Brian Sabean, Corey Hart and the art of the “fleece”

July 05, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Milwaukee Brewers Corey Hart  continued his hit streak to 20 games today, Hart had 2 hits including a double off of Giants pitcher Dan Ruzler..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the San Francisco Giants 1-6..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

There’s no way Brian Sabean will overpay for Corey Hart.

Brian Sabean won’t overpay to get Corey Hart, will he?

Oh God, Brian Sabean is going to overpay for Corey Hart, isn’t he?

If the Giants’ GM has taught us anything over the years, it’s that he’ll sell his wife, kids and soul just to get the player he covets. See Edgardo Alfonzo, whom he overpaid for in 2003 despite the third baseman’s well documented back troubles. See A.J. Pierzynski, whom he inexplicably acquired from the Twins in exchange for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser because the Giants needed a catcher. See Barry Zito, whom he gave a $126 million contract to after outbidding himself.

For as great of a job as Sabean has done building one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, he’s done an equally horrendous job developing position players (Buster Posey being the exception, of course). Because he wasted years signing past-their-prime veterans instead of building through the draft, Sabean has had to overpay when it comes to free agents and trades. So when I read that the Giants are interested in Corey Hart, my palms and forehead get sweaty and the room starts spinning.

Hart is a fine player and he’s having a stellar year. His career OPS of .810 is far and away better than any current Giants’ hitter outside of Aubrey Huff and he’s heading to the All-Star Game next week.

But what’s to say that Hart isn’t the next Aaron Rowand? You remember Rowand, don’t you? The guy that Sabean drooled over after he hit .309 with 27 dingers in his final season with Philadelphia? Well that guy is now a platoon player in the Giants’ outfield because AT&T Park swallowed him whole. He, just like Hart, played in a wiffle ball park before arriving in San Francisco and now, three years and $60 million later, he’s struggling to hit .270.

If I’m Doug Melvin, I’d trade Hart in a second. The Brewers probably won’t have enough to pay both Hart and Prince Fielder next year and Hart’s value has never been higher. Milwaukee needs pitching and fortunately for them, the Giants have a surplus in that area.

Even more fortunate for Melvin and the Brewers is Sabean’s penchant for overpaying. Melvin might be able to squeeze Jonathan Sanchez and a prospect or two out of Sabean for a player in Hart that doesn’t have a long-term future in Milwaukee anyway. He’d be foolish not to fleece the Giants.

So here we are. The Giants are currently wrapping up a four-game series in Milwaukee as I type and there’s no doubt Sabean’s heart is racing like a school girl on her first date at the thought of acquiring Hart. In the right package, it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing for San Fran to acquire a good hitter. But if Sabean follows through with his overwhelming desire to be had in every trade he’s ever been a part of, then Hart’s name will probably be mentioned along with Alfonzo, Pierzynski, Zito and Rowand’s the next time I want to bitch about Sabean (which will likely be in about an hour).

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