Hart, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Phillies this winter and began his season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley but was released after a one-inning appearance in which he didn’t allow a run. He’s been on the open market for about six weeks but has now landed a new gig.
Prior to this year, Hart spent his entire career in the Red Sox organization. That club selected him in the 19th round of the 2016 draft and utilized him primarily as a starter in the lower levels of their minor league system. In 2019, he tossed 156 innings between Double-A and Triple-A with a 3.52 ERA and earned himself a spot on the 40-man roster. He made it to the majors in 2020 and made four appearances, including three starts, but posted a 15.55 ERA in those.
He was outrighted off the roster after that year and continued pitching on the farm for the Sox for the next two years, both as a starter and a reliever. He tossed 106 2/3 Triple-A innings in 2021 with a 4.91 ERA, then posted a 5.25 ERA in 2022 over 82 1/3 innings between Triple-A and Double-A.
It’s unclear if the Mariners are interested in Hart as a starter or reliever. They’ve had some injuries to their rotation, with Robbie Ray and Easton McGee out for the year due to Tommy John surgery while Marco Gonzales just landed on the IL due to a forearm strain. That has forced rookies Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo up to the big leagues and thinned the depth a bit. There’s also a couple of relievers on the IL but they’re both right-handed, as lefties Gabe Speier and Tayler Saucedo currently make up the southpaw contingent in the big leagues. They also have non-roster lefties like Eric Stout and Rob Kaminsky in Triple-A.
Hart could perhaps join that group or give the club some extra rotation depth. If he finds his way back onto the 40-man roster, he still has a couple of option seasons and less than a year of service time, meaning he could potentially serve as a depth piece for quite some time if he were to hang onto that roster spot.