Results tagged ‘ Corey Hart ’

Sometimes You “Gotta Have Hart”


Kevin Cox/ Getty Images

I was excited when I first heard that the Tampa Bay Rays were exploring a possible trade scenario of plucking Milwaukee Brewers’ slugger Corey Hart and bringing him and his big bat to the Tampa Bay area. But after a few days of thinking with both logic and emotion, the truth of the reality sets in that by opening the Rays farm system vault, or possibly sending a member of our rotation north to Milwaukee, I am having second thoughts. It is not as if I do not think it is a prudent and totally plus deal for the Rays, but I am saddled with the reminder that Hart is still in his arbitration years, and with his current monster-sized 2010 season, could be a fiscal nightmare for the Rays in 2011.

Last season during an Arbitration hearing in St. Petersburg, Florida, Hart was awarded a $ 3.5 million salary for 2010. That is comparable with his peers, but after a out of character season like 2010 is becoming, could his price escalate to above $ 4.5-5 million salary and block the Rays from maybe extending their hands to a few of their Free Agents?

Sure Hart has the baseball ability and strength to help propel the Rays a bit closer to the reality of getting back into the Playoff mix, but is he the key ingredient needed for this formula to gel? Does Hart possess that magical element missing from the Rays line-up in 2010, or be another strike against the team as they search for that last vital piece of the puzzle?

So far in 2010, the Rays have an 0-2 count against them in trying to find a viable big bat to fill their Designated Hitter slot. We have seen the “pulling of the plug” on the Pat Burrell experiment this season (Strike One ). Then we saw the Rays front office go the complete opposite direction to finally promoting our in-house cry baby, disgruntled Rays employee Hank Blalock got his shot at securing the position.

Blalock provided some brief moments of hitting clarity, but was constantly a bit out of focus with the Rays visions and intentions for the position (Strike Two). With two pretty visual strikes against the Rays front office in their ever changing quest for a power bat, could the addition of Hart provide the ultimate difference from now into October? Are the Rays searching and sprinting in the right direction for a possible payoff pitch, or could we be subject to a called third strike if we do not find a suitable upgrade before the end of the Trade Deadline?.

Around the beginning of the 81st All-Star game celebrations, I was among those within the Rays Republic singing small phrases like the musical “You got to have heart” and thinking of Hart using his Canadian twin Cory Hart’s song “Never Surrenderas his walk-up music. I was searching to get in touch with my inner- Brewer side and remember the past great trade relationships with the Brew Crew that brought us Rays reliever Grant Balfour or our own set of outfield plug-in twins Gabe Gross and Gabe Kapler. On the trade surface, there seemed to be a “win-win” attitude swirling and gaining momentum towards a deal.

Could the Rays be lucky enough to go to the player well three times with the Brewers’ and still pluck a winner from the barrel? Or could we finally have pressed our good luck enough to come up with a dud, or a player who might have peaked a bit early in 2010? This has been a constant thought as I gazed over Hart’s 2010 numbers. It is great that Hart has appeared in 82 games ( all in Rightfield ) this season for the Brew Crew. And it was a great sight to see that Hart went 9-30 (.300 average) in Milwaukee’s last home stand before the All-Star break.

Dilip Vishnan/ Getty Images

Combine the two previous statistics of hitting goodness into the melting pot with the fact that Hart has led the Major Leagues with 18 HR and 53 RBI since May 15th, and has hit safely in 25 of his last 26 games and you get a appetizing recipe for success. Hart’s current 2010 stats just seem to leap out at you as a surefire and clear cut replacement either at Designated Hitter or in Rightfield for the rest of the season. I winch somehow among all of this positive energy and vibe regarding these statistics. Maybe I am used to seeing the premise of success hindered by the plight of reality for this Rays teams. Both of our previous choices seemed to be deemed a positive move, until they failed and were tossed like yesterday’s news.

Hart’s 2010 stats leap out at me with the brilliance of a star. The innate possibility of this being Hart’s peak MLB season glows ever so bright to me. I do not feel secure in the fact this could just be the crest of a young hitter finally finding his groove and place within the MLB. Making this apparently easy decision even harder for me was the fact he slugged out 13 HR in the First Round of the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday night, with a few of them beautiful monster shots that the Rays crave in their line-up. But how many of those shots are left in his arsenal for 2010? And will he keep the consistency and the power at peak efficiency for the rest of the season…and beyond?

Then someone tosses more positive trade affirmations on top of Hart’s already glowing resume’ of his recent 20-game hitting streak, which was the longest in the National League this season. All of a sudden we see that not only could Hart produce a few power moments in the Rays lineup, but he also could also bring some sense of consistent hitting to the table too. Is he the ever tempting double-edged sword the Rays have been searching for? As I continued to view the RHP and LHP splits of Hart’s accomplishments this season, the Pros and Cons of trading for Hart begin to weigh down heavily upon the Pro side of the chalkboard.

More and more it seems the Rays Republic have become entangled in the possibility of Hart actually being that special ingredient missing in the Rays Playoff recipe. But something is still troubling me. It is something small and minute to most Rays folks, but seems to flares up at with a vengeance in my eyes. With his 2010 salary hovering at $ 3.5 million, and a Arbitration Hearing in his future this Winter, could Hart become a Rays fiscal nightmare, but an offensive dream?

Can the two opposite ends of the Rays spectrum unite and somehow find a plausible reality after 2010? Or are we again plagued with the possibility of trading him again this off season like a hired gun?

Right now I am firmly stuck on the ridges of the fence in regard to a Rays trade for Hart. But I also know the stark Rays reality that move like this might have to be made to upgrade the offense a tick or two with an eye on the coveted prize in sight.

Other names have also been flying by my eyes and ears recently with players like Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder (No), and even Washington National’s slugger Adam Dunn (maybe) listed as potential additional firepower for the Rays. But in regards to the Rays current love of Hart’s 2010 numbers, I am firmly sitting on the fence, but have a chance to be swayed to either side.

I can agree right now, Hart is a prime candidate that could help the team. But I am not totally sold yet. Maybe it is something unseen right now to my unbelieving eyes that will transform my doubt into a massive affection for his power and consistent hitting to provide the difference, and damn the negatives. Maybe I am thinking too much with my logical head and transferring the negatives into huge roadblocks instead of viewing each side of the equation equally.

My whimsical nature has been tossed into a safe place in this situation. Can’t think totally emotional right now, or this would be a done deal. Maybe my first impression was right. Maybe it is time to think with both sides of my brain in this situation and one side of the argument would send me falling from the fence. Maybe it is truly time for me to “Gotta have Hart“.


Tendering Some Love to the Players…….Tendered Players 2008



The Greatest thing a player can learn on a day like today is how much his club loves what he does on the field for them. But sometimes even that get a bit blurred and the images seems to fade a bit before the reality comes that you either have a new start somewhere else, or you contact your old team and see if they just wanted you at a cheaper price.


Every December 12th, the MLB goes through this  sadistic tactic of non-tendering and tendering contracts to the arbitration eligible players on their rosters. Some people are shoe-ins to get picked up because of talent or maybe even a low cost towards the next year budget. Others are looked at under a microscope and the decisions might come down to dollar signs and not talent or ability.






That is the sad reality of this date. You could be an up and coming talent, or a veteran that just had an off year and you could be looking for a job in a heartbeat after midnight tonight.  Also, just because they decided to offer you a contract doesn’t mean that the wheels stop turning and you might still be dealt to another team and they will make the decision on your fate again, and maybe at a financial disadvantages.


So on and on tonight I will be adding to this blog until I have a final idea of who, what where, when and why might pop up and bite some unsuspecting player on the buttock. Seriously here, there will be some surprises tonight. Some players might be getting held ransom for a financial sacrifice, while other might be rewarded for unforeseen changes in their game or ability. Which ever come about, it is not the end of the world or a career with any of the players tonight.





Everyone will find a place to play in 2009, it might not be the town you are currently playing in, but it also might turn into the best decision of your life. Just because you came up with a certain club does not mean that there are not other staffs or coaches’ salivating that your name is on the list tonight. People always have choices in life. The path we take is not predestined as many believe, but they are earmarked with signs and signals we either adhere to or avoid.


The players on this list still have had the honor to play at a level that few people ever achieve in life, on or off the ball field. And with that in mind, you have to remember the sacrifices and the sweat and tears that got you to this level will be rewarded again.


So as we embark on this night when some believe a dream has ended, you have to remember that through every closed door there is another opportunity maybe even down the hall. Here is the list of the guys who got the love and admiration of their clubs tonight. This list will be in no certain order, but will be update throughout the night.



Tampa Bay Rays:

Gabe Gross                                        ( OF )

Dioner Navarro                                  ( C )

Jason Barlett                                     ( SS )

Willy Aybar                                       ( INF )

Grant Balfour                                    ( RP )



Kansas City Royals:

Esteban German                              ( INF )             1-year contract

John Buck                                       ( C )

Mike Jacobs                                    ( INF )

Mark Teahen                                   ( OF )

Brian Bannister                                ( SP )

Kyle Davies                                      ( RP )

Jimmy Gobble                                 ( SP )

Zack Greinke                                   ( SP )

Joel Peralta                                      ( RP )




Florida Marlins:

Jorge Cantu                                      ( 3 B )

Dan Uggla                                        ( 2 B )

Cody Ross                                        ( OF )

Jeremy Hermida                               ( OF )

Rick Nolasco                                    ( SP )

Josh Johnson                                   ( RP )

Alfredo Amezaga                             ( RP )

Logan Kensing                                 ( RP )

Dallas McPherson                             ( INF )



Philadelphia Phillies:

Shane Victorino                               ( OF )

Ryan Howard                                    ( 1 B )

Ryan Madson                                   ( RP )

Jayson Werth                                   ( OF )

Eric Bruntlett                                   ( INF )                   1-year contract

Clay Condrey                                   (  RP )                  1-year contract

Joe Blanton                                      ( SP )

Cole Hamels                                      ( SP )

Greg Dobbs                                      ( INF )

Chad Durbin                                    ( RP ) 



Seattle Mariners:

Eric Bedard                                     ( SP )

Aaron Heilman                                (SP, RP ) 

Felix Hernandez                              ( SP )



San Diego Padres:

Scott Hairston                                  ( OF )

Luis Rodriguez                                ( INF )

Jody Gerut                                       ( OF )

Heath Bell                                        ( RP )



Atlanta Braves:

Kelly Johnson                                   ( INF )

Matt Diaz                                          ( OF )

Jeff Francoeur                                  ( OF )

Mike Gonzalez                                 ( RP )

Omar Infante                                    ( INF )

Casey Kotchman                              ( 1 B )



Boston Red Sox:

Kevin Youkilis                                ( 1B )

Jonathan Papelbon                        ( RP )

Javier Lopez                                  ( RP )



Minnesota Twins:

Jason Kubel                                   ( D H )

Matt Guerrier                                 ( RP )



Los Angeles Dodgers:

Russell Martin                                ( C )

Andre Ethier                                  ( OF )

Johnathan Broxton                        ( RP )



Oakland Athletics:

 Rob Bowen                                   ( C )          $ 535,000    1-year contract

Justin Duchscherer                        ( SP )

Jack Cust                                      ( OF )



Chicago White Sox:

Dewayne Wise                              ( OF )              1-year,  $ 550,000 contract

Wilson Betemit                            ( INF )              1-year    $ 1.3 Million contract



Detroit Tigers: 

Ramon Santiago                           ( INF )           1-year  $ 825,000 contract

Marcus Thames                             ( OF )

Fernando Rodney                          ( RP )

Bobby Seay                                   ( RP )

Joel Zumaya                                 ( RP ) 

Justin Verlander                            ( SP )

Edwin Jackson                              ( SP,RP )



Cleveland Indians:

Kelly Shoppach                              ( C )



Chicago Cubs:

Chad Gaudin                                  ( RP )               1-year  $ 2 million contract

Ronny Cedeno                               ( INF )

Reed Johnson                                ( OF )

Neal Cotts                                      ( RP )                1-year  $ 1.1 million contract 

Mike Wuertz                                  ( RP ) 

Kevin Gregg                                  ( RP )



San Francisco Giants:

Jack Taschner                                ( RP )



Toronto Blue Jays:  

Jason Frasor                                  ( RP )

Brian Tallet                                    ( RP )

Brandon League                            ( RP )

Jose Batista                                   ( INF )



Pittsburgh Pirates:

Nate McLouth                                ( OF )

Adam LaRoche                             ( 1 B )

Ryan Doumit                                 ( C )

Zack Duke                                    ( SP )

John Grabow                                ( RP )

Tyler Yates                                    ( RP )

Paul Maholm                                ( SP )



St Louis Cardinals:

Rick Ankiel                                  ( OF )

Chris Duncan                               ( OF )

Todd Wellemeyer                        ( RP )



Colorado Rockies:

Garrett Atkins                               ( 3 B )

Clint Barmes                                 ( 2 B )

Jorge De La Rosa                          ( SP )

Taylor Buchholz                           ( RP )

Jason Grilli                                   ( RP )

Huston Street                                ( RP )



Cincinnati Reds:

Edwin Encarnacion                       ( INF )



Milwaukee Brewers:

Seth McClung                                  ( SP, RP )

Prince Fielder                                  ( 1 B )

Rickie Weeks                                  ( 2 B )

J J Hardy                                        ( S S )

Corey Hart                                       ( OF )

Dave Bush                                       ( SP )



Washington Nationals:

Ryan Zimmerman                         ( 3B )

Josh Willingham                          ( OF )

Scott Olsen                                   ( SP )

Shawn Hill                                    ( RP )

Willy Harris                                  ( SS )                           2-year  $ 3 million 



Houston Astros:

Brandon Backe                              ( SP )

Geoff Geary                                   ( RP )

Wandy Rodriguez                          ( SP )

Tim Byrdak                                   ( RP )

Jose Valverde                                ( RP )

Humberto Quintero                        ( C )



Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:

Chone Figgins                              ( 3 B )

Robb Quinlan                               ( INF )

Maicer Ituris                                 ( INF )

Ervin Santana                              ( SP )

Mike Napoli                                 ( C ) 




As tonight comes to a close at midnight, the name will still be pouring in and this liost might not be totally complete by tomorrow afternoon. But I will do my best to be sure that you all have the latest listing of all players tendered contracts on December 12th.


I will also so a listing of the players who are deemed free agents now that their respective teams have put them on the open market. That listing might be a bit different as I want to block everyone into their respective positions, instead of teams for the non-tender list.


I will have that listing working by tomorrow afternoon and I have not decided yet if I might make prediction on what might happen to those players. As the night grows and the list gets longer, I will determine if that would be entertaining and informative to all of you.