Corey Hart Signs with the Mariners | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Another “core” piece of the Brewers’ rebuilding effort of the first half of the last decade left Milwaukee on Wednesday when first basemen Corey Hart signed a one year deal with the Mariners that could pay him as much as $13 million in 2014 if he hits all of the incentives. The group that once also included Ben Sheets, Prince Fielder and  JJ Hardy is now down to Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo and Rickie Weeks.

According to Tom Haudricourt, the Brewers never really got all that close:

Speaking on MLB Network at 5:30pm Central, Melvin basically said that the Mariners were able to outbid the Brewers because they can offer the opportunity to DH some days and give his two surgically repaired knees a rest. Obviously, the Brewers cannot do that and thus, have to accept a somewhat higher risk of injury and/or decline or plan on giving him many more days off.  So they have to price him somewhat lower than an AL team might, and the Mariners were in a position to make that sort of offer. That certainly makes sense, and it’s good to see that the Brewers were, in fact, pricing the probability of re-injury and further missed time into their final offer. That’s a sign someone in the organization is at least crunching the numbers.

From Hart’s perspective, the deal offers him the opportunity to prove he’s healthy again and then potentially hit the open market next offseason.  Hart will be playing half his games in Seattle next year, which figures to suppress some of the power numbers he’s put up over the years, though changes to the stadium layout there will ease some of that from what might have been the case a few years ago. One would hope, in this day and age, that all MLB teams would be smart enough to see through things like park effects, but moves to extremely pitcher-friendly parks have caused players to over-tinker in order to maintain their power, so Hart is going to have to be careful to avoid that.

A lot has been said, and will continue to be, regarding Hart’s repeated statements about being willing to accept less money to stay with the Brewers. Apparently the Mariners offered him enough more money than the Brewers that he felt the best decision was to make the switch. It’s generally bad form to criticize players for taking more money, because the sport is a business and teams (and fanbases) don’t generally show much loyalty to struggling players. Still, in this kind of a situation, Hart did repeatedly go out of his way to say he would be willing to accept less money to stay a Brewer, so it seems somewhat fair to at least ask how much of a discount was he really willing to take?

Shortly after the Hart signing, one of the Brewers fallback options also found himself a new Mariner when Logan Morrison was traded from Miami to Seattle. Just what the Mariners plan to do with Hart, Morrison and Justin Smoak is a problem more for Mariners blogs to wrestle with. It’s still worth noting that their surplus may lead to them putting Smoak on the market, which could certainly interest the Brewers down the line. Beyond them, Adam McCalvy tweeted that the Brewers do have “sincere interest” in former Tampa Bay Ray James Loney, but not to expect anything to happen on that front before the teams leave Orlando tomorrow.  Unless the Mets lower their asking price for Ike Davis, that doesn’t look like much of a possibility either.

So where does that leave the Brewers at this point? Looks like it’s back to the drawing board for now.  Of course, it probably wouldn’t be wise for Doug Melvin to leave 1B open too long, because super-agent Scott Boras happens to have the top man on the market in Kendrys Morales, and not only would the Brewers have to pay him Boras prices, but also would have to give up a draft pick to sign him. Given how the Kyle Lohse situation played out last spring, with owner Mark Attanasio reportedly overruling his GM to fill a position of need, Melvin needs to find a chair to sit in before the music winds down.

[Editor's Note: the original version of this post contained a, by then, out-of-date tweet about money involved in the deal. It was corrected once pointed out by Mr. Haudricourt]

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. dbug says: December 11, 2013

    Who would be a similar player that would satisfy the Mets? I’m starting to think Thornburg might not be too high a price.

    • Franco says: December 11, 2013

      Aoki for Davis was a no deal – Aoki was dealt for Will Smith, a marginal starter/likely bullpen arm – ergo, the way I see it, Melvin won’t give up anything more than a 5th starter/late inning bullpen arm.

  2. Jacoby says: December 11, 2013

    The incentives are a joke. If the Brewers truly wanted to keep Hart they would have offered him much higher incentives. There is no reason to be so cheap, as if he is on the field and producing he is generating much higher value that the maximum 6.5 million he could have earned. That is approximately about the price for 1 WAR in free agency. I have no problem moving on from Hart but that insulting offer is a joke to both Hart and the fans who thought the team was in on him.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: December 12, 2013

      It’s not a joke to offer 65% (including incentives) of Hart’s 2013 contract value after he missed an entire season.

      Why should the Brewers have offered more to an injury-prone, aging player that missed an entire season and would be playing on multiple knee surgeries?

  3. swisch says: December 11, 2013

    Truly sad to see Corey go, but maybe he would be better in the DH league.
    I would add Bill Hall and Tony Gwynn, Jr. to that promising list of young Brewers from bygone days of not so long ago. It’s so sad that it didn’t pan out, and the saddest part of all might be the story of Ryan Braun, who has broken my heart , and as far as I can tell, not made satisfactory explanation/reparation to get me back in his corner. I’m still rooting for Rickie to turn it around, but to me his margin for error is very small, perhaps the month of April and maybe May. That leaves Yovani, who I hope like and look forward to be at or near the top of a possibly very good pitching staff. Oh, what might have been…. I’m hopeful are current crop of young guys might yield a more rich and lasting of a harvest.

    • swisch says: December 11, 2013

      (Just to correct that last part) — That leaves Yovani, who I like, and look forward to him being at or near the top of a possibly very good starting rotation.
      Anyway, about that lost generation in general… oh, what might have been… alas! I am hopeful, though, that our current crop of young guys might yield a harvest that is more abundant and lasting.

    • Nicholas Zettel says: December 12, 2013

      How did it not pan out? The Brewers made two playoff appearances, including an LCS appearance, produced one of the very best seasons in franchise history, and posted one of the best records in the NL with this core.

      What more can we ask for than winning baseball with a young core?

      • Ryan Topp says: December 12, 2013

        Have to disagree there. I think it’s reasonable to have expected more from the 99-05 draftees than the 08 and 11 playoffs. That was an amazing core group providing massive value, and the only way they were able to make the playoffs was to empty the farm.

        The Brewers should have aspired to something more like what the Rays have accomplished, not what they ended up with.

  4. Bob Hale says: December 12, 2013

    Based on Melvin’s actions thus far, I believe he thinks Francisco is the answer at first base. For some reason which is beyond my understanding, the Brewer brain trust believes he will be a big time power hitting run producer. Of course, this is the same group that thought Ricky would “come around”. Time will tell… always does.

  5. Beep says: December 12, 2013

    My money is that Hart spends at least 1 month on the DL for his knees if not more. Thanks Corey for the good years, but best of luck in Seattle where he can DH some to save wear and tear on his old bones.

  6. c says: December 14, 2013

    Brewers have the talent. The big question is: Do primarily Roenicke, and his coaching staff, have what it takes to get Milwaukee back in the playoffs. With the Brewers talent level they should be able to make the playoffs. They may need to be the type of team that trades for an arm come September but they have the talent and SHOULD be playing much better and more focused, intense baseball. They didn’t last year. Team looked lazy on the field. The young guys like Gennet, Davis, and a bench player like Gindl helps but Roenicke needs to do more in his in game situations and his lineup card. Rickie Weeks should hit lead off this year to get him back in his groove of .200 BA and lots of strikeouts and ground balls to the left side. He’s an ideal lead off man. That is an obvious joke which makes me so baffled at why any manager would A. put him in the lineup when his swing looked so poor and B. Put him in the leadoff position???????????????? This is just my humble opinion and may seem harsh but unless there is some hidden reason for putting Weeks in the lead off position….it was completely nonsensical and I would have fired Roenicke after he did it.


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