What to do with Bill Hall?

Posted by Steve

The news of the day is Bill Hall’s agent revealing that Hall would like to be traded. I don’t blame Hall for wanting to be moved, as his playing time will surely be cut down with the early success of Russell Branyan. Hall’s done everything the team has asked as far as position changes are concerned, and he hardly complained about it. At the same time, I don’t blame the Brewers for wanting him in a platoon, because he mashes lefties and provides good depth.

I do blame Hall for the way he’s going about things, however. What’s wrong with his agent talking privately to Doug Melvin to request a trade? Making this public only lowers his value, and it can become a distraction to the team. It sort of makes Hall look like he isn’t a “team player,” even though I don’t think that’s the case, because his gripe comes during a hot streak when the player replacing him is en fuego. It also seems like Hall is totally baffled as to why he’s been benched, almost as if his lack of production isn’t justification to lose a starting job.

As far as third base is concerned, it’s hard to give away Hall when the Hall-Branyan platoon has the potential to have very good production. Hall has a career OPS of .861 against lefties, while Branyan has a career OPS of .818 against righties. I’d be alright with a platoon of Branyan and Joe Dillon. They’d lose a little production against lefties, but that’s still probably solid production overall from third base.

My bigger issue is infield depth overall. Hardy is still not hitting, and I suppose they may try Hall at short at some point if Hardy doesn’t turn things around. More importantly, though, is what the Brewers would do if they traded Hall and then an infielder got injured. Things could get ugly in that scenario.

Then there’s Hall’s trade value right now. Contrary to this quote from his agent Terry Bross, it’s at an all-time low.

“If Billy’s not going to be an everyday player, it’s probably best for him and the team to be traded,” Bross said. “They could get a pitcher for him that would really help the team. I’m sure there are some teams out there that could use a third baseman or shortstop.”

That quote makes me think Bross needs to get a clue. What pitcher could they get for Hall that would “really help the team?” Hall isn’t producing offensively, and even his defense has taken a nosedive now. Not to mention his contract gets pretty pricey in the next few seasons: $6.8 mil next year, $8.4 mil in ’10 and a $9.25 mil club option in ’11 with a 500K buyout.

I can see a little demand for Hall from a few teams, particularly as a shortstop (The Rays and Jason Bartlett’s brutal .581 OPS are an obvious one). Thing is, considering his contract and Hall’s currently low value, what could the Brewers even get for him?

It’s definitely worth exploring a trade, but in my eyes, the best and most-likely scenario will be to keep Hall in his current role as a platoon third baseman and for infield depth. Hopefully his numbers improve a bit, and then he can improve his value for a possible trade in the off-season.

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2 responses to “What to do with Bill Hall?

  1. The Tampa Bay route makes sense, they have an obvious need there and we have traded Balfour there and Gross so there seems to be a history there, if that counts for anything.

  2. They have a ton of pitching too, so who knows.

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