Trading Corey Hart Is a Bad Idea for the Milwaukee Brewers

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJune 3, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 19: Corey Hart #1 of the Milwaukee Brewers slides into third against the New York Mets at Citi Field on April 19, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

There has been a lot of talk lately that several teams have been scouting Corey Hart in hopes of acquiring him from the Brewers later this year.

Luckily, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said that Corey Hart isn't available for a trade, but still there are those that think trading Hart would be a good thing.

Trading Hart right now makes zero sense for the Brewers for several reasons. Melvin understands that and that's why Hart will remain on the team for the foreseeable future.

Hart had an outstanding 2007 that saw him become an everyday player for the Brewers. He hit .295 with 24 home runs and 23 stolen bases in 140 games played.

After getting off to a good start in 2008, Brewer fans rewarded Hart with an All-Star game appearance when he won the fan vote.

Since that time, it has been a steady downfall in his performance on the field.

At the All-Star break last year, Hart was hitting .289 with 15 home runs. By the end of the season, Hart had fallen to a .268 average with only five more home runs in the final two-and-a-half months of the season.

Things got worse for Hart in the playoffs. Many Brewer fans still haven't gotten over his performance in Game Two against the Phillies in the NLDS.

The Brewers had already scored a run against Brett Myers in the top of the first. Myers had walked two straight batters to load the bases and it looked as if the Brewers were going to deliver a knockout punch early on.

Instead of taking a pitch, Hart pounced on Myers' initial offering and hit into an inning-ending double play. Momentum shifted into the Phillies' dugout and the Brewers never had a chance the rest of the game.

The 2009 season has been equally frustrating for Hart. He is hitting only .258 with six homers and three steals. He has lost a ton of value on the trading market and other teams know that, thus the interest in trying to "buy" Hart while he's down.

That is part of the problem in trading Hart at this point. You won't get equal value for him with his struggles in the past year. He is quite capable of being a 30/30 player if given the chance, and teams are smart to try and add that to their team.

Most feel that if Hart is traded it will be for pitching. I have a couple of problems with that.

As I said, you won't get equal value in return with a pitcher that can help contribute to the Brewers this season as they try and make another run at the playoffs. Teams are likely to offer only a pitching prospect with upside for Hart. The Brewers don't need that this year.

Another point against a Hart trade would be finding his replacement. Jody Gerut is a nice player, but he's not someone I have confidence in playing every day in right field.

The Brewers' top two outfield prospects are Cole Gillespie and Lorenzo Cain. Gillespie is hitting only .204 at Triple-A Nashville this season. Cain is currently injured and his timetable for a big league debut has been pushed back probably until 2011.

There will be some fans that say just put Mat Gamel in right field. You will have Gamel playing every day, and Bill Hall can continue to play solid defense at third base.

In theory that idea is nice, but you just can't throw a position change at Gamel. There is a reason that the Brewers made the change with Ryan Braun in the offseason. It takes a lot of time to adjust to playing the outfield, and fans would just be asking for trouble if Gamel made the switch now.

There is one scenario that I could see developing where I might be okay with trading Corey Hart.

The Giants were one of the teams that showed interest in Hart. If the Brewers sent Hart and a prospect to the Giants for Randy Winn and a pitcher, that would be a deal that could work for the Brewers.

Winn is a switch-hitter with good speed and plays very solid defense. The pitcher would be the key to the deal.

No, I don't think the Brewers would get Matt Cain. The team would have to give up several high-level prospects and that's just not smart for the Brewers to do at this point. If they can get another arm for their bullpen or get someone like Jonathan Sanchez, then it would be a very good deal for the Brewers.

I don't think any player is untouchable on the Brewers. If a player can be traded to make the team better, then so be it. In Corey Hart's case, his time isn't now. Despite his struggles, he is still too valuable a member of the team to be shipped away.


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