Corey Hart Rumors

Brewers Extend Corey Hart Through 2013

The Brewers announced today that they've extended right fielder Corey Hart through 2013.  ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the extension is worth $26.5MM.  The contract covers Hart's final arbitration season and two free agent years.  Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel tweets the details: a $1MM signing bonus, $6.5MM in 2011, $9MM in '12, and $10MM in '13 plus a limited no-trade clause.

Hart wasn't far from being a non-tender candidate after a disappointing 2009 season.  The Brewers retained him but lost an arbitration hearing regarding his 2010 salary ($4.8MM).  Hart bounced back in a big way, making the All-Star team and posting a .288/.346/.565 line so far.  He's tied for sixth in the NL with 23 home runs.  His name was a rumor mill staple last month until a wrist injury sidelined him, though GM Doug Melvin implied today that discussions did not get to a serious stage.  Just yesterday Hart talked about his desire for an extension; it turns out assistant GM Gord Ash had been hammering out the deal over the past week or so with Hart's agent Jeff Berry.

Also in Hart's service time class: Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks, who are under team control through 2011.


Hart Wants Contract Extension

Corey Hart is going public with his desire for a contract extension in Milwaukee, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.  Hart, who has been with the Brewers for his entire major league career, remained with the club after being linked to the Giants in the weeks leading up to the deadline.

Hart will be under club control through 2011, but says that he wants to stay with the club for longer:

"They know that," the two-time All-Star said. "I think, obviously, there are different variables. They have to figure out what to do with Prince [Fielder] and whether I'm part of what their long-term [plan] is."

As McCalvy points out, the Brewers haven't had an easy time negotiating with Hart's agent Jeff Berry in the past.  Their most recent duel resulted in the two sides going to arbitration over Hart's contract following the 2009 season.  Berry's client won the hearing, the Brewers' first since 1998.

After flirting with dealing Hart at the deadline, one has to wonder if Milwaukee will look to deal him in the offseason rather than lock him up long-term.


Giants Still Active

2:56pm: It doesn't look like anything will happen with the Giants and Hart, tweets Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

2:28pm: Lots of familiar names still in play for the Giants, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, including perhaps Corey Hart again.

2:17pm: The Diamondbacks, Giants, and Blue Jays have discussed a three-way deal, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  For the moment I'll leave the speculation to the commenters, but we know the Giants like Kelly Johnson from Arizona as well as Jays relievers and Jose Bautista.  The Jays have had interest in Johnson as well.



Fielder & Hart Are Off The Market

The Brewers have decided that they’re too close to contention to sell, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law. An executive from a club that had interest in a Brewers player explained to Law that Milwaukee has changed its approach to Saturday's deadline. That means Prince Fielder and Corey Hart are no longer available to teams seeking power bats.

The Brewers are 48-55, 9.0 games behind the Reds and even further behind in the Wild Card race. They have a 0.33% chance of making the playoffs in 2010, according to Baseball Prospectus' postseason odds report.

The Brewers didn't make progress with the Giants in their talks about Fielder and Hart, partly because of the wrist injury that has sidelined Hart since Friday. Both players are under team control for 2011, so the Brewers can reignite trade talks after the season.


Giants Not Making Progress With Brewers

The Giants are still actively looking for an impact bat, but discussions about Brewers sluggers Corey Hart and Prince Fielder are "dead in the water," according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  That's not a surprise, since Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Twitter that the Brewers plan to hold off on trades until tomorrow at the earliest. Hart has an injured right wrist, so the Brewers aren't likely to deal him until he proves his ability to hit.

Injuries to Hart and David DeJesus have not derailed the Giants' search for a bat. They have been connected to Jose Guillen, Josh Willingham, Scott Podsednik and Adam Dunn in the last 24 hours.  The asking price for Dunn?  Madison Bumgarner, says Schulman. 

GM Brian Sabean is also interested in adding relief help, though the market is tough at this point.  Schulman says the Giants are "investigating" Seattle's Brandon League.


Olney’s Latest: Tigers, Hart, Sheets

Injuries could play a part in increasing trading before Saturday's deadline, writes ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link). With a handful of teams, most notably the Tigers, seeing key players head to the disabled list, many clubs' needs are in flux. Detroit, for instance, had been focusing on acquiring a starting pitcher, but with Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez all recently placed on the DL, the team may need to look into bats as well. Here are the other highlights of Olney's column:

  • If the Tigers pursue an outfielder, they could ask about Jayson Werth, Jose Guillen, or Jeff Francoeur. Dave Dombrowski has said he won't trade top prospects for rental players though, according to this tweet by Tom Gage of the Detroit News.
  • Corey Hart's hand injury doesn't appear serious, but one GM tells Olney: "If [the Brewers] are going to get anything in a trade, he's got to play before the deadline and show he's healthy."
  • Scouts had noticed a dip in Ben Sheets' velocity and less use of his breaking ball before the right-hander hit the DL with elbow trouble. Olney notes that Oakland's "Matt Holliday plan" has been a bust in Sheets' case, since his injury means they're stuck with him.
  • Olney hears from a GM that there's "a lot of conversation about a lot of players" happening right now, meaning we could see a flurry of trade activity this week.

Odds & Ends: Hart, Angels, Blue Jays, Mariners

Some links for Saturday as Roy Oswalt prepares to make what might be the final start of his Astros' career…


Odds & Ends: Lilly, Braves, Reds, Berkman

Links for Friday night….


Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Gillies, Oswalt, Hart, Lilly

On this date ten years ago, a 36-year-old Barry Larkin signed a three-year contract extension with the Reds worth $27MM. This came a day after Larkin invoked his ten-and-five rights to block a trade to the Mets, who agreed to send then-top prospect Alex Escobar and two others to Cincinnati. New York dealt Melvin Mora and three other players to Baltimore for Mike Bordick five days later, filling their shortstop hole. Larkin, the first 30-30 shortstop in baseball history, hit just .257/.328/.372 during the life of the extension.

Here are some links with the trade deadline seemingly right around the corner…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.


Royals Notes: DeJesus, Trades, Ankiel, Gordon

David DeJesus left tonight's Royals/Yankees game with a sprained right thumb, suffered after colliding with the wall in an attempt to catch a Derek Jeter fly ball.  MLB.com's Tim Britton reports that DeJesus will miss the rest of the four-game series, and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that DeJesus will see a hand specialist on Friday.  "He might be out a while," Dutton warns.

With Kansas City's luck, would it be any surprise if the team's most attractive trading chip had to go on the DL in the week before the deadline?  Here are some (possibly now moot) DeJesus trade chatter and other Royals-related items…

  • Royals GM Dayton Moore appeared on Jim Bowden's XM 175 radio show today, and told Bowden that teams interested in DeJesus were looking at him to play left or right field, not center.  (Twitter link)
  • Bowden also tweeted Moore's comment that he's talking to 3-6 teams about trades but also "checking in" with others.  The Royals are focusing on moving players in the last year of their contracts.
  • One such player is Rick Ankiel, who has a $6MM mutual option for 2011 that K.C. is unlikely to pick up.  Ankiel has been called up by the Royals in what Craig Calcaterra of NBCSports.com thinks is a showcase for a possible trade, but still a bad roster move given how Alex Gordon's Triple-A numbers make him far more worthy of a return to the majors.
  • ESPN.com's Rob Neyer also comments on the Ankiel call-up, and notes that "suddenly the Royals have some of the best prospects in the minors."  The issue, as Neyer explains, is that these prospects are blocked by underperforming veterans.
  • Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter) quotes a Royals source who says that K.C. would have to "win the deal" for the team to move DeJesus.
  • Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the Giants "continue to keep tabs" on DeJesus, "but the asking price remained high."  Baggarly says San Francisco has more interest in Washington's Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham.
  • The Padres have been connected to DeJesus in trade rumors, but MLB.com's Corey Brock tweets that "not everyone in the Padres camp is sold on [Corey] Hart or DeJesus. Regardless of asking price."