I have not written on here in quite a while, as Aaron has done a fantastic job of covering the Brewers, but this is something I feel the need to discuss myself.
Tom Haudricourt, who covers the Brewers beat for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reported in his blog that Bill Hall's agent Terry Bross told him that Hall wants a trade out of Milwaukee. Bross said he feels it would be better for Hall and the Brewers organization if Hall were traded to a team that would give him regular playing time.
Hall, who was recently shifted from everyday starter into a platoon with Russell Branyan, made his frustration with the move public, saying he felt he was unfairly singled out in his struggles at the plate. So far this season, Hall is batting only .162 (22-for-136) against right-handed pitching, fueling the move to bring in the left-handed Branyan. Hall felt that his struggles stem from having to switch positions the last few years at the club's request and pointed out that he was a career .262 hitter against righties prior to 2008. Hall entered the bigs as a second basemen, then played as a utility infielder before taking over full-time at third base. He was moved to center last year, then back to third after the club signed Mike Cameron to play center this offseason.
"If Billy's not going to be an everyday player, it's probably best for him and the team to be traded," Bross told the Journal-Sentinel. "They could get a pitcher for him that would really help the team. I'm sure there are some teams out there that could use a third baseman or shortstop."
Bross also told Haudricourt that he had not formally requested a trade from Brewers' GM Doug Melvin. Hall has made it a request that Bross do the talking on the subject.
So did the Brewers make a mistake by switching to a platoon?
In a way, sure. Nobody wants to create problems in the clubhouse, but this is also a product of Bill Hall's selfishness. When Geoff Jenkins was platooned in right with Corey Hart, he complained but never requested a trade and had nothing but great things to say about the team when the club didn't pick up his option this past offseason.
The Brewers are in the business of winning ball games, and the team as a whole was struggling for a long time. The offense couldn't score runs and they were below .500. Had they kept pace with the Cubs, Bill Hall might still be the everyday third basemen, and the Brewers may be letting him figure himself out, but they can't afford to lose any further ground to the teams ahead of them.
Hall may be justified by saying he feels slighted by the platoon after the Brewers asked him to change positions so often, but I don't think they were wrong in doing it.
So what options do the Brewers have now? Who knows.
Hall's batting so poorly right now that his stock is close to zero. Maybe they can trade him to an American League team in desperate need of a DH, but what could the Brewers possibly expect in return? There's no way they can get a front line starting pitcher out of the deal, though ESPN's Jayson Stark has reported there are plenty of pitchers on the market this summer, but most of them will no doubt cost more than Bill Hall.
They might be able to stock up on some minor league prospects (pitchers, catchers and second basemen wanted), but even then who knows how high Hall's stock is on any team's radar. Rumors in the offseason had the White Sox extremely interested in him, but whether they still are is anyone's guess.
If I were a betting man, which I'm usually not, I'd say the Brewers don't budge on him and force him to deal with it, as Melvin is a normally a very patient GM, but he's also a very opportunistic one too, so if the right team and right trade comes calling, expect Hall to be dealt. But I think Melvin knows as everyone else does too, Russell Branyan is not the Brewers' third basemen of the future.