Tom Haudricourt at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported yesterday that Corey Hart has received interest from several teams (including the Brewers) during his extended recovery from surgery on both knees this past year.
According to that article, Hart won't be medically cleared to play until at least December 3 of this year. Keep in mind, we're talking about the same player that was expected to start for the Brewers at first base in 2013. And as we near December of the same year, he's still seeking the OK by doctors to return to the field.
The same article also mentions that Doug Melvin is evaluating how and if Corey Hart might fit into the team's plans for 2014. This despite the fact that the Brewers paid Hart a $10 million salary in 2013 without seeing him take a single at-bat during the season.
With other teams now apparently driving up Hart's potential income in 2014, the situation is becoming all too familiar from previous offseasons in which Doug Melvin has brought in high-priced veterans in the twilight of their careers.
The situation that's developing with Corey Hart right now is actually a perfect example of the change in philosophy that's needed within the Milwaukee Brewers' approach to building an effective organization and on-field product.
As a small-market team in a sport without a salary cap, the Brewers would be best-served trying to emulate programs that consistently outperform with limited resources, instead of ploughing forward with no discernible competitive edge built into a rather non-specific approach.
One such operation the team could, of course, emulate would be the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are a perennial contender that seems to consistently maximize limited resources by building a low-budget team that produces enviable chemistry and a perchance for competing hard every day.
Ironically, and possibly fittingly, the Tampa Bay Rays now compete in the same hyper-competitive AL East division that the Brewers were once part of.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking, who wouldn't want their team to be more like the Tampa Bay Rays. A lot easier said than done, right?
It's also pretty easy to do nothing at all and continue along the same flawed road as years past.
In order for a team to achieve something great, a vision needs to be put forth publicly, the right people need to be hired, and a concrete plan of action needs to be put in place and executed. The Milwaukee Brewers are a team that needs all of the above.
The Brewers need to distinguish themselves by grabbing hold of a philosophy and branding it their own. They need to articulate this vision to their fans, and they need to get busy working on it.
The Brewers under Doug Melvin have paid top dollar for many aging veterans and have very little to show for those investments. Players such as Eric Gagne, Trevor Hoffman, Corey Hart, Jeff Suppan, and Randy Wolf have all come through Milwaukee at the end of their careers and basically padded their retirement accounts without contributing much on the field.
Doug Melvin's recent "evaluation" of Corey Hart is a perfect example that such folly is ongoing. To think that the Brewers are even considering bringing back a guy that received $10 million in 2013 to have two knee surgeries is simply ludicrous.
What's next? Maybe the Brewers will bring back Roger Clemens at top dollar so they can pay for a possible hip replacement surgery?
The Brewers and Doug Melvin have done their best to put a competitive team on the field by matching homegrown talent with a smattering of expensive, declining veterans.
This recipe for success simply isn't working. The team has basically had a single deep playoff run in roughly 30 years. The vague philosophical approach of some guys swinging for the fences backed up with an average starting pitching rotation doesn't appear to produce much magic.
Mark Attanasio brought with him from California a highly effective method of branding and marketing the Brewers that's been a resounding success. Now it's time for the West Coast ownership group to tinker with the team's operational philosophy, structure, and execution.
The difference between stratospheric success and mediocrity is often fairly minuscule. Consider the minimal leap in creativity required for the invention of sliced bread.
It's time for the Brewers to build on recent success by following a similar course of action -- taking an existing idea and making it better.
The only thing necessary to begin such an ambitious and exhilarating journey is a "go" decision by management.
Re-signing Corey Hart for the 2014 season would indicate the Brewers plan to move in the exact opposite direction -- status quo or backwards -- they're essentially the same thing at this stage in the game.
Andrew Prochnow is a derivatives trader by day and a follower of Wisconsin sports by night. He is a regular contributor at Yahoo Sports and The Bleacher Report. Tweet him @AndrewProchnow.
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