September 22, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Seattle Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Morales (8) before coming up to bat in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles looking seriously at Kendrys Morales

Perhaps the late off season moves have all been part of Dan Duquette’s plan all along.

Since signing Suk-Min Yoon and Ubaldo Jimenez, the Baltimore Orioles have been strongly linked to both Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz. Add Kendrys Morales to that mix, now. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that interest in the free agent first baseman/designated hitter has actually intensified since the signing of Jimenez.

Connolly speculates that the move comes as a result of the Orioles having already forfeited their first round draft pick with the signing of Jimenez and do not value their second round pick nearly as much. Another reason could be because the price on Morales could sink to new lows, with a potential one-year or two-year with an opt-out deal likely on the table. It appears that a decision on whether to exceed their budget past $100 million is the main factor in whether the club wants to sign the 30-year old.

Last year with Seattle, Morales hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 home runs in his second full season back from breaking his leg in 2010. He played in 156 games with the Mariners, primarily as the designated hitter, but is also  a competent first baseman. That figures to be how the Orioles would use him if they sign him.

Morales has also been linked to the Pirates and Rangers.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Seattle Mariners

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