Rangers have some interest in Morales

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers are one of a group of teams interested in free-agent first baseman Kendrys Morales, sources confirmed Friday.

Morales has worked out on his own all season in hopes of landing with a team once the MLB draft started, eliminating the draft-pick compensation tied to signing him. Before Thursday night, teams would have had to give up a pick to strike a deal with Morales, one big reason he’s remained without an employer into June.

Morales, 30, hit .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs for the Seattle Mariners last season. He rejected a one-year, $14.3 million qualifying offer from the Mariners in hopes of landing a multi-year deal. Now, he could sign a deal for the rest of 2014 season and attempt to reset his value in the winter.

The Red Sox signed Stephen Drew a few weeks ago and paid him $10 million, or what he would have earned for the rest of the season had he taken a qualifying offer. It’s unclear what Morales could command.

Morales would be appealing to the Rangers in that it wouldn’t cost them any minor league assets and could bolster their lineup. Mitch Moreland is starting at first base in the wake of Prince Fielder's surgery, which has likely ended his season. But Moreland doesn’t have a true backup and the club is rotating the designated-hitter spot to get various players “half-days” off.

Texas is middle-of-the-pack in runs scored and 28th in home runs, so Morales’ power and production would make sense.

The Dallas Morning News was first to report the Rangers’ interest in Morales.