Mariners Acquire Bill Hall

This is starting to get boring, the Front Office constantly doing things that we talk about. It's finally like Field Gulls. According to Shannon Drayer and others via Twitter, Bill Hall has been acquired for RHP Ruben Flores.

First, Ruben Flores turned 25 this year and is still pitching between A and High-A ball. He missed all of 2008 and has been pitching exclusively out of the bullpen this year and posting pretty unspectacular numbers. He will not be missed in the slightest.

Bill Hall, meanwhile, is owed $8.4 million next year and at least $0.5 million in 2011 (or an additional $8.75 million to exercise a club option). The salary numbers are obviously really curious as to what this means for 2010. The Brewers have to throwing in cash on this deal, they just have to. (Jeff's note: Milwaukee's covering almost all of the cost. Hooray!)

Bill Hall was a fantastic hitter in 2005 and 2006 and absolutely flipped the switch off ever since then. He can play 2B, 3B and CF at an above-average level which is a lot of defensive versatility. We will wait to see how much money is coming back to us, as that is the key to the deal, but Bill Hall can be a $10-15 million guy in value if he relearns how to hit and he (and/or Hannahan) likely takes over the starting 3B job next year should Adrian Beltre depart.

Jeff's input: It's really tempting to look at Hall's track record and say "hey if he can get back to doing what he did in 2006, then that'd be spectacular." But 2006 was three years ago. In 2006, Travis Hafner was the best hitter in baseball and Bronson Arroyo had the fourth-best ERA in the NL. There's always a chance that Hall could suddenly re-discover what once made him so good, and this *is* a change-of-scenery deal, but what we have to focus on is how to make Hall useful assuming he remains what he's been since 2007. And the best way to make this version of Bill Hall useful is to get him the majority of his playing time against left-handed pitchers while playing all over the infield. He's a utility/platoon guy until he proves otherwise, and while that's by no means a problem since the Brewers are footing the bill, it's best not to expect too much.

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