After missing the entire season following multiple knee surgeries impending free agent Corey Hart said today that he’ll take less money to re-sign with the Brewers.
Hart is making $10 million this season in the final year of a three-year, $26.5 million contract and revealed that the two sides haven’t had any discussions yet, but told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
I told them I would be very generous to stay here. I wouldn’t sit there and ask for anything outlandish. I’d definitely take a discount to stay here because I think I owe it to them to stay here and be a cheaper player. Nobody wants to play for free but I basically sat there and watched all season. I owe it to them and the fans to come back at a cheaper price. That’s kind of what we’re hoping for but at the same time I don’t know what’s going to happen.
We’ll see what happens once other offers start coming in and Hart has to actually make a decision on where to sign, but that’s certainly a public stance you don’t often hear from players. During the previous three seasons Hart hit .280 with an .857 OPS and an average of 29 homers, so even with the health question marks he’ll be one of the best hitters available and is still relatively young at age 31.
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.