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Hardy Down And Hall Out

JJ HardyRemember all the trade rumors around Brewers SS JJ Hardy? How he would have been a perfect fit for the Mariners, with their clear need to upgrade at shortstop, and SS Alcides Escobar sitting in AAA for Milwaukee? Especially once Jack Z got hired by Seattle, a trade never seemed imminent, but awfully realistic.

In the end, JJ Hardy stayed in Milwaukee. He's on the move now though.

He's going to Nashville, as in AAA Nashville. Alcides Escobar will take his place on the major league roster. Also, the Brewers designated INF/OF Bill Hall for assignment. Hall had a big year in 2006, and cashed in with a lucrative contract. He is still due around $10 million before the 2011 season, so that looks pretty bad at this point. Hall is too versatile to not get a chance with another team though, especially only for the veteran minimum that another team would have have to pay to Hall.

JJ Hardy is the more interesting case. He has really struggled at the plate this year, and the Brewers are in a bit of a tailspin right now. Changes were likely, and on some level sending Hardy down is a logical move. Escobar is one of baseball's best prospects right now. He is the reason Hardy has been rumored in trades for most of this season.

However, why send Hardy down now? Why bring up Alcides Escobar now? It feels a bit like a move for the future, a bit as if the Brewers are waving the white flag. Presumably, Alcides Escobar could grab the shortstop job and never look back.

However, if it was a move for the future, where does that leave JJ Hardy? It has seemed likely that Hardy would be traded once Milwaukee decided Escobar was ready, and it also seemed likely that Hardy could net a helpful pitcher in a deal. Sending Hardy down should hurt his trade value.

But does it?

Hardy, if he is down long enough, may have to wait another year for free agency. That could increase his value some. Would that really be the main reason that the Brewers sent him down though? I doubt it, but it's an interesting twist to the move.

More than anything, it is just kind of fun to watch players on other teams that have been talked about as potential Mariners. With Jack Wilson in the fold, JJ Hardy doesn't make sense for the M's anymore. He will make sense for someone though, and it's hard to see exactly what the Brewers are thinking right now. That's not to say they have made bad moves today, just ones that could be motivated by a number of factors.