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Sunday, January 15, 2006

MIL Journal-Sentinel: Hall toes the company line after trade for Koskie

Hopefully, this news will sooth Harveys’ anger…

Rather than publicly whine and complain about his situation, [Bill] Hall said all the right things, handling the matter with class and dignity… Which is one of the reasons general manager Doug Melvin told Hall he’d make every effort to secure him with a multi-year contract before spring training begins, or shortly afterward.
Melvin knew the acquisition of Koskie would be a blow to Hall, which he tried to soften by calling Hall in advance so he wouldn’t hear of the trade second-hand. In the often cruel, business side of the game, players often complain about being treated like a piece of meat, be it well-paid pieces of meat. “I appreciated (the advance notice),” said Hall, who batted .291 with 17 homers and 62 RBI in 146 games last season. “Doug wanted to make sure I heard it from him first.”

NTNgod Posted: January 15, 2006 at 03:56 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers

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   1. FBI Posted: January 15, 2006 at 04:42 AM (#1821769)
Is a Koskie/Hall/Hardy trio so bad?
Couldn't Hardy and even Fielder be sent down so Hall and Branyan could start?
It could help Milwaukee long-term
   2. The Hop-Clop Goes On (psa1) Posted: January 15, 2006 at 06:16 AM (#1821918)
Couldn't Hardy and even Fielder be sent down so Hall and Branyan could start?

Huh? Hall's a questionable defensive shortstop, and Hardy steadily improved all season. It would be an odd baseball decision, and send a very odd message to Hardy, to send JJ down. Fielder is just plain ready. Melvin didn't trade Overbay so Branyan could start.

A Koskie/Hall/Hardy trio is essentially what Melvin traded to accomplish. The Koskie acquisition means that Hall will probably get more SS/2B starts than he would've otherwise, so Hardy may get a bit less playing time.
   3. Dr. Vaux Posted: January 15, 2006 at 06:39 AM (#1821940)
You know, I was looking at Hall's stats the other day, and before last season, what's to like?

He looks like a utility infielder to me.
   4. simon bedford Posted: January 15, 2006 at 10:56 AM (#1821982)
After watching Koskie for 3/4 of the season up here in Toronto you dont want to know what he looks like.
   5. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 15, 2006 at 01:54 PM (#1822002)
First, Bill Hall is not a "questionable" defensive shortstop. He struggled earlier in his career, but Hall would be a solid shortstop if allowed to play there more than three games in a row.

Which brings me to Vaux's comment. Bill Hall's numbers would look a lot better if the Brewers were not so determined to make him the "uber-utility" man on the roster.

Hall has a smattering of at bats in 2003 with good isolated power but hampered by a lack of strike zone judgement and an erratic glove. So Bill works hard during the offseason.

And Craig Counsell is playing shortstop and Junior Spivey is at second to begin 2004 with Bill anxiously awaiting a chance. Spivey gets hurt in May so Bill takes over second base, not his natural position by any means, and acquits himself halfway decently while also hitting the ball with authority. He is clearly trying to work the count, but convinced he needs to hit the ball to stay in the lineup he begins to press and chases ye olde slider in the dirt. Spivey comes back and Hall has to scramble for playing time at short (when Counsell battles some owies) and third base. 2004 doesn't look so hot at first glance but a closer look reveals a guy who nudged up the number of pitchers per at bat, improved his baserunning, and seemed to get his feet under him on defense.

2005 shows up and the Brewers hand the starting shortstop job to a 22 year old with all of 101 at bats at Triple A. Second base goes to the brittle guy with the bigger paycheck. Third base is his best shot for some playing time.

So again Bill barely sees any time in April but come May injuries get Bill into the lineup and he breaks out with a fury. Over the next two months Hall pounds the ball into the gaps and over the fence while bouncing around the infield. He fades a bit come July but finishes the season with a rush. The gains from 2004 are not wasted as again Hall demonstrates even more patience at the plate as his pitches per appearance go up again. He is the best base stealer on the club. He has the best arm of any infielder on the team.

And his grand reward for his diligence and willingness to help the club in any way possible?

Corey F*ckin' Koskie.

Well excuse me for saying so but this team needs some 32 year old has been like I need grumpy pills.

Is their RISK in trusting Bill Hall to play third base in the National League? Sure. He could lose his tenuous grasp of the strike zone in a New York minute, see his average plummet, and Milwaukee would have to trust Jeff Cirillo to hold the fort.

But what if the trend continues? What if Bill's blood, sweat, and tears pays off? What then? Is having a third baseman with 25 homer/25 stolen bases a BAD thing?

Bill Hall is 26, dedicated, no, DESPERATE to succeed at the major league level. Why wouldn't you let the man have more than a week at the same position without having to wonder if his name is in the lineup?

I understand that everyone THINKS Bill Hall is a utility guy. But since when did folks get so locked into a perception that they completely ignored the possibility that maybe, just maybe, he's MORE than that.

As you have likely guessed by now I am a HUGE fan of Bill Hall. Some might snicker and call it a man-crush. Whatever. I will not apologize for rooting for a guy who works incredibly hard, has done EVERYTHING the club has ever asked, and been a great kid under all circumstances.

Bill Hall deserves better. I hope it's in Milwaukee.

If they ever let him.......
   6. jeff angus Posted: January 15, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#1822063)
Harvey's description of Hall's application describes almost exactly the application of Jim Gilliam after his first three years. He'd come into spring training with a young stud getting Gilliam's position the previous year as the prospect's his-to-lose. Sometimes Gilliam would move to another position or around or start the year as an uber-util. But Gilliam would get over 500 PAs for 9 seasons after being used this way.

The clippings from that time made it look like Dodger management thought Gilliam could take the pressure, and that his looming presence pressured the young studs or anyone who was holding 2b or 3b in his place to achieve.

Hall doesn't seem to have the single *big* skill the Dodgers valued in Gilliam (bat control + foot speed), but he seems to have the attitude, and he has more pop than Gilliam had. While I agree it'd be swell to see him w/a stable assigned position and a chance to master it, he could end up being more valuable to his team & teammates through those Gilliam factors as he would be as a penciled-in {insert position here}.
   7. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 15, 2006 at 06:23 PM (#1822088)

Not really. As much as I root for Bill on his best day he isn't Jim Gilliam. And when Gilliam came to the Dodgers he stepped into the lineup immediately and hit/fielded from the get go.

Gilliam was always going to play because it was obvious he COULD play. The Dodgers had him at second base full time his first two years in the league because that is where they needed him. Don Zimmer showed up in 1955 and Alston, looking to help his offense, platooned Gilliam with Amoros in left a bit but still had Jim at second a fair amount of the time..

But then Zimmer got hurt and Charlie Neal showed up and Neal was a good defensive second baseman. So Gilliam headed over to third with Jackie having gotten old.

The Dodgers weren't switching Gilliam around as some motivational ploy. Alston moved him around to improve the team knowing Gilliam would be solid no matter the position. So in that sense you are correct in that Jim could and did handle the "pressure" well. But Gilliam never had to worry about PLAYING. He was going to be in the lineup.

Bill Hall can't get a spot in the lineup because the Brewers are convinced he's not a full-time quality player. Despite his improvements he has the "utility" tag and can't shed it. Hall won't get a regular gig unless there is a major injury. And even then I wonder if the Crew won't trade for someone who is a "known" quantity.

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