According to the Mariners' official Twitter feed, as of Thursday afternoon, Morales has been traded to Seattle for the stretch run in return for pitcher Stephen Pryor:
The #Mariners have acquired 1B/DH Kendrys Morales from the Twins in exchange for RHP Stephen Pryor. Morales will report to the club tomorrow— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 24, 2014
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports weighed in on what the trade means for the Mariners:
well, mariners loved kendrys morales on field and in clubhouse. they tried a few times to keep him. does make sense.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 24, 2014
For the Twins, this has to be considered a huge disappointment. They signed Morales in June, hoping he could keep them in the American League Central race after hovering around .500.
Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan told reporters at Morales' introductory press conference that the move was designed to boost the team's playoff hopes, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
We've played pretty decent up to this point and have surprised some people. So why not us? We're at the point in the season where there's a lot of baseball left. So why not the Twins? I read a handful teams were after Morales, but we were ahead of a lot of those clubs in the standings. So I thought why don't we bring in a quality player who doesn't cost us a Draft pick, which we treasure here.
Since then, the Twins have fallen back into last place in the division. Injuries to Joe Mauer and Ricky Nolasco and poor performances from key players like Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia played a role in the slump.
Morales certainly hasn't helped matters with a .234 batting average, an on-base percentage of .259 and no power at all.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Wednesday that the Twins were willing to deal Morales, who is only signed through this season:
Kendrys Morales 12-game hitting streak, but OPS still only at .599. #Twins open to trading him, along with other potential free agents…— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 23, 2014
Morales' value has been all over the map since the end of last season. He was one of the most consistent power hitters in baseball, when healthy, dating back to 2009 with the Los Angeles Angels.
The 31-year-old slugger has hit at least 22 homers every year he's played at least 100 games, but when Seattle made him a qualifying offer after the 2013 season, meaning a team that signed him would forfeit a first-round draft pick, no one wanted to touch him.
Morales is just one year removed from hitting 23 homers and slugging .449, so he is a very good buy-low option at the deadline. He started the 2014 season without going through spring training, so that could explain his struggles with the Twins.
Power is hard to find in baseball right now, so a player like Morales has the potential to be a solid contributor down the stretch if he can get his timing back. The fact that it hasn't happened yet, after nearly two full months of games, doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.
If you want to talk sports, hit me up on Twitter.