The Brewers haven't had a first baseman since 2012. It's beginning to look like they'll have one once again soon, one way or another.
The Brewers are awaiting an answer from Corey Hart on an offer they made to him and have been actively engaging in talks with Hart's agents at baseball's Winter Meetings in Orlando. Team management is hopeful that they will have a definitive answer from Hart by the end of the meetings.
Here's the kicker, though. We know they have had a good, healthy amount of interest in both Mets' first baseman Ike Davis and Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison. However, Milwaukee will not make a trade until they receive a definite 'No' from Hart's camp.
It's been fairly evident that the Brewers' first choice all along has been to keep Hart. However, he has been receiving a large amount of interest on the market as a relatively cheaper option who could turn into the steal of the offseason. So much interest means that Milwaukee may no longer be a top choice for Hart. At the very least, it means the discount Hart talked about giving Milwaukee is all but null and void.
If Hart says no--if the Brewers offer him a one-year, incentive-laden deal and Hart says he has two year offers and won't do less--if the Brewers are officially out of the running--then Milwaukee might jump very quickly on a first baseman in trade.
There had already been heavy rumors that the Brewers were hoping to acquire Davis or Morrison (or Brett Pill!), but those rumors are coming well the Brewers are still waiting on an answer from Hart. Once Hart is off the market, those rumors should ramp up even further as a desperate Brewers team goes all out for one of the first baseman available in trade.
Doug Melvin and Co. certainly won't want to go through last year all over again. They are looking to jump on a first baseman quickly and could have this resolved anywhere from a few days to a week from now. If they wait, they run the risk of their targets all being taken off the market. And that's how you end up with Yuniesky Betancourt and Juan Francisco playing first base all year. Again.