The Seattle Mariners have acquired designated hitter Kendrys Morales from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor, the club announced. Morales, of course, spent the entirety of the 2013 season with the Mariners, so the trade represents a reunion of sorts.
Morales was one of this winter's victims of draft pick compensation, which led to him missing the first two months of the season, agreeing to a one-year deal with Minnesota worth the prorated amount of $12 million following the draft. The Mariners had reportedly attempted to re-sign Morales numerous times, but were rebuffed on each occasion. Seattle supposedly even offered him a three-year, $30 million deal that seemed ludicrous for Morales to have turned down both at the time, and in hindsight.
Morales' late start has likely contributed to a rough first 39 games. In 162 plate appearances, the 31-year-old Morales is hitting just .234/.259/.325 with a 57 wRC+ and -0.9 fWAR. He has managed to heat up in recent weeks, though, accruing a 12-game hit streak from July 7th through 22nd that saw him raise his OPS by 58 points. Morales hit .277/.336/.449 with a 118 wRC+ in 156 games for Seattle last season.
The M's have been searching the market for someone who can provide some thump to a rather weak-hitting lineup. Morales should slot in as Seattle's full-time DH, or at least in a platoon role with Corey Hart. Mariners' designated hitters have struggled this season, hitting just .217/.294/.343 with a 81 wRC+.
Pryor began the season on the DL after undergoing surgery to repair his right lat muscle, and has subsequently pitched just 1.2 innings in the majors this season. The hard-throwing 25-year-old has struggled in the minors this year, posting a 5.71 ERA and 1.43 K/BB in 34.2 innings split between Double and Triple-A. Pryor owns a career 2.81 ERA, 4.43 FIP, and 2.19 K/BB in 32 major league innings over the past three seasons. Minnesota will assign him to Triple-A Rochester.