Monday, June 2, 2008

Bill Hall wants a trade

By Nicole
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As you can see from the timestamp, this was just put up on the JSOnline.com Brewers blog.

Hall wants a trade

By Tom Haudricourt
Monday, Jun 2 2008, 10:43 PM

Bill Hall wants out.

Hall's agent, Terry Bross, told me tonight that he believes it would be best for both the Brewers and his client if Hall is traded to another club where he could play regularly.

Hall made no qualms about being unhappy when the Brewers called up Russell Branyan from Class AAA Nashville on May 24 to platoon at third base. The right-handed hitting Hall was batting .158 against right-handed pitchers at the time, prompting the Brewers to summon the left-handed-hitting Branyan to share the position.

Hall felt unfairly singled out because he had switched positions several times in past years at the club's bequest and was a .262 career hitter against right-handed pitchers prior to 2008. Manager Ned Yost stopped short of calling it a strict platoon but Hall has not started against a right-handed pitcher since Branyan arrived.

"If Billy's not going to be an everyday player, it's probably best for him and the team to be traded," said Bross. "They could get a pitcher for him that would really help the team. I'm sure there are some teams out there that could use a third baseman or shortstop."

Bross said he had not formerly requested a trade from Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. Hall said he preferred to be moved to another club but left it to Bross to do the talking on that subject.

"(Bross) knows how I feel," said Hall.

Melvin said he spoke with Bross after Branyan was called up but did not discuss the possibility of a trade.

"I didn't get the impression then that he wanted a trade," said Melvin. "I don't look at it (like Hall should be traded). Billy's still a very helpful player on the club against left-handed pitching. We haven't talked about (a possible trade)."

Hall, 28, filled in for injured shortstop J.J. Hardy in 2006 and had his best season, slugging 35 homers and driving in 85 runs, earning team MVP honors. After agreeing to move to centerfield last year, Hall was given a four-year, $24 million contract, at the time the biggest deal in club history for an everyday player.

Hall focused on that position switch and his offense suffered. He slipped to a .254 batting average with 14 homers and 63 RBI.

Hall was under the impression he would be the centerfielder for years to come. But the Brewers signed free-agent centerfielder Mike Cameron over the winter and moved Hall to third base, paving the way to shift error-prone Ryan Braun to left field.

It was that willingness by Hall to move around the diamond that particularly irked him when he lost his everyday status at third base. At the time, he was batting .220 with nine homers and 22 RBI.

"It's not like he was the only guy struggling in the lineup at the time," said Bross. "Billy's done everything asked of him. He's thankful to them for signing him to a multi-year contract but I think it's probably time for a change of scenery.

"If you were the Brewers, why wouldn't you move him? I would think it would be in both Billy's best interests and the team's best interests."

Hall was back in the lineup tonight against Arizona lefty Doug Davis and should start Tuesday, also, against left-hander Randy Johnson.

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