The most valuable, historically significant bit in this Nick Cafardo column-o-rama is the opening section about Allard Baird and his value to the Red Sox, which is gratifying in a variety of ways. I'm not going to run a clip here, because I'm hoping you'll go ahead and read the whole bit for yourself.
This part, though, I will give you:
- 9. Corey Hart, OF, Brewers — He’s available and the Giants have been very interested. The Brewers understand that, given the great season he’s had, he’ll be very expensive in arbitration, which could hinder their plan to keep Prince Fielder. However, the Brewers aren’t completely buried in the NL Central, and don’t forget Ken Macha took Oakland from 15 games below .500 at the end of May in 2005 to first place by Sept. 1. Do the Brewers trade Hart for starting pitching? If they heat up, do they become players for Cliff Lee? This is an interesting team to watch over the next couple of weeks.
By the way, some turnaround for a player who opened the season as a platoon guy and wasn't submitted by his team for the All-Star ballot.
Granted, Cafardo wrote the above a few days ago, but it's hard to support the argument that the Brewers "aren't completely buried in the NL Central" ... they're 10.5 games out of first place! They're 8.5 games behind the second-place team! Only three teams in the entire National League have worse records!
As fans, we should never discount the possibility of miracles, but Milwaukee's front office simply cannot make any decisions this month with the postseason in mind. Not in 2010, anyway. If the Brewers look at their roster and think they've got a reasonable chance of contending in 2011, then it might make sense to retain Hart, who's still under team control next season. Especially considering that Hart's successor doesn't seem to be immediately at hand.
Meanwhile, the Giants aren't in quite the same leaky boat this season, but they too should think hard before making a big 2010 push. They're in fourth place, and eight National League teams have better records. Like the Brewers, they should be thinking about 2011. Which doesn't mean Hart wouldn't be a good fit. The Giants figure to be competitive again next season, and there's nothing wrong with a pre-emptive strike. Alex Rios didn't help the White Sox win last year, but this year he's been one of their best players.