Frustration has been looming over my blue and gold cap as of late. Why?
Two words: TRADE RUMORS.
Now, trade rumors can enlighten a fan's soul, or they can just really fill him or her with raging anger. At this point I, Eric Huber, am like Hades ready to explode, Ray Lewis ready to hit something or even the Joker without the painted smile.
As many already know, the hottest name in the rumor mill these days is Brewers rightfielder Corey Hart, who has been linked to teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants as possible landing spots.
Other hot names include Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks, although ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted yesterday that the Brewers have no interest in trading Rickie Weeks.
In other words, if there is going to be trade it's most likely either going to be Fielder or Hart. And while most Brewers fans prefer to trade Hart, claiming the stock market reason of selling high, I'm whistling a far different tune.
Let me ask this question: Once the Brewers lose Fielder, a $200 million man in waiting, who is going to supply the power threat alongside Ryan Braun in the lineup?
I bet you didn't think about this while tooting the trade Corey Hart horn, did you? It's either that or you think the Brewers can spend like the New York Yankees, so you probably wouldn't realize that even if Corey Hart demands double what he's currently making, it'll still be almost a third less than what the current Prince of Milwaukee will be demanding on the open market after 2011.
I realize the impact that Fielder has on the rest of the Brewers' lineup, but they are a small-market team that can ill afford to commit such a big chunk of change to just one player, and I know you've heard this before.
You could be scared that the Brewers may have the next Jeffrey Hammonds, and you might be right. I mean, Corey Hart does have a .282 lifetime batting average at Miller Park, a place where he has hit almost 60 percent of his career homers. Hammonds had a lifetime average of .396 with 20 homers in 69 games at Coors Field before coming to Milwaukee.
But do you think that maybe Hart is as comfortable watching Bernie fly down the yellow slide as Hammonds was watching baseballs fly out of Coors? Maybe Hammonds shouldn't have left Colorado.
"Well, Hart has shown late-season collapses in the past." I've heard this one about half a dozen times in the past week, and it is true. But I bet you didn't know that Prince Fielder has a lifetime batting average of .247 in the month of August.
What am I ultimately suggesting the Brewers do?
I won't get in to full detail down to the player to acquire, but I will tell you that there are ways to maneuver big-time players like Fielder and not see the long-term effect; Richie Sexson comes to mind.
Why not trade Fielder to a team like Tampa Bay, Boston or Detroit for a combination of elite pitching prospects and rising infielders? Then turn around and package up one or two prospects in your minor league system to a team like the Pirates, which trashes players faster than Carlos Gomez taking practice swings. I don't know, power hitter Garrett Jones, who is struggling a bit this season, may be a nice Prince gap filler, and knowing how the Pirates unload he probably won't come at a high price.
The bottom line here is that the Brewers have to be smart with whom they plan on unloading and the moves they make. Do I want to see either Hart or Fielder leave? Absolutely not. However, baseball has turned in to a mega business, and the right business decision would be to trade away the more expensive beef that's going to get you more in return both on the field, and in the checkbook.
I say stand pat or say buh-bye to No. 28.