From the way the story has been reported, it seems as though the Brewers are willing to give Hart more than they initially offered. Judging by the deals reached by the other arby-eligible players the past few weeks, the team would probably be more than happy to meet Hart in the middle and just be done with it.
But Hart's side doesn't seem to want to negotiate. My question...why?
Hart hasn't had what I'd consider a "good" year for the past couple seasons now. He doesn't have the benefit of an All-Star appearance the previous season to strengthen his case this year. He had some injury problems last year, and when he was on the field, he wasn't playing like a $4 million player.
He's struggled to match the numbers he put up in 2007, and his defense has been slipping as well. If the regression continues, he's getting dangerously close to being easily replaceable by a much cheaper player -- an attractive option for a team facing a big arbitration case with Prince Fielder next winter while Yovani Gallardo also enters his arby years.
This case is hardly a slam dunk from Hart's point of view, which is why I don't get how Hart's team could leave at least $300,000 on the table -- if not the whole $650,000 if he has to go to a hearing and ends up losing.
Hart just has to be getting bad advice here. It's the only way that he admits he didn't have a very good year in 2009 (according to Doug Melvin) and hasn't come to terms with the team yet. Here's to hoping that for a second year in a row, Hart's agent comes to his senses and strikes a deal.
If the quotes from the Brewers are accurate, though, perhaps they won't answer if his side comes calling at the 11th hour. And in that scenario, you have to wonder if Hart would reconsider his choice in representation.