Report: Mets, Brewers discuss swap of Maine, Hart

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The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reports that the Mets and Brewers have discussed swapping right-hander John Maine and outfielder Corey Hart.
That’d be quite a course change for the Brewers, who wouldn’t put Hart on the table when engaged with more interesting proposals last year. As it turned out, though, 2008 wasn’t just an off season for Hart. He’s posted OPSs in the 750s the last two years after coming in at 892 in 2007.
Maine likewise has seen his stock drop sharply over the last year, though in his case it’s due to injury. Maine missed four months last season with a shoulder problem related to his offseason surgery in 2008. He did return in a bit role in September to finish 7-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 15 starts.
Both players are eligible for arbitation and have two years left for free agency, so money wouldn’t be a factor. The Brewers should be treading carefully, though. The Mets may come off as rather inept when it comes to medical issues, but they still know more about his arm than anyone else, and if they’re willing to trade Maine for Hart when they could just buy an outfielder in free agency, it’s a strong indication that they don’t think his shoulder will hold up going forward.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.