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Bill Hall Traded Again

Former Brewer Bill Hall is on the move again. This time, he’s reportedly headed to Boston in a deal for Casey Kotchman.

Why does this concern the Brewers? Because Milwaukee is still paying a significant part of his salary this season. When Hall was traded for minor league pitcher Ruben Flores last season, it was reported that the Brewers were on the hook for Hall’s entire 2009 salary, as well as up to $7.15 million of his $8.4 million salary in 2010.

In this deal, the Red Sox swap out what would’ve been a relatively expensive bench player for one they basically get for free. From Seattle’s perspective, Jack Z essentially turned a 25-year old A-ball pitcher (Flores) into Kotchman, who could be a solid contributor for the M’s. And the Brewers are still paying Hall $7 million to play for someone else…at least he comes off the books after this season.

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Bill Hall Traded to Seattle

Well, it wasn’t for Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang, but Bill Hall is no longer a Milwaukee Brewer.  In return, the Brewers receive minor league reliever Ruben Flores.

Tom Haudricourt updated his first blog post, saying that the Brewers will also be paying a large portion of Hall’s salary — crediting SI.com, he notes that the Brewers will pay the rest of Hall’s salary this year, as well as a large chunk of next year’s salary (as much as $7.15 million).

I guess it’s better than just eating the entire contract by releasing him, but it’s also less than what many were expecting to get in a trade for Hall, even if the Brewers would’ve had to add in some mid-level prospects to sweeten the pot.  For as frustrating as Hall has been the past couple years, he takes with him plenty of good memories, too.  For that reason, I hope he can find his swing again and become a solid contributor.  With any luck, Flores will contribute something in a bullpen role.

Melvin Looking for Hall Suitors

I didn’t think it was possible, but apparently there are teams interested in acquiring Bill Hall.  Rumors have been circulating about the Reds possibly being interested ever since Hall was designated for assignment.  According to Adam McCalvy, there may be something to those rumors.

In his latest blog entry, McCalvy reports that Doug Melvin is “working on something” in regards to Hall.  As the mlb.com reporter notes, the Brewers don’t have to make a decision on Hall until Friday, but it appears Melvin may find a taker before the end of the work week.

Melvin declined to comment on trade talks, as usual, but Cincinnati would be the most obvious trade partner.  Hall has always hit well at Great American Ballpark (and against the Reds in general) and he wouldn’t have to adjust to any new opposing pitchers.  The Reds could use a guy who can play anywhere in the infield, considering Scott Rolen requires regular rest to stay healthy and they just traded Alex Gonzalez to Boston.  The Reds also have something the Brewers desperately need — starting pitching.  There have been rumors that the Reds are peddling Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang — two pitchers who are outrageously overpaid, just like Hall. 

If anything, it makes sense in terms of filling needs and swapping overpaid talent.  Harang is scheduled to make $12.5 million next season, with a 2011 option for $12.75 million that can be bought out for $2 million.  Arroyo, meanwhile, is owed $11 million next year with another $11 million tied into a 2011 option. 

We’ll see what happens, but if I had to choose between the two, I’d probably go with Harang.  He’s shown to at least be a fairly above-average pitcher when healthy, but has been run into the ground by Cincinnati’s various managers the past few years.  In the off chance that he’ll enter next season fully rested and not being counted on to carry a pitching staff, he’ll provide a lot more to the team than Arroyo, who’s been extremely average his entire career.  Adding Arroyo would be no different than bringing back Braden Looper next year or signing a Doug Davis type. 

Is Macha Next?

After all the events on what was called “Black Wednesday” at One Brewers Way, one man managed to escape with his job — manager Ken Macha.  While Bill Castro, J.J. Hardy, and Bill Hall were all shown the door yesterday, Macha will continue to manage this team.  Of course, the question is just how long he’ll be the manager.

During yesterday afternoon’s press conference, Doug Melvin sounded less than enthused about Macha’s performance at this point in the season.  When asked whether Macha should feel nervous, Melvin alluded to the fact that changing managers (again) will be considered.

Some of you will remember that Macha signed a two-year deal upon securing the job this past offseason, a contract that many found as an early sign that the Brewers’ front office wasn’t entirely confident in their new hire.  The Brewers, like most Major League teams, don’t like having their managers answering questions about job security when they’re in the last year of their contract.  As a result, they typically give an extension before the manager enters that final season — it happened with Ned Yost, and many anticipated Macha to get that extension with a reasonably successful season this year.  The only problem?  Macha hasn’t done much to warrant that extension.

We saw what happened to Castro when the entire pitching staff except Yovani Gallardo and Trevor Hoffman underperformed compared to their career numbers.  Hitting coach Dale Sveum may be on the chopping block considering how poorly most of the roster has hit this year, too.  Macha has seemed out of touch with his players at times this year, and has shown a propensity to prefer crappy veterans over promising prospects in his starting lineups — something you don’t want to see when you’re running a small-market club.  The fact that Melvin had to sit Macha down and explain to him that Alcides Escobar will be starting 4 or 5 times a week seems to indicate that the front office wasn’t pleased with how Macha handled Mat Gamel’s time on the active roster and wanted to make sure Craig Counsell wasn’t going to be the everyday shortstop with Hardy in the minors.

The only staff member who’s seemingly done their job well this year is Willie Randolph, who’s connected well with many of the team’s younger players and made the likes of Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder passable defensive players.  It’s only speculation, but to me, it seems logical and entirely possible that Willie Randolph could be this team’s manager at the start of 2010.

I’m curious to know what others think.  Should Macha be brought back?  If not, who should the Brewers target to replace him?

Bill Hall Optioned to AAA

July 30, 2009 1 comment

I’m trying to think of a different reaction to this other than “it’s about damn time.”  Hall has accepted an assignment to AAA Nashville, where he will presumably work on fixing his timing at the plate.  The only question is where he’ll play.

According to reports, the team asked Hall to accept an assignment earlier this month, but he declined.  It seems as though Hall reconsidered following the Felipe Lopez trade, however, realizing that Lopez can play all of the positions he can.  Hall says he wasn’t told how long he’ll be in Nashville, but the general assumption seems to be he’ll be there until the Brewers return from a West coast road trip.  Because Hall has 5+ years of service time, he had the right to refuse assignment to the minors.

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