Posted by Steve
The Brewers made an interesting move for sure, as they signed Corey Hart to a three year deal reportedly worth $26.5 million. Headlines are calling it a three-year extension, but really it’s a three year deal and only a two year extension. Hart was under contract next season, and the deal includes next year, so it buys out two years of free agency.
This is a calculated risk. I love the fact that it’s only two more years. I was terrified it would be like a five year contract or something. Short term contracts are generally the way to go, as it minimizes risk. If Hart reverts to his 2008/2009 self, it would hurt–but it won’t be a franchise crippler the way Jeff Suppan’s contract was.
This is an interesting twist after the last few weeks of trade rumors surrounding Hart. The Brewers were strangely silent at the deadline. On one hand, it’s frustrating, but on the other, at least the didn’t make a trade just to make a trade, a la the Diamondbacks with Dan Haren. That deal was widely and almost unanimously panned as soon as it occurred. Do yourself a quick favor and check out GM Jerry DiPoto’s comments on the deal. An MLB GM using not only wins to justify a move, but minor league wins? I continue to be astounded by some of the people put in charge of teams.
So, yeah. If the Brewers weren’t going to get what they wanted for Hart, this is probably the best alternative. It would have been tough to replace both Fielder and Hart after 2011, and now they don’t have to. I don’t love it, because in essence the Brewers are buying fairly high on on of their own players. The writing is on the wall with Fielder, though; he’s as good as gone in the off-season. It sounds like the Brewers are interested in re-signing Rickie Weeks as well. Finally, they are sounding like they’ll move Mat Gamel around and try Brett Lawrie at third.
The question is who will replace Fielder at first? I’m not sure Gamel will hit enough to play there. Same goes for McGehee, who is a terrible defender at third. His days here should be numbered. Hart was a 1B in the minors, but that’s quite a long time ago now.
What I’d like to see will probably not happen, but I’ll throw it out there anyway: give Gamel a longer leash at third and move Ryan Braun to first. Braun was awful at third base, so they moved him to an easier position. Now, he’s still awful in left field. There’s only one easier position left, but they should give it a try. They need to do something to improve team defense. Replacing McGehee at third, Fielder at first, and Braun in left would go a long way towards accomplishing that.