New Seattle Mariners slugger Corey Hart sounds like a man who wanted to stay with the Milwaukee Brewers. In a chat with reporter Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Hart expressed disappointment that his old team couldn't come close to matching the money the Mariners gave him as a free agent — $6 million guaranteed with $7 million in incentives. The best the Brewers offered was $6 million total — if Hart reached all of his incentives.
Milwaukee being unwilling to offer more probably had to do with concerns that Hart was coming off a mostly missed season due to double knee surgeries. It's not an unreasonable position. But there was another facet to the process that disappointed Hart, who spent eight seasons with the Brewers.
Hardly any Milwaukee teammates called or wrote urging him to stay:
“I’m sure when we see each other there will be a lot of hugs. But that’s about it,” Hart said. “I think I was expecting more players to reach out and try to keep me. A lot of the coaches reached out. But these guys [the Mariners] were overwhelming. We had a few other teams that were right there too. I thought Milwaukee would have made it harder, but at the end of it, it wasn’t a tough decision.”
Hart doesn't say that nobody called, and he doesn't specify whom he was waiting on to call, but he didn't like that the collective effort wasn't there beyond the coaching staff and manager Ron Roenicke. Of course, it's part of their jobs to call Hart. It's not the job of, say, Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy or Carlos Gomez to call. (Not that they're the ones who didn't necessarily pick up a phone.) But that's also why he wanted to hear from them — because they didn't have to call.
Human beings. So fragile. But understandably so. This part is a little less hard to understand:
Brewers GM Doug Melvin could only offer $2 million guaranteed, with incentives that could push Hart to the same $6 million he was guaranteed in Seattle. For a father of four, it was a no-brainer.
Keep in mind that Hart has earned about $35 million playing baseball over the course of his career. Assuming a conservative investing portfolio, his kids are taken care of. As are their kids, should they have them someday.
Hart and the Brewers splitting might not have been all about the money, but c'mon.
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