Can the Milwaukee Brewers Wheel & Deal Corey Hart?

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By: Melissa S. Wollering

Earlier this week, we told you Corey Hart’s starting position in right field was up in the air for Opening Day. Now we’ve learned the Brewers organization tried to off-load Hart on Washington and pick-up free agent Jermaine Dye, but couldn’t come up with an agreement that satisfied.

If Hart stays with Milwaukee, fans will have to be satisfied with a .127 batting average (Hart’s numbers in Spring Training) and Jim Edmonds will likely see more playing time. As we discussed earlier this week, the thorn in the organization’s side is that Hart won his arbitration session this season the Brewers are now paying the Spring Training slumper $4.8M. Doug Melvin probably wanted something for Hart, but if they had decided to release him before Opening Day, the Brewers would have only been responsible for one-quarter his salary.

Melvin has neither confirmed nor denied that talks were occurring with Dye. I give him credit for trying to nip an already fan-fueled furor in the bud. One thing fans can rally around in the meantime: Jim Edmonds.

Edmonds wasn’t sure he would make the Milwaukee Brewers 40-man roster. He wasn’t even sure he would play in the majors this year. Now, he might get the opportunity to start for the Crew in RF on Opening Day against Colorado Rockies RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. For his age, Jim Edmonds is doing well. He works the pitch count at the plate, drives in runners and can still hustle around the bases. I think fans will enjoy watching the veteran this season but this doesn’t mean he’s an everyday RF.

Ken Macha made no bones about Corey Hart’s lack of spring performance. On Wednesday, Macha told the media that he hasn’t seen Hart have “three solid at-bats” yet. Um, yeah…that’s a problem.

Macha has also said, however, that any acquisition would have to be a “significant upgrade”. That could just mean Macha wants Melvin to stick to his guns and take as much as he can get for Hart. After all, there will be much wheeling and dealing amongst clubs this weekend.

Hart has had his ups and downs, sidelined last season to heal after physicians removed his appendix. Since then, Hart has decided to try corrective lenses to improve his sight. And back in 2008, Hart had a serious September slump that had fans calling for him to be benched in the NLDS. September has traditionally not been a good month for Hart. Usually, Hart starts strong and fades fast. He’s fading so fast, you can’t blame Melvin for thinking “let’s get something for him before the rest of the MLB finds out what we know.”

In other Brewers’ news, after a 14-14-2 Spring Training record, the first of two exhibition games against the Detriot Tigers begin at Miller Park Friday night. The bats should get a workout against impressive pitchers max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. If you’re headed there, you’ll see Doug Davis on the mound Friday; Dave Bush on Saturday.

LHPs Manny Parra and Chris Narveson now know their roles. They’ll start the season in the bullpen. Mitch Stetter will be the situational lelfty while Parra and Narveson will seize long-relief. Macha is not opposed to using either for one-inning stints and feels they will easily slide right back into their starting roles when the time comes.

The starting lineup is also firming up. It will likely resemble something close to this: Weeks, Gomez, Braun, Fielder, McGehee, Escobar, Edmonds, Zaun. I can see the end of this lineup changing most frequently. I can see Gomez leading off from time-to-time so as not to stifle the production of Braun and Fielder.

And on a totally unrelated note, I’m going to start a Coffee Talk mention as often as I can in honor of perhaps the most gutsy and intriguing Milwaukee Brewer: Todd Coffey. Yeah, that’s the guy they clock as he sprints from the bullpen to the plate for relief work. This week in Arizona, Coffey had a plugged ear, so he did one of those “plug your nose and blow a snotrocket” things. He ruptured his eardrum. It was bleeding. He went out and pitched (not well) on Wednesday anyway. Yeah, his equilibrium and balance was completely off! So we’ll disregard his performance that day.

I’ll continue to chronicle developments as we lead up to your Christmas morning and mine, Opening Day 2010. For the Brewers, that means Monday, April 5, live from Miller Park.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    That injury is hilarious, like the time Kerry Wood injured himself getting out of a hot tub. I actually inured my knee doing the same thing on a homecoming visit to champaign.

    still can’t believe jermain dye isn’t on a mlb roster

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