And Then There Was One

Milwaukee Brewers Carlos Villanueva pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Villanueva has agreed to a one-year, $950,000 contract for 2010, avoiding arbitration.  This comes a day after Dave Bush also avoided arby, meaning outfielder Corey Hart is the lone remaining arby-eligible player.

For those expecting an announcement for Corey Hart sometime soon, don’t hold your breath, tweets Adam McCalvy.  He says that things are moving so slowly that Doug Melvin’s streak of avoiding arbitration may be in jeopardy.  Tom Haudricourt notes that Hart was the last Brewer to sign last offseason, as well.  The closest Melvin has ever come to having to go to a hearing was with another outfielder, Brady Clark, but the two sides were able to come to terms literally hours before the meeting happened.

I feel compelled to mention that these contracts are only partially guaranteed in Spring Training — the team could release Villanueva, for example, for less than the $950k he’s owed if they do it before Opening Day.  Considering the crowded state of the bullpen and Villanueva’s performance last year, something like that may not be out of the question.