All along it was thought Hardy would be traded for a starting pitcher, but Brewers' GM Doug Melvin obviously had other ideas. Getting a non-pitcher for Hardy is very surprising to most, but Melvin undoubtedly has more moves in his arsenal to improve the team.
Hardy fell out of favor with the Brewers this year and was sent to the Minors in August in favor of top prospect, Alcides Escobar. Escobar showed enough in his time with the Brewers that Melvin felt comfortable trading Hardy.
On the surface, most will probably think the Twins won this deal. As of today, they probably did.
The Twins receive a former All-Star shortstop that will add good defense and a power bat to go along with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Hardy is under team control for two more years. This move alone could keep the Twins atop the AL Central over the Tigers and White Sox.
Carlos Gomez will serve several purposes for the Brewers. The biggest attribute he'll bring to the Brewers is his speed. If Ken Macha decides to institute more of a running game, both Gomez and Escobar could very easily steal 30 bases next year.
Another upside with Gomez is his affordability and control. He is under team control for four more years and won't command too high of a salary in arbitration this year. It's imperative, however, that Gomez improve at the plate.
This move likely signals the end of Mike Cameron's time in Milwaukee. Cameron is a free agent that will likely command a high salary in 2010. The Brewers will lose power substituting Gomez for Cameron, but the defense shouldn't take much of a hit. He needs to raise his average on-base percentage significantly in order to justify getting rid of Cameron.
Cameron was a clubhouse leader with a great veteran presence. The 2010 Brewers will now be Prince Fielder's team on and off the field. Fielder would usually step aside to Cameron for matters in the locker room.
The Brewers had the third best offense in the National League last year, and that will take a severe hit losing Cameron. It's hard to imagine Ryan Braun and Fielder having better years than they did last season, so Melvin will be hoping that both Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart have above average years at the plate to offset Cameron's departure.
As a stand-alone move, this isn't a great start to the offseason for the Brewers. They lose too much offense while not addressing their starting pitching concerns. Luckily, the hot stove just got fired up and Doug Melvin has a few months to improve the team. Be patient Brewer fans as to not turn this into your winter of discontent.
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