Results tagged ‘ Corey Hart ’

Edmonds could be Opening Day right fielder

Brewers manager Ken Macha confirmed what general manager Doug Melvin hinted on Tuesday: That Jim Edmonds, and not Corey Hart, could very well be the team’s Opening Day right fielder.  
The choice will depend partly on whether Hart shows any signs of life at the plate in the Brewers’ final four Spring Training games and partly on when Edmonds re-joins the team. He traveled home on Monday night to tend to an urgent family matter and, as of Wednesday morning, Macha wasn’t sure when Edmonds would be able to return.  
It helps Edmonds’ case that he is a left-handed hitter. Hart bats right-handed, and the Rockies’ Opening Day starter is righty Ubaldo Jimenez. 
Hart has been working his way through a dismal spring. He went 0-for-3 against the Angels on Tuesday and entered Wednesday’s game against the Cubs with a .135 batting average (7-for-52) a .167 on-base percentage and 16 strikeouts versus only two walks. It’s not for a lack of playing time; only three teammates entered play Wednesday with more at-bats than Hart.  
“He really hasn’t put together a game or two where he’s had quality at-bats,” Macha said.  
Hart won his arbitration case with the Brewers over the winter and will draw a $4.8 million salary in 2010. 
The other position in flux is catcher, where Gregg Zaun missed another game Wednesday with a left quadriceps strain. If he cannot amass some at-bats before Opening Day, the backup option is George Kottaras. Left fielder Ryan Braun, who had missed the team’s last four games because of a stiff back, returned to the lineup against the Cubs.
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Melvin: Hart not guaranteed to start

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin appeared on the Milwaukee sports radio station WSSP on Tuesday and made some interesting comments about the Brewers outfield. The assumption all along is that the regular starters would be center fielder Carlos Gomez, left fielder Ryan Braun and right fielder Corey Hart. But that projection may only be two-thirds correct. 
“It’s probably going to be Gomez and Braun and right now we’re looking at our other options,” Melvin said. “We have more left-handed bats this year so some left-handed hitters may play more often than they have in the past.  [Jim] Edmonds has had a good spring. Corey Hart has not had a good spring up to this point. Jody Gerut has struggled. 
“We’ll wait and see. We’ll determine that when the season starts. I think our outfield has a chance to be fairly productive. It’s going to be a different look than we’ve had in the past. There’s going to be a little more left-handedness to it, going to be a little more speed, probably not as much power. There’s still five days left here and we have that time to make some decisions before we make the final roster.”
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Brewers get first look at Reds' Chapman

AP100220162554.jpgThe Brewers got their first look Wednesday at what’s behind the Aroldis Chapman hype. 

Rickie Weeks greeted the Cincinnati Reds’ hard-throwing Cuban import with a leadoff home run but Chapman was otherwise tough on Milwaukee’s hitters, allowing no more runs or hits and notching five strikeouts in three innings of work in his first Spring Training start. 
“It’s very funky,” said Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, who struck out swinging at a 97 mph fastball to end the first inning. “Everything he threw was moving. Nothing was the same.”
Said Brewers starter Doug Davis, who proudly made contact on a second-inning groundout: “It was fast. It got on you quick. There were a lot of arms and legs coming at you, and the ball was pretty much halfway there before he let it go. It wasn’t really heavy though, like I thought it was going to be.”

And according to Weeks, who followed his first-inning homer with a third-inning walk, Chapman was clearly having trouble locating his off-speed pitches. 
“Of course he has life on his fastball, and I saw a slider and change-up from him and I don’t think he was able to get the off-speed over for strikes a lot,” Weeks said. “You know me, I don’t really pay attention [to the hype]. He’s a pitcher. He’s going out and doing his job. The hype about him? The guy throws 100 mph, so what do you expect?”
“How old is he?” asked Davis, who was informed that Chapman is listed as 22. “Oh, jeez. He’s going to be one of the greats if he stays healthy.”
Davis bested the Cuban on Wednesday, holding the Reds scoreless on three hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out three.
His work on a two-seam fastball, a sinking pitch designed to be tough on left-handed hitters, has not progressed as well as Davis has liked so he’s focusing instead on refining his usual repertoire of four-seam fastballs and cut fastballs. 
“I threw one [sinker] today and I threw it in the ground, almost hit the umpire,” Davis said. “I’m just not comfortable with it yet.”
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Hart 'eying' a comeback

Corey Hart needs glasses. Wouldn’t it be nice if that simple fix is all he needs to return to the good old days?
“I probably should have used glasses last year,” said Hart. “The first few years in the big leagues, maybe I guessed right. I didn’t guess right last year.”
Truth be told, there is more to Hart’s comeback plan than corrective lenses. The right fielder had a forgettable 2009 season and then something of a tumultuous offseason during which he became the first Brewers player to go to an arbitration hearing in 12 years. Hart won, so he will earn $4.8 million this season while perhaps playing with the proverbial target on his back.
“I’m anxious to go out there and prove to everybody that I’m worth it,” Hart said. “Last year, it wasn’t terrible, but it obviously wasn’t my best. I told Doug [Melvin, the Brewers' general manager] and Gord [Ash, the assistant GM] that I want to go out and prove to them that I’m a guy who could get a long-term deal. I love Milwaukee, my family loves it, and we want to stay. The fan base has been really good to me, and the ones who are mad, hopefully I can win them back over.”
Perhaps the eyeglasses will help. Hart says contact lenses are “out the window,” so he is considering wearing goggles, like former Brewers reliever Eric Gagne. Hopefully, Hart’s will have a better anti-fog mechanism.
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Hart aims to win back fans

hart.jpg

Brewers outfielder Corey Hart knows that many of you reading this are down on him for the moment. He’s determined to do everything possible on the field this summer to win you back. 
“You feel kind of bad because it’s hard for the fans to understand this process,” Hart said Friday, when an arbitration panel ruled in his favor and awarded him a $4.8 million salary for 2010. “Sometimes as a player you have to stand up for yourself, and it was important to play it out. I’m really happy that it worked out. 
“But I know that there are hundreds and hundreds of fans on the blogs who say I’m greedy or that I’m asking too much. I hope they understand that the system is there and that there are reasons we asked for what we asked for. I think you guys who know me know that I’m a pretty good person, a family man, and that I like it here [in Milwaukee]. I love it here. This is just part of the business.
“To get back the fans, I just have to go out there and play my best. I know that last year wasn’t a great year for me, marred by injury, too, and I have to go out and hopefully win the people over again. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m ready to do it.”
Hart has slimmed down this winter, dropping about 24 pounds from his bulkiest point last season. He’s already been to Maryvale Baseball Park this month to work on his swing with Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum
The Brewers are counting on Hart more than ever in 2010 because they lost a lot of power by trading shortstop J.J. Hardy and letting center fielder Mike Cameron leave via free agency. Those players’ replacements, Alcides Escobar and Carlos Gomez, have a combined 13 home runs in 395 Major League games. 
If Hart can return to his 20-plus homer output, he could help fill that void. It would also go a long way to winning back some of you fans. 
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The Fielder factor

fielder.jpgThe Brewers lost their arbitration hearing with Corey Hart this week, but one former club official said that, in a roundabout way, they may have also won. 

The thinking is that by taking Hart all the way to a hearing, the Brewers showed that they were not afraid of the process if they believed strongly in their filing number. It had been 12 years since the club had proven so, when then-negotiator Tom Gausden went into a hearing against Jose Mercedes. That was nearly five years before Doug Melvin took over as Milwaukee’s general manager. 
“What you do one year always affects the next,” Gausden said. “Maybe you want the agents to realize that you aren’t bluffing, that they had better file a realistic number.” 
And it just so happens that the Brewers could face a monster of a hearing next year with first baseman Prince Fielder and his agent, Scott Boras. Assuming the sides cannot work out a contract extension, Fielder would be arbitration-eligible one last time before he hits the free agent market following the 2011 season. 
The Brewers also have a couple of key first-time eligibles next year in pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra. Gallardo in particular is likely to get a very substantial raise. 
Gausden, the former Brewers vice president who argued arbitration hearings with Mercedes in 1998 and Mike Fetters in 1994, said that part of the strategy is picking your battles every few years. Otherwise, agents know which teams shy away from hearings and file salary proposals artificially high, to drive up the midpoint in anticipation of a settlement. 
So, the Brewers will pay Hart $650,000 more than it wanted to in 2010, but could have left themselves positioned to save some payroll dollars in the future. Yet another layer to a very complex process. 
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Two comps likely helped Hart

So, the verdict is in and Corey Hart won his arbitration case against the Brewers. That means he will earn $4.8 million next season instead of the $4.15 million the Brewers had proposed.

These decisions are all based on “comps,” or comparisons to already-set salaries of players similar in terms of service time and performance. Neither side has been willing to discuss its strategy, but it seems very likely to me that Hart’s representatives from CAA Sports, including his lead agent, Jeff Berry, successfully made the comp to Jeff Francoeur of the Mets and/or Josh Willingham of the Nationals. And I’m guessing that the Brewers more likely argued that the precedent for Hart’s salary should be someone like Jeremy Hermida of the Red Sox.

All three are corner outfielders in Hart’s service class. Here’s a look:

Francoeur earned $3.4 million last season, just $150,000 more than Hart, and avoided arbitration when he settled with the Mets on a $5 million contract for 2010. For his career, Francoeur is a .271 hitter with 88 home runs, 400 RBIs and 15 stolen bases (Hart is a .273 hitter with 67 home runs and 260 RBIs). In 2009, the players so-called “platform year” in this case, Francoeur hit .280 with 15 homers and 76 RBIs in 593 at-bats. Hart, limited to 419 at-bats because of an emergency appendectomy in August, batted .260 with 12 homers and 48 RBIs.

Willingham, meanwhile, earned $2.95 million last season and avoided arbitration with the Nationals with a $4.6 million pact for 2010, which was less than Hart’s filing number but fell on the player’s side of the midpoint between Hart’s proposal and the Brewers’. Willingham also had a better platform year, batting .260 in 2009 with 24 home runs — remember his two grand slams on July 27 at Miller Park? — and 61 RBIs in 427 at-bats. For his career Willingham has a .263 average, 87 home runs and 260 RBIs.

Hermida earned $2.25 million from the Marlins in 2009 and had a very similar platform year to Hart, batting .259 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs. For his career, Hermida has played in 516 games (vs. Hart’s 521) compiled 1,708 at-bats (to 1,831) and batted .265 (to .273) with 57 home runs (67) and 210 RBIs (260).  

Hermida filed for $3.85 million in arbitration and the Red Sox countered at $2.95 million. They settled last month at $3.345 million, or $55,000 less than the midpoint.

In the end, Hart’s argument won out. Now the Brewers are 2-for-4 in arbitration hearings since the process was instituted in 1974. According to the Biz of Baseball’s Maury Brown, Major League clubs have won 280 cases to the players’ 208 wins, with 11 10 cases still on the docket this year. Tim Lincecum and the Giants reportedly avoided a big one with a multi-year agreement on Friday. 

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Arbitration panel sides with Hart

The first victory of Major League Baseball’s salary arbitration season went to the players on Friday, when Corey Hart won his case against the Brewers and thus a $4.8 million salary for 2010.  
The Brewers had filed for $4.15 million, and when last-minute negotiations on Thursday didn’t yield a result, the sides went to a hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla. A three-member panel of judges rendered its ruling on Friday morning.  
Hart made $3.25 million in a 2009 season interrupted by an emergency appendectomy on Aug. 2 that forced Hart to the disabled list for more than a month. He finished the season with a .260 batting average, 12 home runs, 48 RBIs and 11 stolen bases after collecting at least 20 homers and 20 steals in each of the two seasons prior.  
He will turn 28 next month and is penciled in to be Milwaukee’s starting right fielder in 2010. Hart’s hearing was the Brewers’ first since Jose Mercedes won his case against the team in 1998. Overall, the Brewers are now 2-for-4 in hearings.  
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Hart's case goes to a hearing

One last chat with the representative for outfielder Corey Hart did not yield a compromise on Thursday morning, when the Brewers snapped their 12-year streak without an arbitration hearing. 

Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash and club negotiator Teddy Werner sat in on the hearing, which began at 8:30 a.m. CT and was attended by Hart and his agent Jeff Berry. Now Hart’s case is in the hands of three professional arbitrators, who will decide whether the player will earn the $4.8 million he’s seeking for 2010, or the $4.15 million that the Brewers offered. 

A decision is expected on Friday morning. 

“I would say it went as expected,” Werner said after the hearing. “I don’t think anybody wanted to be in there, but, and I’ve said this before, there is this mechanism in place to resolve a disagreement over how a player would be compensated.”

Ash and Werner accepted Berry’s offer to meet on Wednesday evening and again on Thursday morning but couldn’t strike a deal. The Brewers remained firm in their unwillingness to revisit the number — slightly below the midpoint of filings — that they had proposed before a Jan. 29 negotiating deadline.

So, the sides went into the hearing room. Each side had 60 minutes to present exhibits, followed by a brief break and then 30 minutes each for rebuttal. The Brewers’ case was presented by outside counsel. The whole process lasted about 4 1/2 hours, Werner said. 

According to the Associated Press, Hart’s case was heard by 
professional arbitrators Elizabeth Neumeier, John Sands and Sylvia Skratek


“I thought the tone was perfectly fair,” Werner said. “We recognize that this is an uncomfortable process for everybody. We have a lot of confidence in Corey going forward and we know that if the team is going to be successful in 2010, he’s going to be a big part of that. I certainly don’t think the tone was overly negative. It was simply both sides stating the facts and how comparable players get paid for past performances. We said Corey was comparable to Players A, B, and C, and they said he was comparable to Players X, Y and Z. That’s it.” 

Hart earned $3.25 million during a 2009 campaign interrupted by an emergency appendectomy in August. Hart missed more than a month and finished with a .260 batting average, 12 home runs and 48 RBIs. 
Hart is the fourth Brewers player to go all the way to a hearing in the salary arbitration process, which began in 1974. Before Thursday, the last was pitcher Jose Mercedes, who won his case in 1998. 
Before Hart, the only other Brewers position player to go to a hearing was infielder Jim Gantner in 1992. The team won that case. 
For a more detailed look at the club’s short salary arbitration history, check out my story on Brewers.com. And stay tuned for the result of Hart’s hearing on Friday. 
According to the AP, Hart’s case was the first to be heard and 11 more players had arbitration hearings scheduled through next week. 
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Report: Hart hearing is Thursday

The Brewers remain in a contractual standoff with right-fielder Corey Hart and appear almost certain to go all the way to an arbitration hearing in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday afternoon.  
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel was first to report the top-secret date of Hart’s hearing, and two Brewers officials confirmed it. Hart’s hearing comes on the first date of trials between teams and their still-unsigned arbitration-eligible players, and he may be the first hearing of the year, though Brewers officials cannot be sure.  
Hart, who earned $3.25 million last season in his first year of eligibility, filed for $4.8 million this time and is represented by agent Jeff Berry. The Brewers countered with a $4.15 million offer and have not spoken with Berry since Jan. 29, when a team-imposed deadline passed without a compromise.  
Either way, Hart will be a Brewer in 2010 and will get at least a $900,000 raise. But for now, the sides remain in disagreement over his value.  
“There has been no movement,” Brewers negotiator Teddy Werner said. “I haven’t spoken to Jeff since two Fridays ago when we made that hard deadline. We’re certainly open to getting a deal done before hand because nobody really wants to go to a hearing. But the way the discussions have evolved, it appears we are headed that way.” 
Berry was not immediately available to comment.  
Werner and assistant general manager Gord Ash were scheduled to take a Tuesday afternoon flight from snowy Milwaukee to Tampa-St. Petersburg ahead of Thursday’s hearing. If it goes that far, it would be the Brewers’ first arbitration hearing since they lost a case to pitcher Jose Mercedes in 1998.  
Only three players have gone all the way to a hearing with the Brewers. Mercedes won in ’98, but the Brewers successfully argued against pitcher Mike Fetters in 1995 and infielder Jim Gantner in 1992.  
The process has evolved over the years, but today, each side presents a 60-minute oral argument to a three-member panel of judges along with a binder of statistics and graphs supporting its case. After a very brief recess, each side then has 30 minutes of rebuttal.  
After that, it’s up to the arbitrators. They have 24 hours to render a decision and must pick one figure or the other. There’s no more room for compromise.  
While the Brewers are waiting for the decision on Hart on Friday, they will be paying close attention to the Giants’ scheduled case with ace right-hander Tim Lincecum, who is seeking a record $13 million in arbitration. If Lincecum wins, it could affect the Brewers’ negotiations next year with right-hander Yovani Gallardo and left-hander Manny Parra, who are both eligible for arbitration for the first time. 
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