The Seattle Mariners could still sign DH/1B Kendrys Morales before the season starts. They have made a number of understated additions this off-season but could still use a bat like Morales’s in their lineup.
Whether or not they do so might be up to one of those understated signings. The question the Mariners need answered before they can get serious about signing Morales? Can Corey Hart hold up playing the outfield over the course of the season?
Greg Johns of MLB.com writes the following about the situation:
Morales’ situation in Seattle could hinge largely on the health of Corey Hart. If Hart can play the outfield, as he’s done in the opening days of camp while coming back from a year off with two knee surgeries, that opens up the DH spot considerably. Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison are splitting first-base duties early in camp and Morales would provide a strong presence at DH.
But if Hart can’t play the outfield full-time, he’ll need to get at-bats at DH or first base, which would limit Morales’ options.”
It appears that if Hart’s durability as an outfielder is called into question, the Mariners will likely stay away from Morales, or perhaps more accurately, he won’t be interested in signing with them. Given Hart’s checkered injury history in the last year, and especially given the fact that those were knee injuries, the Mariners might want to consider pursuing Morales no matter what.
They are one fairly likely injury away from losing a bat from a lineup that is already a little thin; they ought to try to find a way to make their old friend fit, even if there does not appear to be enough at-bats to go around initially.