Though he averaged 28 home runs and 76 RBI per year from 2007 to 2009 for the Oakland Athletics, Cust struggled mightily in 2011, hitting .213 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 67 games at the time of his departure.
He has been replaced on the depth chart by Mike Carp.
The former first-round draft pick was signed by the Mariners in December 2010 to fill a weak spot in the team’s lineup, though his 2011 performance did nothing to strengthen it.
Cust has never been a great hitter—he has good power and draws quite a few walks, but he strikes out once every 2.6 at-bats. His career batting average is only .242—he did perform rather well for the Athletics from 2007 to 2009 and, though his power numbers were down in 2010, he posted a respectable batting average of .272.
He also led the league in strikeouts and averaged over 100 walks each season in that three-year span, indicating that he is a “Three True Outcomes” player—that is, he is someone who will either hit a home run, draw a walk or strikeout.
Cust was originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks and also played at the major league level for the Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres. He was a late bloomer, not becoming a big league starter until age 28.
He has always been impressive in the minors, hitting over 200 home runs there. He has also performed much better average-wise, with a career mark of .285.
One can only conjecture a list of potential suitors, though it isn’t implausible to think that a team looking for a power-hitting pinch-hitter would sign him.