The Seattle Mariners didn’t leave the MLB Winter Meetings with any blockbuster signings, but did bolster depth and fill holes on the roster. On Wednesday, the Mariners reportedly reached an agreement with former Oakland A’s designated hitter Jack Cust. The contract, officially announced Friday afternoon, is reportedly a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. With the 40-man roster full, the Mariners will have to make a corresponding roster move on Monday to clear room for Cust.
Cust, a 31 year old designated hitter, joins a Mariner roster starved for some much needed offense. After spending his last four years in Oakland, the Athletics non-tendered Cust at the roster deadline last week, making him a free agent. The decision to non-tender Cust came after an up-and-down season in which Cust began the season on a one-year contract, was designated for assignment out of Spring Training, heading to AAA, before re-joining the A’s after Eric Chavez went down with an injury.
To be clear, Cust is a designated hitter and only a designated hitter. The only reason Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge should ever consider playing Cust in the field is if something goes terribly, horribly wrong, rendering every other bench player, and half the pitching staff, unable to play in the field. For an example of his fielding prowess, use this as exhibit a.
While his fielding leaves something to be desired, Cust does bring plenty of positives to the table. As a left-handed hitter, he suits Safeco Field. He also brings a career line of .245/.378/.452 to Seattle along with 102 home runs. Cust’s ability to get on base, and the hope he can hit for power, has the potential to fill the gaping hole the Mariners currently have at the DH spot. On a one-year contract, it’s a low-risk option with a good amount of upside.
The Mariners are expected to officially announce the signing of Miguel Olivo, the team’s other Winter Meeting acquisition, early next week.