Hart, 31, has hit .276 for his career with a .334 OBP, 154 home runs and 211 doubles in nine seasons, including All-Star selections in 2008 and 2010.
He is an interesting case. He is a first baseman at this point in his career, especially given his knees. He has as much power as any other free agent, and will likely cost just a one-year deal, probably worth no more than $10 million. He has been quite vocal about his desire to stay with the Brewers, even saying he'd return at a discount. The only problem is there is little buzz out of Milwaukee that indicates they're looking to bring him back. If that's the case, and he's a man without a home, I think Sandy Alderson has to consider Hart, despite whatever he has going on with his knees...
Plus, there are the countless night-time sunglasses jokes that will be made, which, depending on your sense of humor, is as much a negative as a positive...
Hart has been a strong offensive player, with excellent power and a decent OBP. His strike-out rates have mirrored his power numbers, though, and in 2012 he struck out in nearly a quarter of his plate appearances. He hits a lot of fly balls, but has shown the strength needed to turn them into home runs. He also hits lefties very well, a trait the Mets could use.
The biggest red flag for his offense are his home-road splits. In batter-friendly Miller Park, his career OPS is an impressive .891, but on the road, it's a relatively pedestrian .761. If the Mets are seriously considering him, they need to look at his spray charts to determine how many of his home runs would be turned into outs by expansive Citi Field. On the defensive side, he's been a mediocre outfielder and his knee injury has likely turned him into a full-time 1B. In a small sample size, he's been unimpressive there, but it's possible that he'll improve with more experience.
Hart's knee situation makes him a big risk, which is why I haven't really considered him until recently. However, his bat still has plenty of value. I am intrigued by the thought of Hart replacing Ike Davis, and his knees may be a smaller risk than betting on Davis to emerge as the hitter we once thought he would become. The rumor is Hart is looking for a short-term contract, injury risk or not, which is more incentive for Sandy Alderson to go after him.
Hart would be a very welcome addition to the lineup while the Mets search for younger bats down the road. I'm willing to spend a little money to avoid placing unreasonable expectations on fringe quadruple-A players. Call it a "change of Hart" if you will, but right now, taking a chance and failing seems more appealing than another dull and uninspiring rebuilding season.
Hart has a lot of upside and can probably be had on a short-term deal as he looks to rebuild his value. He's got very good power although he strikes out a lot and doesn't have a lot of speed. He's been historically ok in the outfield although it remains to be seen how this knee injury impacts his defense going forward - as Matt said, he might be destined for first base soon. But if he's right, he could prove to be a strong middle-of-the-order presence, although I do wonder how his power might translate to Citi Field, considering the bulk of his home runs have come at Miller Park.