There was a point in time when Corey Hart was quite the productive player. Playing with the Brewers, Hart produced a .277/.335/.495 batting line, averaging 24 home runs and 13 stolen bases from 2007 through 2012. Hart was a two time All-Star, and earned two votes for MVP in 2010. He tormented the Pirates, seemingly turning into the second coming of Gorman Thomas whenever in Pittsburgh.
However, Hart has seen his career derailed by injuries. He missed the entirety of the 2013 season due to a torn meniscus. During the 2014 season, Hart struggled through hamstring and knee injuries, hitting only .203/.271/.319 with six home runs for the Mariners last season. Considering his struggles and injury issues last season, it is no surprise that the Mariners designated Hart for assignment at the end of last season.
Yet, those injuries certainly did not limit the market for Corey Hart. Considering how little power was available in free agency, Hart was a bit of a hot commodity, with several teams vying for his services. In the end, he signed a one year contract for $2.5 Million with the Pirates.
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In the annual Best and Worst of the Offseason column that ESPN.com writer Jayson Stark puts together, the Pirates signing of Hart was considered to be one of the best contracts for under $3 Million. Of the front office personnel and the scouts that Stark polled, Hart tied for second on the list. Not a bad total for a player who struggled with injuries last season.
However, those past two seasons does not mean that Corey Hart cannot produce. If healthy, he could well turn out to be more than the right handed hitting part of a platoon at first. Even if the projections are not exactly bullish on Hart, he could easily outperform those minimal expectations. In fact, if he is healthy and Pedro Alvarez continues to struggle, Hart could end up with a good amount of playing time.
There may not be a lot expected from Corey Hart, but he could well end up as a vital part of the Pittsburgh Pirates chances this year. That contract could well prove to be an even better bargain than it is already considered to be.