Hart, who stands at 6'6", did not play in 2013 after undergoing surgery on both of his knees. He also missed the first month of the 2012 season after having knee surgery in spring training of that year. From 2010-2012, he posted an 857 OPS and hit 87 home runs. He is one of the best power hitters on the free agent market this offseason.
Back in mid-September, Hart stated a willingness to return to Milwaukee and said he would be willing to take a discount for the opportunity to remain with the Brewers. At the time, Hart said he had not had any negotiations with the team. Hart knows the team would need to make sure he is healthy before offering a contract, but thought there was a good chance he would be in a Brewers uniform in 2014.
"[The Brewers have] kind of hinted (they have interest) but it’s early, and coming off two knee surgeries I’m sure they want to see me get out there and run first before they actually talk to me.They want to make sure I can do the stuff I need to do, which I’ll be able to do. It’s a process. Can I run and do the cuts I need to do. Hopefully, they’ll see enough and keep me," Hart said in September. "I’m pretty optimistic that I’ll be back"
The Brewers are thought to have about $10 million in salary room in the offseason, which is exactly what Hart made in 2013. The team's main focus is finding a first baseman, but they also have other holes to fill as well. Their interest likely depends on how much of a discount Hart is willing to take.
Milwaukee has explored other first base options early in the offseason, including talking to the Mets about Ike Davis. No deal appears imminent, however.
With Hart and backups Taylor Green and Mat Gamel all missing the 2013 season, the Brewers instead relied on a mishmash of players like Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, Juan Francisco and Sean Halton at first base. Consequently, their production at the position was the worst in the major leagues.
The Mets are also known to have an interest in Hart, who could see a lot of attention on the free agent market.