I couldn’t have been the only one whose heart skipped a beat when Corey Hart had to leave Friday night’s game against the Nationals with a wrist/thumb injury. Hart is arguably the Brewers’ best chip for next week’s trading deadline, and any injury could potentially put a damper on any enthusiasm other teams may have.
Thankfully, the injury doesn’t look serious. He’s being called day-to-day, and even though it doesn’t look like he’ll miss much time, it seems like quite a few people are assuming his trade value is going to take a hit.
But is this really the case?
If Hart were a free agent at the end of this season and just a rental for any potential buyers, I could see the reasoning. It’s entirely possible he’s not the same player he’s been this year for a couple weeks following this injury. Hart playing at 70% is certainly worth less in a trade than Hart playing at 100%.
But Hart isn’t a free agent after this season — he’s under team control through next season as well. The way the Brewers have been spinning it, anyone who trades for Hart (or Prince Fielder) would be getting him for two pennant races, not just one.
To me, that makes this Hart injury less of a potential disaster. Could it still hurt the potential return in a trade this week? Sure, and maybe this injury is reason enough for the Brewers to keep Hart through this season and try to deal him in December instead. But let’s not be melodramatic here — he’s far from being damaged goods, and should still be worth a decent young pitcher or two. He still stands to be one of the better bats on the trade market this week, and is probably more attainable than the likes of Fielder or Adam Dunn while being more of an impact addition than someone like Russell Branyan.