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Tom Haudricourt, in keeping his finger squarely on the pulse of Brewer Nation (and what a thrashing, insolent beast it is!), has provided us with a bit more illumination into the Bill Hall situation:

"If we can get a more established, experienced guy to play center field, then we will probably put Billy in left," Yost said. "And if we can't, there's still some debate, if Billy likes center, I think Billy can handle center field.


"He looks like a natural (in the outfield), so I don't expect it to be a huge learning curve. He's so athletic a kid that he can handle that. I think he'll work hard to be an average or above-average outfielder, either in center or left field."

So we (or at least I) have been looking at this backwards: it's not that they don't think Billy can play center, it's that they'd rather have 'an established, experienced guy'--which is, of course, much stupider.

I've suspected all along Hall could handle center, but if evaluations by actual baseball professionals gave the team a different opinion, I would be willing to (grudgingly) accept that. Maybe. But no, they KNOW he can play center, and still prefer to have him play left.

Sure, that makes perfect sense. Why play Hall in center and one of your four corner outfielders in left when you can BUY an center fielder in an inflated market and consign your best asset to languish in mediocrity?

Nevertheless, pessimism is a stinky cologne, and as such I'll try to remain positive. At least the possibility of Hall playing center remains open, even though the team apparently views it as more of a contingency plan. Also, at least Melvin & Yost are being relatively candid about the decision-making process. We even now know the deadline:

"I want Billy set the first day of spring training. I don't want to be moving Billy from left to center to right. When we get to spring training, when Billy walks through that door the first time, I want him set in a position so we can take the entire spring to work with him."
Plus, to diverge from the realm of analysis and into common fandom, Bill Hall is awesome and so is the fact that the team is showing him some respect by finally assigning him a permanent position.

I just hope it's the right one.