As the 2012 season winds down, Corey Hart's name is sure to come up in trade talks.
The 30-year-old first baseman/right fielder has produced another exemplary season. Hart has a .278 average with 27 home runs and 77 runs batted in, and was on pace to blast 30 long balls before a recent foot injury has stalled him. Additionally, he ranks fourth in the National League in extra-base hits, trailing Joey Votto and Brewers teammates Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez,
Besides being a great offensive talent, Hart's trade stock improved dramatically when he smoothly transitioned to first base from right field. Hart has a strong arm but is still a below-average outfielder. At first base, his height and length really pay off.
Hart's contract expires after the 2013 season, but he has expressed interest in staying on with the ball club. Although skeptical at the beginning, Hart has found a new home at first base and is willing to make the change permanently if it means staying with Milwaukee.
In the upcoming months, teams will inquire about the former All-Star, but hopefully GM Doug Melvin doesn't listen.
Milwaukee has already signed Jonathon Lucroy, Yovani Gallardo, Rickie Weeks, and Braun to long-term deals. Hart is up next.
They all fought through the minors together and love the city of Milwaukee. Keeping these five together is huge for team chemistry. Splitting them up would be like taking a newborn baby away from its mother.
With a core group of valuable players like that, Milwaukee will be a force to be reckoned with.
However, the Brewers must start negotiating with Hart as soon as the season ends. Milwaukee will discuss contracts in the middle of the season. They don't want to risk distraction. If Melvin waits until the end of the 2013 season, there's a chance that Hart could feel unimportant and not a priority.
Plus, without Hart, who would man first base? Mat Gamel? Milwaukee seems to be sick and tired of waiting on Gamel to be the player everyone imagined. A season-ending injury hurt Gamel's future in Milwaukee even more.
I don't think there is any Milwaukee Brewer fan who doesn't want Hart in a Brewers uniform for the long-haul. He is the ideal five-hole hitter. He has prolific power and hits in the high .200's year in and year out.
Trading Corey Hart should not even be discussed. He, along with Braun, Weeks, Lucroy, and Gallardo, is the future of the Milwaukee Brewers.