Mariners get busy, sign Hart, trade for Morrison
Looking to add more offensive punch, the Mariners agreed to a one-year deal with former Brewers slugger Corey Hart and then traded reliever Carter Capps to the Marlins for left fielder/first baseman Logan Morrison on Wednesday, according to multiple baseball sources.
Hart’s deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, is an incentive-laden deal that will pay him $5 million in base salary, with the potential of another $8 million in bonuses.
The Brewers tried to re-sign Hart, but Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin said the Mariners offered more money both guaranteed and in incentives.
Morrison is arbitration eligible for the first time this year and won’t be a free agent until 2017. The Mariners have not confirmed either deal.
The Mariners have already agreed to a 10-year-deal with former Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Wednesday’s deals look to add some additional threats in new manager Lloyd McClendon’s lineup, though that contract also won’t be announced until likely Thursday upon completion of Cano’s physical.
Seattle came to the Winter Meetings seeking help at designated hitter and in the outfield and moved Wednesday to shore up both spots, while also providing a challenge to incumbent first baseman Justin Smoak.
Hart, 31, hit 30 home runs and 83 RBIs while transitioning from right field to first base in 2012 for the Brewers, but then missed all of last season while having surgeries on both of his knees.
Morrison, 26, came up with the Marlins as an outfielder, but was limited to first base duties last year after dealing with a knee issue of his own.
Both players could be used at designated hitter or first base, but it’s not certain if the Mariners view them as outfield candidates.
Hart brings a needed right-handed bat to help balance out a lefty-dominated lineup. Morrison is a left-handed hitter who launched 23 home runs with 72 RBIs in 2011, but saw his playing time and production limited by health problems.
Hart underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in January to repair a depression on the joint surface, then needed a similar procedure on the left knee in July for an injury that developed during his rehab.
If healthy, Hart will provide a right-handed threat at either designated hitter, first base or possibly the outfield. He’s a career .276 hitter with 154 home runs and 508 RBIs in nine seasons with the Brewers, who drafted him while current Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik headed the team’s scouting department.
Hart, 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, was a two-time National League All-Star while with the Brewers in 2008 and 2010 and averaged 29 home runs and 83 RBIs in his last three seasons before sitting out last year.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Morrison hit .242/.333/.375 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 85 games last year while playing strictly at first base.
One of baseball’s top-rated prospects coming up with the Marlins, Morrison played outfield his first three seasons in the Majors, but had surgery first in December of 2011 and then again in September of 2012 on the same knee that limited his mobility last year.
Capps, 23, was one of several hard-throwing young right handers in the Mariners organization, but struggled with a 5.49 ERA in 53 relief appearances last year in his first extensive time in the Majors.