The Mariners finally make their first anticipated splash at the Winter Meetings, and it is a Hart-y one. I’m sorry folks I just cannot resist the Hart puns. And just so everyone knows, our editor here at Sodo Mojo, Dan, called this one back on the day Hart was non-tendered by the Brewers. I’m tooting his horn because A) he is my boss and B) I am really happy with the Mariners right now.
Corey Hart, former Milwaukee Brewer, is going to be a Seattle Mariner:
corey hart is headed for #mariners, according to sources. 1 year deal. will likely bat behind cano.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 11, 2013
This is a great signing for a lot of reasons. First of all, it is a one year deal with serious low risk. It also brings in a right-handed hitter with a decent pop to his bat who can hit behind Robinson Cano and provide some power protection. It seems like the Mariners are signing him to play right field, though he can also play first base. (And I bet even after being out all of 2013 he can still play RF better defensively than Mike Morse. Just saying).
Jack Z and Hart are being reunited in Seattle, sort of. Hart was drafted in 2000 in the 11th round by Jack Z in Milwaukee.
Hart has a career .276/.334/.491 triple slash. He averaged nearly 24 home runs from 2007 to 2012, and missed all of 2013 with knee issues.
If he is fully recovered and can bounce back from knee problems, he is the perfect guy for the M’s to get right now. He shouldn’t come at too steep a price (the details of the contract haven’t been mentioned yet). And, more than anything else, this allows the Mariners to negotiate the rest of the offseason when it comes to FA outfielders like Shin-Soo Choo. It also allows trades to develop naturally and not be forced. Because he is a power bat to play right field that is low risk and high reward.
We can still afford to go out and get Choo, or trade for someone like Matt Kemp (although sources today say the Dodgers do not plan on trading him). But now that we have a guy already in the fold, there is no need to make any of those infamous “panic moves”. The Mariners can bide their time, play the game, and negotiate to make this team better.
Hart makes the team better now, but also loosens the reins on the organization, so that they don’t get caught in a bidding war for someone they can do without.
Also, this means the M’s shouldn’t be signing Nelson Cruz. Thank god.
Happy hump day everyone, I hope there is more exciting news to come!
And also come back to Sodo Mojo soon for a more in-depth analysis of what Corey Hart provides for this team, and the flexibility he gives management for the rest of the offseason.
As always, GO MARINERS.