When the Seattle Mariners signed free agent Robinson Cano, it was a sign of much more to come. After talk of impact players like David Price and Matt Kemp, Seattle’s next salvo was on high value role players, as the M’s signed free agent Corey Hart and traded for Marlins first baseman/outfielder Logan Morrison.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2013
Corey Hart missed all of 2013, pushing him off the radar of many baseball fans. Which is a shame, as Corey Hart is a nice player who put up some very handy numbers in 2012. Stepping in for the departed Prince Fielder, Hart hit .270/.334/.507 with 30 home runs as the every day first baseman, following up a season in which he hit even better (137 wRC+ in 2011 compared to 124 wRC+ in 2012).
Which makes the acquisition of Logan Morrison somewhat puzzling. Not puzzling, as it appears the Mariners want to improve these position, not just let the incumbent struggles lurch through another lifeless season. Morrison is a decent hitter…sometimes? He’s also hurt all the time? And he says things on twitter and in the media he should probably reconsider? Coming at the cost of Carter Capps, a hard-throwing reliever yet to reach arbitration, Mariners fans might feel a little uneasy.
These two signings, low impact as they might be, harken back to the fateful Seattle Times piece detailing the sad state of the Mariners. General manager Jack Zduriencik was characterized as “obsessed with power hitters, ignoring defense, base running and roster construction” and these two moves, coming within minutes of each other, don’t do a lot to dispel this myth.
Seattle needs to be better and to injury prone aka high variance players might address that if everything breaks right. The Mariners fielded feckless squads unable to muster any offense for too many years – the baggage is apparent.
If doubling up on players who might find their way into the next move – one that should move the needle a little bit more – then great. If creating healthy competition in camp and lining Triple-A Tacoma with one-dimensional players is for the sake of depth…okay. Seattle has too many other holes to address to spend too much time spinning their wheels.
Neither of these players represent the difference between winning and losing. The Mariners aren’t quite there yet. But shrewd signings are shrewd signings – leaving wiggle room and plenty of money to spend on the big pieces needed to take the next step towards relevance and respectability.