Replacing Corey Hart

 Seattle Mariners DH/RF Corey Hart may be headed for the disabled list with a sore hamstring. If that occurs, the club will have a few options to replace the veteran on the 25-man roster. The obvious one is Nick Franklin, who has played a few innings in the outfield in Triple-A Tacoma lately, but that decision is not as cut and dry and it would be in normal scenarios.

Franklin was pulled from a game on the Rainiers recent road trip after making a mental mistake in the field, then didn’t start the following day. He then played right field, but now is considered day-to-day with a minor back injury. If he’s fine, he’ll be the call-up, and likely get time in the outfield, but can also spell Brad Miller at shortstop, a move that may have been coming soon, anyway.

There are other options, however, including Logan Morrison, but it doesn’t appear Morrison will be able to avoid a rehab stint, which means he’s not going to be the immediate choice to replace Hart. Jesus Montero could also garner some consideration, and if Franklin is the immediate move, Montero may be on the short list if the M’s make the move with Miller in the coming days.

The bigger question beyond the initial roster move is who Lloyd McClendon chooses to bat cleanup for this team in Hart’s absence. Hart has been scuffling fierce since the first three weeks of the season, so his injury may actually help the team in the short term. Ultimately Hart should be productive enough to warrant time in the lineup. Justin Smoak and Kyle Seager are the obvious candidates, and the better bet is on the switch-hitting Smoak, and it’s probably the right choice, considering the team’s lack of options.

This conversation also warrants the mentioning of Kendrys Morales, who remains a free agent and is all but certain to sign after the draft that takes place June 5-7. At that point Morales will not be tied to draft-pick compensation, but that also means the Mariners will not receive a pick if Morales signs with another team. That pick, however, would have become the sacrifice for signing Robinson Cano. As of now, the M’s are set to lose their second-round pick.

Franklin should be able to replace what Hart was giving the club offensively, even if he struggles, and will provide more value in the field and on the bases. Fact is, however, a healthy Hart or not, this team needs to make at least one move for a bat or the efforts of Cano, and to a lesser extent Michael Saunders and James Jones ahead of him, will go for naught.

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Jason A. Churchill

Churchill founded Prospect Insider in 2006 after getting his start at InsidethePark.com. He spent several years covering prep, college and pro sports for various newspapers, including The News Tribune and Seattle PI. Jason spent 4 1/2 years at ESPN and two years at CBS Radio prior to joining HERO Sports in July, 2016. Find Jason's Mariners podcast, Baseball Things, right here and follow him on Twitter @ProspectInsider.

13 Comments

  1. Jerry I agree with you that picks are very valuable. I have another post for some reason that is “awaiting moderation” that gives explains a bit better what I was trying to say in the second post.

    Basically we have the 74th competitive pick which is the last pick between the 2nd and 3rd rounds valued roughly at 760k. The 2nd round pick that we lost (#47 overall) is worth $1,187,900 which would move our 74th pick to 75th overall worth at 748k roughly. It’s a pipe dream for sure at this point but if Morales did sign with another team before the draft we would gain the second round pick and lose the comp pick we dont currently have anyway. In essence we gain a second rounder instead of a comp between the 1st and second rounds. Again it wont happen but the idea of getting cano outweighed the lost of a comp pick in my mind no question about it.

    I do agree that the draft is the best way to get talent. The more picks you have the more money you get to use. In this case it was sign Cano and a potential no loss or gain from a pick (Morales signing elswhere) we were gonna lose for signing him in addition to the competitive round pick between 2nd and 3rd rounds or Morales and comp pick.if he wanted to sign here in the first place. I dont blame the M’s for what they did personally I think they did the right thing under the circumstances here, I wish they would have done more but dont fault them for what they did.

    The whole argument that we have a competitive round pick does make it a little easier to take then if we didnt have it at all but its still losing us currently roughly 1.2 mil on the draft cap and our actual 2nd round pick for signing arguably the best second baseman in the game at the major league level. So we “slid back” for lack of a better term from 47th to 74th with possibility of gaining it back albeit a very small possibility. Like I said above I value picks as much as the next guy and its not like the M’s thought that Morales wasnt going to be signed. They were banking on him signing either here or somewhere else not holding out until after the draft. Nobody has ever done that before. I dont agree though that losing our 2nd round pick 47th overall and the cap money was gonna stop me from signing Cano. If that kind of opportunity arises again I would hope we will be in the thick of it again. Trades with prospects hurt way more than losing the one pick you lose from signing a player IHMO. Multiple players leave in trades usually not just one.

  2. Edman,

    So disagreeing with you is inherently being pessimistic?

    I understand the rationale behind the comment, Nighthawk. I just don’t agree.

    The draft is the cheapest and most effective way to add talent, and the new draft rules make stockpiling picks MUCH more important due to the impact of draft slots on the clubs bonus pool. Thus, the “we have a second round comp pick, so losing our early second rounder isn’t that bad” logic doesn’t work.

    I’m not arguing that the Ms messed up. They couldn’t force another club to sign Morales, and signing a player the caliber of Cano always costs a draft pick.

    But it’s always bad to lose picks. Always. The value of any pick is inherent, and isn’t impacted by any other pick the team might or might not have. More is ALWAYS better in the draft.

    The Red Sox and Cardinals are great examples. They consistently get extra picks. They still sign free agents who cost them a pick every once in a while, but they consistently add more than they lose. The result of that advantage for those teams is pretty clear. They have more talent.

    Picks are VERY valuable. Teams understand that. This is why Kendrys Morales is unemployed right now, and teams are tripping over themselves to sign international free agents.

    I’m hoping some club ones out of nowhere and sign Morales in the next two weeks. But that’s a pipe dream.

  3. Jerry just seeks to maintain his pessimism. Rock on, Jerry.

  4. Sorry for the double post here but didnt read right what Edman said. If memory serves we won the last pick of the competitive round (between the 3rd and 4th rounds) which are won by the lottery pick from the “lowest” grossing teams or something crazy like that. The pick is also trade-able, maybe we traded it. I could be off on when the pick actually is. I remember there being talk about Detroit or Boston getting one of them too and it being a bit of controversy there. It’s something that hasnt been talked about really at all since the time we heard about it so maybe something happened to it. Jason and crew im sure know more about it or if the reports were false.

  5. I think what Edman is trying to say is we would “gain” a supplemental round pick and then we would lose that pick and actually gain our 2nd round pick back. The Cano signing only affects the first unprotected pick and in this case at this moment it is the 2nd round pick. If Morales were to sign with another team before the draft what I described above would transpire. If someone would sign him we would in fact gain a second round pick out of the deal instead of the supplemental round pick. I hope I’m getting what Edman was trying to say and hope it makes sense.

  6. Edman,

    Losing a second round pick is losing a second round pick.

    Already having $10 doesn’t make a second $10 worth $7.

  7. Jason, you talk about the loss of a second round pick, but failed to mention they get a competative balance supplemental pick, so it’s a slight loss, not a total loss.

  8. Riley, is an utter failure because he shouldn’t have tried to get a valuable draft pick, instead of a couple B level prospects? Do you believe there was a huge market out there for Morales?

    Here’s a clue for you. In the modern era of baseball, a first round draft pick, and more importantly, the pool money it brings with it, are far better than two B level (best possible return).

    If you’re gonna talk about things, keep the context in mind. The failure was on Morales and his agent, for not taking the qualifying offer, ot the three year offer Jack made, not on Jack.

    If you’re going to talk about things, understand the full complexity, before you put your own foot in your mouth.

  9. Franklin joining the team is confirmed and Hart to the DL. I heard Fernandez was going to have TJ surgery, if so that would open a 40-man slot for Taylor. Montero would be better than Miller at this point, as sad as that is to say. I see they have signed Todd Coffey to a minor league deal. He’s coming back from TJ and reportedly throwing the ball well. Our pen could use some fresh blood.

  10. Miller needs to get his head straight and his issues only appear to be getting worse at the MLB level. With Hart out, I’d say the Mariners should swap Miller and Montero. If nothing else, Montero can crush lefties and he could share the DH role with Morrison if Hart is out longer than expected.

    I like Morales, but I don’t like what that would mean for our outfield and/or giving up on Smoak. Mariners ultimately need a RH center fielder more than anything.

  11. Signing Morales is an interesting idea.

    Before, I thought this was silly given the ms glut of DHs. But Hart going on the DL is a huge problem, and it’s not like he was killing it before the injury. I also don’t want to completely give up on Morrison, but I’d put the chances of him being a league average DH – based in both his struggles hitting and inability to stay healthy – at less than 1 in 3. Montero is the only in house candidate in the minors, but he’s been pretty mediocre in AAA. Thus, having Morales back wouldn’t be the worst thing.

    Before, there were two big reasons against signing Morales: the draft pick compensation and the fact that the Ms already ad too any DH/1B types. Neither of those apply anymore.

  12. So in about three weeks any potential compensation for Morales will go away, thus completing the utter failure last years trade deadline was for Jackie Z. Is there any actual confidence of him making a move that does more good than harm at this point?

  13. Bring Franklin up, it will likely be an upgrade on what Hart was giving you anyway. I would be Ok with “kicking the tires” on Morales, but he likely would not sign on the cheap, and after waiting this long, he should wait until after the draft and see if a team will pay him.

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