Keeping the Hart at Home: Milwaukee Brewers Extend Corey Hart's Contract
They say "Home is where the heart is," and that saying is truer now than it has been all season in Milwaukee.
Except now the saying goes, "Home is where the Hart is."
MLB.com's Adam McCalvy has reported that Corey Hart, 28, has signed a contract extension with the Brewers to continue his memorable season.
As recently as May, a contract of this manner would never have been fathomable. Hart, coming off the team's first arbitration hearing since 1998, was not making regular appearances in the lineup.
Fans and media alike, as in 2009, were on Hart's case after he won a $4.8 million salary and was not producing. Then a walk-off home run against New York, followed by a grand slam the next night out, jolted a season that has led to an All-Star appearance.
Just call it a story we never expected.
"I'm anxious to go out there and prove to everybody that I'm worth it," he said in spring training. "I told [GM] Doug [Melvin] and [assistant GM] Gord [Ash] that I want to go out and prove to them that I'm a guy who could get a long-term deal.
"I love Milwaukee, my family loves it, and we want to stay. The fanbase has been really good to me, and the ones who are mad, hopefully I can win them back over."
Corey will bring to Chicago, along with his new contract, a .288 average, 23 home runs, 72 RBI, and a .910 OPS.
ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Hart will bring in $26.5 million during the three-year deal.
The deal covers 2011-2013, which would have been Corey's final year of arbitration and first two free agency seasons.
Just days ago a subject of trade rumors, including the Giants making a serious late push, Hart now is locked up until age 31 with the Brewers.
The signing may reveal that Melvin is open to trading Prince Fielder this winter for pitching. Rickie Weeks may also re-sign along with Hart.
Hart was the first young star to crack through to the big leagues, making his debut with the Brewers in 2004. He was followed by Weeks, Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, and Yovani Gallardo.
He said all along he would like to stay in Brew Town.
"I would be disappointed to be traded away from the Brewers, because this is the only team I know," he said last month. "I would like to stick it out here and help to turn things around."
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