The biggest problem for the Milwaukee Brewers this year may not be their starting rotation, or even whether or not to send Mat Gamel down to Nashville.
I think their biggest decision is in regards to the four-year, $24 million man—Bill Hall.
The 29-year-old from Nettleton, Mississippi is the cause of many headaches to Brewers fans, but there may be a simple solution to all of this.
Every team does it with a middle of the pack player, and that is to send him down to Triple-A, or lower, to help him get his game back.
Milwaukee has already done it to Rickie Weeks and Tony Gwynn, Jr., and is currently doing it to Manny Parra.
So, why not send Billy down for a month-long tuneup in the minor leagues?
Hall is nowhere near what he was in 2006, and people still question the one-year spike.
He was drafted in the sixth round of the 1998 Draft, and (slowly but surely) his numbers were on the rise. Then Hall was signed to a multi-year deal, and it acted as a kiss of death.
Take a look:
2002: 19 G, seven hits, 2B, 3B, HR, 5 RBI, three BB, 13 K, .194/.256 OBP/.361 SLG/.617
2003: 52 G, 37 H, nine(2B), two(3B), five HR, 20 RBI, seven BB, 28 K, .261/.298/.458/.756
2004: 126 G, 93 H, 20(2B), three(3B), nine HR, 53 RBI, 20 BB, 119 K, .238/.276/.374/.650
2005: 146 G, 146 H, 39(2B), 6(3B), 17 HR, 62 RBI, 39 BB, 103 K, .291/.342/.495/.837
2006: 148 G, 101 R, 145 H, 39(2B), 4(3B), 35 HR, 85 RBI, 63 BB, 162 K, .270/.345/.553/.898
2007: 136 G, 115 H, 35(2B), 14 HR, 63 RBI, 40 BB, 128 K, .254/.315/.425/.740
2008: 128 G, 91 H, 22(2B), 3B, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 37 BB, 124 K, .225/.293/.396/.689
2009 (through 7/5): 62 G, 37 H, 10(2B), five HR, 18 RBI, 15 BB, 59 K, .198/.256/.332/.588
Career: 817 G, 2,645 AB, 366 R, 671 H, 175(2B), 17(3B), 101 HR, 361 RBI, 49 SB, 224 BB, 736 K, .254/.312/.447/.759
Hall has been hovering the Mendoza Line (.200) for quite a while now, but when will management realize that this is a problem that needs fixing?
Granted, if you take Hall off the roster, you lose a right-left platoon at the hot corner, but a stint in the minor leagues may make Hall the player that he once was.
I know a lot of you are thinking that the Brewers should trade him away, or just down right dump him.
Here's why you're wrong.
Bill Hall plays great defense, even when he can't hit the broad side of a barn at the plate. For eight years, it's always been that way with Hall.
He excels at second base, third base, and shortstop. Just when he mastered those three positions, the Brewers asked him to move to center field.
Did Billy balk at the idea?
He accepted the move like a professional and continued to work hard to excel at a fourth position.
One year later, he's back to the infield. You'd think that this would cause some hiccups in the defense, but not for Hall.
Even this year through 60 games in the field, Hall has committed just three errors in 149 chances, and has been involved in 13 double plays while playing third base.
For the man who once destroyed left-handed pitching, Hall has found himself in a deep offensive slump, mostly due to the fact that he is tweaking his swing.
So, if that's the case, wouldn't you want him getting four at bats everyday to work out the kinks?
That's simply not going to happen while he's still in Milwaukee. Send him to Nashville where he can take hits cuts on a consistent basis and possibly get back to form.
A move to the minors for Hall would also allow the Brewers to see if Gamel truly is major league ready.
It's a win-win situation for Milwaukee.
If Gamel struggles, then they're no better off than when they sent Hall down a level in the first place. If Hall can get "it" back, then the Brewers get another bat to return to the lineup.
Sure Hall would be furious. First, Gamel gets called up and puts questions in his head, then he gets shipped to Nashville.
If this move were to happen, I can guarantee you the following things would happen:
Hall will get over it and realize it needed to be done, work his ass off to get back to Milwaukee, and prove that he can be the third best hitter on the Brewers' roster.
So give Billy a break, and a chance to clear his head in Nashville (because this problem is definitely a mental thing).
Make the move now, and by August, Milwaukee could have two new starting pitchers (the new Manny Parra and one traded) and the old Bill Hall back in the dugout.
Sometimes, as a player, you have to move backwards before you can go forward again.