The Mariners announced this evening that they have designated Corey Hart for assignment. The move clears a spot for Jesus Montero to return to the 40-man roster following his suspension.
Hart was due to become a free agent after the completion of the World Series, so today’s move just cuts him loose a bit sooner. The Mariners gave the 32-year-old a one-year, $6 million deal last winter in hopes that he would be able to get his career back on track after multiple knee surgeries cost him the entire 2013 season, but he batted just .203 with six home runs and a .590 OPS over 68 games this season. He missed significant chunks of time with knee and hamstring injuries.
Montero ended the season on the suspended list following an altercation with a (now former) team scout in August that centered around an ice cream sandwich. The former top prospect spent most of the season at the Triple-A level, batting .286/.350/.489 with 16 home runs and 74 RBI over 97 games.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.
It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.
Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.