Today the Mariners signed outfielder/first basemen/DH Corey Hart and traded reliever Carter Capps to the Miami Marlins for outfielder/first basemen/DH Logan Morrison.
Corey Hart did not play in 2013 due to surgeries on both of his knees before the season. The Mariners inked him to a one year deal worth $5 million. This deal is certainly a win for both sides. Corey Hart is looking to resurrect his career, and will have that opportunity with the Mariners. He bats right-handed, something the Mariners surely considered, due to their current heavy left-handedness at the plate.
The Mariners also needed a player at DH. Hart will be able to fill that role while resting his knees. His defense is not much to talk about anyway, however. Hart’s practically guarantees that Kendrys Morales will not wear a Mariners uniform next year.
Hart is a big player (6’6″) with reasonably high upside for a $5 million contract. In his last three seasons with the Brewers he totaled 8.1 WAR. In 2012, his last season in the Bigs, he belted 30 homers and had a slugging percentage of .507, which is above average. He strikes out a lot, in about 21% of his at-bats, but he doesn’t walk very much–in only ~7% of his at-bats.
These two factors contribute to his low on-base percentage. His batting average on balls in play has been about league average his entire career, so there have been no flukes in regards to production.
Overall this is a good signing for the Mariners. It fills their hole at DH and will be able to give Robinson Cano some protection in the lineup, all for a relatively low price of $5 million (disregarding incentives).
Logan Morrison however, is somewhat of a reclamation project. He is very similar to Justin Smoak because he was once a highly-rated prospect, but now is struggling to keep his career alive.
He only has one defensive position that he doesn’t suck at, and that is first base, where he is slightly-below-average.
His defense in left-field is so bad that it totally offsets any offensive production he happens to create.
This move may indicate that Justin Smoak is on his way out, because there isn’t enough room for three first base/DH’s in the lineup.
To acquire Morrison, the M’s traded away hard-throwing reliever Carter Capps. Capps has a higher floor than Morrison, but he certainly has a lower ceiling, too. Morrison has produced exactly 1 WAR in his career. He produced 1 win in his first year, which was 2010, which means he has been a replacement level player over the last three years. Morrison was at one point rated as the 20th best prospect in the league, but now with injuries hampering him the future does not look too bright for LoMo.
Morrison’s only ‘good’ season so far (2010) was the result of an astronomical BABIP. There is not much to say except the Mariners are probably now looking to trade either LoMo or Justin Smoak, as two first base projects who both can’t hit left handed pitching aren’t fit to stay on the same team.
The Tampa Bay Rays are looking for a first basemen. Maybe Jack Zduriencik is looking to package one of these guys in a deal for David Price.
Anyway, the M’s made two mid-level moves for two mid-level players today. And neither of them are disappointing or overly exciting. They filled a hole with Hart and gained another former-top-prospect-turned-struggling-big-leaguer in Logan Morrison. Other than the fact that Corey Hart could have a nice comeback year, there isn’t much to say about these moves. They just happened.