Welly welly well, Mike Carp was dealt to the Red Sox for a PTBNL or cash, which likely proves the Brewers decided not to match or exceed that meager return for the former-Mariner first baseman/DH. The Brewers had basically said as much Tuesday, indicating they’d try to fill the first-base hole internally. What the Brewers seem to be looking for, in between the lines, is a stop-gap platoon solution for first base until Corey Hart returns healthy. If the Crew had wanted a more permanent solution for first base, they probably would’ve gambled on Carp at that low price. Instead, their reluctance to make a major transaction at first base implies that they’re fine (for now) going with a mix of Taylor Green, Bobby Crosby and Alex Gonzalez at first base to start the season. The final piece to that platoon puzzle, though, could and should be Sean Halton, who put up some good numbers as Nashville’s first baseman in 2012.
If the organization doesn’t want to rush Hunter Morris and prefers to keep him up in the big leagues once it’s decided he’s ready, wouldn’t Sean Halton, already 25 years old, be the perfect way to get from the season opener until Hart’s ready? Halton could also be used if Hart is traded this season, until Morris is truly ready. Barring a preseason trade or pickup or Lyle Overbay’s return via a release from the Red Sox, Sean Halton is the most logical choice for these interim times at first base. Halton, the 13th-round pick of the 2009 draft from Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, is 6’ 5’’ and weighs over 250. He has moved quickly in the Brewers’ minor-league system and now has four professional seasons under his belt. He’s played over 100 games in each of the last three years, posting a career-high 17 homeruns with the Sounds last year along with a slash line of .274/.354/.497. Halton is certainly no speedster but he can play a decent first base while Hart is out and he is capable of putting up some respectable RBI numbers with simple base hits, doubles and the occasional homer. He also can take a walk but probably strikes out too much (nearly 20 percent of the time). But unless a vastly better option turns up, why not go with the current modus operandi and let the kid play some first base? Let’s see what Halton’s got, assuming he can hit enough in spring training to be evaluated at all.
Halton has already been told to dig in at the major-league camp for now, but apparently he’s considered to have little chance of starting the season with the Brewers. What I don’t get is why Halton would be only a ‘long-shot at best’, as Tom Haudricourt terms it. He would come cheaply, and would compliment Green as a lefty-righty platoon combo at first base. Let’s face it: using career shortstop Alex Gonzalez at first base may be nice to get him some playing time and get his bat in the lineup, but it doesn’t sound like Gonzalez is too thrilled about it; plus, even though Bobby Crosby has played a bit of first base in the majors, he’s probably better suited as the team’s super-utility guy to back up the infield as a whole, not to see significant time at first base. Installing Halton as the starter at first base would negate any concerns about bring Morris up too soon or at an ill-timed moment. Additionally, if Halton flops to open the season, they can always send him to Nashville to get at-bats, albeit with Morris getting the bulk of time at first base in Music City. I totally understand wanting to see Hunter Morris open the season with Milwaukee, but in the reserved, patient manner in which the Brewers have been conducting themselves lately, it would seem imperative to avoid that temptation and instead let a guy like Halton play first.