Monday, August 2, 2010

Extending Corey Hart?

This weekend the Brewers played one of the five most depressing baseball series I’ve ever seen. Faced with a Houston club that just traded away their two best players and who had every incentive to throw in the towel, the Brewers managed to score only 2 runs. They saw their own pitching staff get lit up. They saw Carlos Gomez continue to prove that he is the dumbest person in the world.

And to top it all off they gave a 3 year contract extension to Corey Hart. On the surface it doesn’t look too terrible. Hart is playing well and his new deal allegedly pays him about $8.5 million per season.

Well, it is terrible. First of all, you never want to buy high, you want to sell high. The Brewers bought high on Hart. This season is built largely on an unsustainable HR/FB ration (see Jim Breen’s analysis) and Hart is likely to decline back into average (or worse) production from here on out.

But even if he doesn’t, it’s still a terrible deal. The Brewers first and foremost need pitching, and Hart could have brought you pitching if not now, then in the offseason. Moreover, this move sets the Brewer corner outfield positions in stone for 3 years. You have a prospect in Mat Gamel who is going to need one of those corner slots to play in the majors as it looks like there is no chance he can hold down 3rd base at any level. Therefore, this move doesn’t just remove Hart as potential trade bait; it also indirectly hurts Gamel’s trade value by blocking him from the big club.

Hart is a decent enough player. His OPS+ is generally 100 or better and at 28 he is certainly not over the hill, but the Brewers are in desperate need of pitching prospects. Medium-talent players (like Hart) having career years are the perfect trade deadline tools, and choosing to not only not trade him, but also to extend him, hurts the team in the long run.


JAMOOL said...

It's true they need pitching...but I don't think any was offered for Hart. Besides, it is likely Fielder will be traded for pitching so there you go...

Everyone assumes Hart is gonna decline horribly and become Bill Hall pt. 2 but I don't see it...he's seeing the ball much better than he was, and not coincidentally he's hitting it much better. Truth be told if we really bought out Hart based on this season alone he'd probably be getting like $15-18m. I think this deal is a good thing.

E.S.K. said...

While normal people agree, Doug Melvin thinks you're insane. Buying high is EXACTLY the philosophy he loves. Bill Hall, Jeff Suppan, Ryan Braun, Randy Wolfe, Casey McGehee and now Hart. Melvin loves nothing more than giving a guy extra years and money after their penultimate season.

It's kind of his thing.

DannyNoonan said...

Maybe they think Matt Gamel can play first base. They'll need somebody there next year.

tracker said...

Maybe they're not convinced Gamel can play at all. An .840 at Nashville isn't much to get excited about. Hell, Trent Oeltjen's .885 got him cut.

I agree generally, though. Hart had turned into a trading chip of value, and even Katin had started to look like a potential heir apparent in RF (.267/.364/.511).