to blame that Draft-pick penalty as creating a problem for Morales' market and is telling teams that his client's numbers will increase once he leaves Seattle's Safeco Field.

"First of all, it's way too young to tell because free agency works in pockets," Boras said Wednesday. "The value of the home run hitter, the value of a leader, he's a guy that's hit 30-some home runs and 100 RBIs [in 2009 with the Angels]. He's done very, very well.

"He's Adrian Beltre-like in Seattle," said Boras. "When you look at all those things and you value it, you've got to understand that these players are something that really, really give a franchise something very different than what's available."

The Mariners also appear unlikely to bring back Raul Ibanez, who was released after hitting 29 home runs and batting .242 with 65 RBIs at age 41. Ibanez, who hit just .203 with five home runs and nine RBIs in 177 at-bats after the All-Star break, is believed to be drawing interest from the Angels as well as other teams.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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