Mariners sign Corey Hart

Jared Ellis

Follow on Twitter @jarlyjarhead

The Seattle Mariners signed Corey Hart today on a one year deal for a base salary of $5 million. There are several escalators in the deal based on performance as well. Hart missed all of last season while with the Milwaukee Brewers but profiles as a good signing for the Mariners if they can keep him healthy. And a one year deal carries zero risk for the team.

In order for the Mariners to keep him healthy they will have to limit him defensively, this signing likely means that he will share the 1B/DH platoon with Justin Smoak and maybe Kendrys Morales*. It also creates the opportunity for the Mariners to rid themselves of Smoak, a player that has underperformed since his first days on a major league roster. Although I imagine moving Smoak would come in conjunction with another separate deal.

*If he accepts his qualifying offer.

Hart will supply some much needed right handed power in a punch less, lefty heavy, Mariners lineup while likely hitting behind Robinson Cano. Hart does strike out a lot and does not walk enough to balance his K% rate thus his better than average OBP is mostly sustained by batting average. But he does provide some pop with an ISO and Slugging percentage well above major league norms. At his best Hart has been worth close to 4 wins per year and Steamer projects that he will be worth about half of that in 2014.

Overall, this is a boom or bust signing for Seattle and the risk is low considering the one year deal. We know that Jack Zduriencik likes his homers, I imagine more moves are coming similar to this one to supply those.

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