Mariners sign first baseman Corey Hart, acquire Logan Morrison

Staff writerDecember 11, 2013 

Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during photo day at Maryvale Stadium on February 26, 2008 in Phoenix, Ariz.

JASON WISE — MLB Photos

First, Corey Hart. And then Logan Morrison

The Seattle Mariners kicked their off-season overhaul into overdrive again Wednesday at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., by signing Hart and, only minutes later, acquiring Morrison from Miami for reliever Carter Capps.

A baseball source confirmed the Hart signing for a one-year deal believed to include a $5 million guarantee with incentives that could boost the value to $13 million.

The report on Morrison came from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

The Mariners signed Hart, first reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, shortly after word surfaced that the Dodgers had pulled outfielder Matt Kemp off the trade market.

The news on Kemp came from Dave Stewart, who represents Kemp, via ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark. The Mariners were viewed by many as the leading candidate to acquire Kemp, who has six years remaining on his contract at $128 million.

With Kemp apparently no long available, the Mariners accelerated their push for Hart, who appeared close Tuesday night to returning to the Brewers for an incentive-based deal believed to top out at $8 million.

Hart, 31, made $10 million in 2013 but was always a likely candidate for an incentive-based contract because he missed all of last year after undergoing two knee surgeries. He batted .270 in 2012 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs in 149 games.

While Hart played outfield for much of his nine-year career, he previously indicated a strong preference to switch to first base.

The moves to acquire Hart and Morrison, 26, could position first baseman Justin Smoak as a trade candidate. Several clubs are looking for first basemen.

Morrison, a left-handed hitter, became expendable after the Marlins signed Garrett Jones to be their first baseman.

Injuries limited Morrison to just 178 gams over the last two years. He batted .242 last season with six homers and 26 RBIs in 85 games. He made $491,500 last season but is likely to triple his salary this winter through arbitration.

Capps, 23, was 3-3 with a 5.49 ERA in 53 games while registering 66 strikeouts in 59 innings.

Read more: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners/2013/12/11/mariners-sign-hart-and-report-says-acquire-morrison/

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