Corey Hart will head into free agency having missed the entire season following knee surgeries and numerous setbacks. Meanwhile, the Brewers have gotten horrendous production at first base in his absence. So will Milwaukee try to bring back Hart to fill the position next season?
“We haven’t even begun to consider it yet,” assistant general manager Gord Ash told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “As we all know, there’s plenty of time.”
For now Hart is expected to be ready for spring training, but then again no one thought he’d miss the whole first half of this year, let alone the entire season. Hart topped an .840 OPS in each of the previous three seasons, including last year when he hit .270 with 30 homers while playing 149 games. He’s finishing up a three-year, $26.5 million deal.
Under normal circumstances the Brewers could make a qualifying offer to Hart and receive draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere, but as McCalvy notes he’d likely just accept the one-year, $14 million contract that comes attached and stick Milwaukee with a too-big bill considering the health uncertainty.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.
Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”
Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.
Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.