Bill Hall, starting left fielder? That's what it looks like:
Hall, who earned most valuable player honors for the Brewers in 2006 while playing mostly at shortstop, saw action exclusively in the outfield for the major-league touring team in the five-game Japan All-Star Series. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin made that trip and liked what he saw of Hall in the outfield.
"I asked him afterward if he felt acclimated to the outfield and he said yes," said Melvin. "I think there's probably a pretty good chance he'll move to the outfield (for the Brewers). I personally think he's better suited to left field."
Left field, eh? Why not center?
Moving Hall to left field will make even more sense if Melvin finds help in center, and he already has contacted the representatives of free agents Dave Roberts and Juan Pierre.
Roberts, 34, would be a perfect fit for the Brewers. He would add much-needed speed, provide a legitimate leadoff hitter and solid defender in center and is known for being a positive clubhouse presence.
You're telling me that an outfield of Hall/Roberts/Hart is better than an outfield of Gross-Mench/Hall/Hart? Not likely.
This piece has a frustrating air of finality about it, summed up neatly by this passage:
If Hall moves to left field and Melvin finds a centerfielder, he could complete his outfield by installing young, improving Corey Hart in right. But Melvin still has veteran rightfielder Geoff Jenkins, who has a year and $7 million remaining on his contract, as well as Gabe Gross and Kevin Mench.
"We do have numbers in the outfield," said Melvin, who indicated he might try to thin the herd via the trade market.
I'm all in favor of Hall moving to the outfield, but I think this is the wrong way to go about it. Basically, the Brewers seem concerned about two things: Hall's impending lack of an infield position (with the imminent arrival of Ryan Braun) and the team's lack of a real CF (though I still think Gwynn deserves a shot). Oddly, they don't seem to think that both of these problems can be solved in one move. Moving Hall to an outfield corner somewhat mitigates his value, and neither Roberts nor Pierre is likely to be leaps and bounds better than Gwynn or Clark (who is, apparently, not expected to be traded anymore). They're either overthinking the situation or improperly valuing what they've got.