corey hart is headed for #mariners, according to sources. 1 year deal. will likely bat behind cano.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 11, 2013
ESPN.com writer Jerry Crasnick has confirmed Hart will receive $6 million guaranteed with incentives that could push it up to $13 million. Milwaukee is believed to have offered a base salary of $4 million with $2.5 million worth of incentives.
Hart sat out all of 2013 with surgeries to both knees but was medically cleared on Dec 3. Multiple teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers, were said to be interested in signing him.
Adding a first baseman was Doug Melvin’s top priority heading into the Winter Meetings with Hart on top of his wish list. Now, the Brewers are forced to turn to other options. In all likelihood, the Brewers will re-engage in trade talks with the New York Mets about Ike Davis. They are also interested in free agent James Loney. Juan Francisco is also in the fold to be the starting first baseman.
Since he and his family have a home in the Phoenix area, Hart made it clear he wanted to play for a team who held Spring Training in Arizona. Luckily for the Mariners, they make camp in Peoria.
Hart signing with the Mariners comes as a bit of a surprise. In September, Hart told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he would be willing to take less money to stay in Milwaukee. Most thought he would be back in 2014.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik drafted Hart in 2000 when he worked for the Brewers front office. No doubt their relationship was a key factor in Hart’s decision. Hart can also DH in Seattle which will protect his knees from more injuries. However, the Mariners plan to play Hart in the outfield despite coming off two knee surgeries. He is expected to hit behind newly-acquired second basemen Robinson Cano. The 31-year-old hit .270 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI in 2012.