The Bill Hall Rumor MillBy
The Brewers are set to announce that they’ve resigned incumbent third baseman and ex-Yankee Mike Lamb, which likely puts Bill Hall out on the trade market. Ken Rosenthal and Ed Price noted that the Yanks have interest in CC Sabathia‘s close friend (8:44pm post), who would presumably take the role of primary utility man and righty pinch hitter. And I don’t get it.
First off, CC Sabathia’s decision to sign or not sign the Yanks will not be based on Bill Hall’s presence, so don’t even worry about that. Secondly, what exactly makes Bill Hall so desirable? Usually when I dig deeper on a player (like Nick Swisher or David DeJesus) I can find some information that the player is undervalued and a viable buy-low candidate, but that’s not the case with Hall.
First off, Hall’s contract is ugly. He’s owed $6.8M in 2009, $8.4M in 2010, then a $9.25M option or $500,000 buyout kicks in for 2010. That’s a lot of cheddar for a bench guy. Secondly, his production has declined for three straight seasons as he entered his prime years. Hall had a monster year in 2006 that landed him that fat contract and Joe a fantasy baseball title (.369 wOBP, 35 HR, 44.3 VORP), but he then dropped down to a .317 wOBP & 6.7 VORP in 2007, and bottomed out with a .297 wOBP & -5.1 VORP this past year. Inconsistent playing time and at-bats off the bench will not sharpen up his production, and he’s already made it known that he doesn’t like being a part-time player.
Hall’s biggest asset is that he’s extremely versatile; he’s spent significant time at short, third, and in centerfield over the last few seasons, and has also seen action at second. However he’s below average at best at each of those spots, with career RZR’s of .838 in center, .723 at third, and .804 at short. That’s not just bad, that’s horrific. Citing Hall’s versatility as a plus is the same as saying Jon Garland is an innings eater, it just means he can suck at more spots.
Granted, Hall would come dirt cheap because of his contract (if the Yanks take on all of that money, they could get him for like, a C-minus prospect) and maybe there’s some bouceback potential because of the change of scenery, but there’s nothing to suggest that. His BABIP has been steady and reasonable, his line drive rate is consistent, and his plate discipline numbers don’t show any significant spikes. There’s just nothing to suggest that his three year decline was a fluke.
Pass on Bill Hall, I’m sure Cody Ransom could approximate his production for 1/17th of the cost. If you want a player on the Brewers and one of CC’s buddy, go for Mike Cameron. It makes so much more sense.
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Just a quick aside: I overheard a Milwaukee writer talking to two other writers not far away from us, he said he’s looking forward to the Yanks signing both CC and Sheets because “then the Brewers would get the Yanks’ two first round picks.” Heh.
Update (1:00pm): I just overheard the guy say he confirmed with Baseball America that the Yanks’ can’t lose the Gerrit Cole pick. That only took two-plus hours.