Seattle shores up the lineup with two hitting acquisitions in one day
The Seattle Mariners made more noise on the Hot Stove scene by acquiring a pair of hitters Wednesday. Corey Hart signed a one-year free agent contract while Logan Morrison was acquired in a trade that sent Carter Capps to Miami.
Fantasy Impact: Corey Hart
Hart is on the comeback trail after a lost 2013 season where he had knee surgery. His injury woes were compounded by joint damage and thus he did not have a single at-bat last season.
A year ago, Hart was good for 30 home runs and 80+ RBIs. He enters the 2014 season as a 32-year-old and if he's healthy, he could get back to his usual power hitting form. For the Mariners, Hart could line up as a backup first baseman, although he will likely DH as he recovers from his knee problems and lost season. He can also play some outfield.
Fantasy players helped by this deal: Justin Smoak, Milwaukee's starting first baseman in 2014 (TBD)
Smoak's duties will now stay primarily at first base, although he could get some time as a DH as well. Either way, he has a permanent home in the lineup and won't be stretched thin in 2014 as the main hitter in the Mariners lineup.
First base has yet to be decided for the Brewers in 2014, with five players expected to compete for playing time there. A year ago I championed Hunter Morris for the job, which was a bust. Right now Juan Francisco is the assumed leader of the pack. The 26-year-old previously played for Cincinnati and Atlanta before coming over to Milwaukee in a mid-season trade last year. He hit a total of 18 home runs with 12 doubles and 48 RBIs. His 348 at-bats last season were a career high. The best corner infield position prospects in the system are a few years away, including Nicky Delmonico. The player chosen to start at first bse should get enough at-bats to garner numbers for fantasy owners. Stay tuned on this one.
Fantasy player hurt by this deal: See below in the Logan Morrison portion of the program.
Fantasy Impact: Marlins trade Logan Morrison to the Mariners for Carter Capps
Logan Morrison's long adversarial road with the Marlins came to an end when the club shipped him to Seattle. Morrison was expendable the second the Marlins signed Garrett Jones, a much better hitter, and the Mariners could use the depth at first base and outfield. Morrison's power fell off a lot the last two seasons, mostly due to a lack of playing time that may be related to his battles with Marlins management over his social media use. When he's a full time player, Morrison can hit 25 doubles and 20 home runs. His OBP has remained solid even in a limited role. Morrison can play first and outfield, like his new teammate Hart.
Carter Capps was a reliever extraordinary for the Mariners last season, posting 53 appearances over 59 innings with 66 strikeouts. Capps is a young, elastic-armed pitcher who should fit in well with the Marlins rotating door bullpen. He could see time in the closer's role in 2014 because nobody knows what the Fish will do in any given game. Capps certainly has the stuff for the role.
Fantasy players helped by this deal: Garrett Jones, Danny Farquhar
Jones has the green light in Miami to swing away and with such freedom he could reach 25 home runs again in 2014. He snuck into the fantasy game a few years ago as a lower-tier but still productive hitter, although now that owners are checking for him, Jones might be harder to get and thus, not retain his value. Either way, he'll get at-bats in Miami.
Farquhar got his first real shot this season as a 26-year-old and earned 16 saves in 46 appearances. He racked up 79 strikeouts as well. With no young pitchers threatening to push him off the mound as Capps could have, Farquhar could blossom into a solid closer. Every fantasy owner needs to be crafty when drafting/picking up closers, so watch Capps and Farquhar closely in 2014.
Fantasy player hurt by this deal: Abraham Almonte
So he only had 72 at-bats last year in his Major League debut. Before the Morrison and Hart deals, Almonte was the next logical step to man right field for the Mariners in 2014. The 24-year-old will likely not get a chance if Morrison gets his act together at the plate--the Mariners will need a place for Morrison if so, and he won't go to first or DH as long as Smoak and Hart are doing well. That leaves right field for Morrison and no place for Almonte to go except back to the minors.
2014 Fantasy baseball projections:
Hart (if he's healthy): 25 home runs, 85 RBIs, 35 doubles, 160 hits, .280 batting average.
Morrison (if he gets playing time): 20 home runs, 70 RBIs, 20 doubles, 115 hits, .250 batting average.
Capps gets a boost in value if he can close games or at least become a set-up man (if your league counts holds).
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