Earlier this week, I received this email from a blogger for another team:
With (Prince) Fielder there for almost two more years, what's (Mat) Gamel's timetable?
Even before Gamel started putting up huge numbers in AAA, it was hard to imagine a world where he's in the minors much later than September 1, and when he's up, he'll play - presumably every day in 2010.
Take a minute, though, to think about where. I worked on it for a minute, and came up with these three scenarios:
1) Fielder gets traded, Gamel slots in at first base.
2) Bill Hall has a big year and gets traded, freeing up third base for Gamel, at least until Fielder leaves as a free agent in 2011.
3) Bill Hall remains with the Brewers and is displaced, either back into the outfield to fill the gap left by Mike Cameron or into a super-sub role.
With first base, left and right field occupied by players with big bats and under Brewer control for 2010, it's hard to imagine the Brewers finding a role for Gamel that doesn't involve a change for Hall.
Obviously, if the decision on Hall's future had been based on yesterday's performance, he'd be a Brewer for life. But taking a wider view, one can see a career at a crossroads. Hall has hit 35 home runs in a season and posted two OPS+'s over 115. He's also posted a .316 OBP
If Hall has a big 2009, he could really be valuable to someone: His contract calls for him to make $8.4 million in 2010, plus a $500k buyout or $9.25 million salary for 2011. If he has big season, he could be a bargain looking for someone for a short-term rental at shortstop or third base.
With that said, being due at least $8.9 million over the next two seasons also means he's likely too expensive for anything but a full-time job. If he can't prove he can play everyday the Brewers will likely be stuck with him as an expensive backup, and when his contract ends, he'll likely be looking at a minor league deal with someone.
So what do you think? What does the future hold for Bill Hall?