Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Brewers Need to Make More Moves Before 2014 Season Starts

Well it appears as if the Milwaukee Brewers are done making moves this off season, although one could say they didn’t really make any to begin with outside of one signing, which is true. But, in all seriousness, we do know this will be the roster the Brewers head to Spring Training with. Despite the Matt Garza signing, I will tell you this isn’t a playoff roster, and if Melvin is smart, he will move some more veterans in season at the trade deadline for prospects. Below are a list of names I believe could get traded.

Aramis Ramirez/3B- It seems as if the veteran Ramirez has been a trade candidate for a long time now. Well, now is the time to trade him, especially if he has a good productive season. Where will he get traded? Well, a lot of that will depend on who could use a veteran bat at the trade deadline. Right now one such possibility could be Baltimore.

Jim Henderson/RP- I know a lot of you may think I’m insane for wanting to trade Henderson. However Henderson reminds me of a young Latroy Hawkins- big fastball, and not much else. If you think we way to the beginning of Hawkins career, he was a closer for a while based on that fastball. Teams began to wise up to it and hitters began to sit back and time that big fastball in the 9th inning. I think it would be wise for Melvin to trade Henderson before everyone else realizes this.

Rickie Weeks/2B- I know a lot of you may read this and say “Yes Please!.” Let me remind you though that somebody would want him in order for the Brewers to trade him. Right now, it appears as if Milwaukee couldn’t give him away if they wanted to. Nobody wants that contract. Well, if they can build value for him somehow, enough that they could dump him on somebody, they will move him as soon as they do.

Kyle Lohse/SP- Kyle Lohse was the confusing signing for 2013. Milwaukee gave up a first round drat choice to sign him. Right now,. Lohse has value, and if he can hold that value or possibly build on it the first half of the season, it would be wise for Milwaukee to move him and try to regain the value in that first round draft choice they lost.

Yovani Gallardo/SP- What a difference a year makes. A year ago today we were talking about Gallardo being maybe the most coveted free agent starting pitcher in major league history. We were saying he could have gotten 10/200 if he hit the market in stride. One year later, his value has gone through the floor. A year ago Milwaukee could have gotten the world for him, now they would be lucky to get one elite prospect. However, it is far from over here. If he can get back to where he was before last season, he could get right back to being that coveted pitcher we were talking about, and it would be smart for Milwaukee to move him at that point in time. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Doug Melvin I Had You All Wrong | Attanasio Might Be To Blame

Brewers GM and Owner
If you have followed this blog over the last 18 months, you would know that I have been very hard on the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, one Doug Melvin. I have blamed Melvin for the mess that the Brewers are in, claiming him to be a bad GM who doesn’t know how to run a small market baseball team.

The more I examine the situation, the more I begin to realize that maybe he isn’t the problem. After all, he is a baseball professional, he does understand that although each has their own philosophy and way to run a baseball team, there are certain decisions that a team can make that are widely accepted to be, plain and simply put, stupid and any baseball man knows to simply not do these things. Many of the moves the Brewers have made the last handful of years are considered by the baseball world to be just plain stupid. Emptying your farm for one magical season is considered to be stupid. Signing a pitcher in late March and giving up your first round draft choice in the process is considered to be just plain stupid. Signing a player to a long term contract extension when he is already under team control for the next half a decade with any arbitration even being involved pretty much takes the stupid cake.

I started to think about this for a while and I thought to myself, no GM, no matter how bad they are, could possibly be this dumb. Then I began to think. Maybe it’s not him. After all, it is widely known the owner of the Brewers, Mark Attanasio, does make himself very “available” to the Brewers front office when it comes to personnel decision making. Now that I think about it, maybe it’s not Doug Melvin. After all, no baseball professional could possibly be make these moves and still call himself a professional. Maybe the finger can be pointed at Mark Attanasio, who appears to be one of these owners who think that simply spending money and resources will equal success.

Think back the 2008 season. Yeah, the Brewers first postseason appearance in 25 years. They had a crop of players who stock couldn’t possibly be any higher. I believe now that Doug Melvin was ready to trade some of those players. I believe he was ready to show Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Carlos Villanueva, Bill Hall, and Rickie Weeks the door while their stock was at all time high. Believe me when I tell you this, I was just as informed of what was going on then as I am now, Melvin could have gotten the world for that bunch I just listed. After all, any common sense baseball man would be prepared to do just that. However I feel that Attanasio may have stepped in and said “no, you are not doing that. I want to win now”.

In reality though, you know how these small market teams win? They don’t win by spending money; they win by having a pair of core players, an ace pitcher, and a franchise position player, on the roster, and using a deep farm to continually supply the rest of the roster with talent. Don’t tell me you can’t rely on young players come September. Other small market teams do it all the time and they have no issue with it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lack Of Trades In Brewers Camp Sparks Interest | Are The Brewers Moving In The Right Direction?

Brewers Trades 2014
The Milwaukee Brewers entered the off season with two major needs. Outside of one trade, they have done nothing to address either of those needs. The Brewers lack of activity this off season is so well documented that it has even caught the attention of the national media. This might seem a little strange. After all, we have never seen an off season league wide with this much activity in quite some time. However if you look at the rest of the NL Central, the Brewers lack of off season activity is right on line with the rest of them.

So far this off season, there has only been one major transaction in the NL Central, the Cardinals signing shortstop Johnny Peralta to a four year contract. Other than that, the news in NL Central has been dominated by managerial changes and players that actually left. Both the Cubs and Cardinals changed managers this off season. The Cubs brought in Rick Renteria and the Reds brought in Bryan Price.

Many players have left the NL Central for other teams as well. The Pirates watched as two important parts to their playoff run last season, two players they had acquired mid-season, walked away. First basemen Justin Morneau signed with the Rockies and outfielder Marlon Byrd signed with the Phillies. The Cardinals watched as outfielder Carlos Beltran signed with the New York Yankees The Reds have been rumored to be looking to trade all-star second basemen Brandon Phillips and the Cubs have been rumored to be looking to be doing the same with starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. In fact, the Cubs and Twins had a trade in place to bring Samardzija to Minnesota in exchange for second base prospect Eddie Rosario. The deal seemed imminent until Rosario was suspended 50 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. 

Should These NL Central Teams Be Concerned?

No they should not. See, the rest of these teams across the league are making these transactions because they have to. Seattle has to figure out a way to be better than the Angels, Athletics, and Rangers. The situation in the NL Central is unique. The three teams at the top last season, the Reds, Pirates, and Cardinals, have no reason to believe they can’t do it again. The Pirates believe in themselves now, which is actually the last remaining piece they have been missing more than anything else these last two years. The Reds believe it was the manager, so they made a change, and the Cardinals believe in their own system. The only teams who should be concerned are the Cubs and Brewers. Actually, change that. We know exactly what Chicago is doing right now. At this moment, the Cubs are not trying to be better than those three at the top. They are trying to position themselves to be the best team five years from now. That leaves just the Brewers. As for Milwaukee, there is not much they can do right now. If anything, they should be doing what the Cubs are doing, because there is no way the Brewers can be better than two of those three teams at the top over the course of a 162 game season next year. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Where Is Doug Melvin Taking The Brewers? Does He Even Know?

Doug Melvin Brewers GM
Across the four major American professional sports leagues, there are certain teams that everyone looks up to. In the NHL those teams are the Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. In basketball those teams would be the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, and the Chicago Bulls. In baseball those teams are the St. Louis Cardinals, the Minnesota Twins, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Angels, and the Atlanta Braves. In the NFL those teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens, the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, the New England Patriots, and the Indianapolis Colts.

These teams are looked up to, not because they win all the time, or some of the time, but because they, simply put, know what they’re doing at all times. These teams always have a clear sense of direction. They know if they are coming or going. They know what their team is at the point in time, and they know if they are trying to win a championship, build towards one, or even rebuilding, as the Minnesota Twins are right now. The rest of the league tries to copy these teams without really understanding what they are trying to copy. For example, the Minnesota Vikings theme recently has been trying to find a long term answer at quarterback.

Okay, how do you exactly plan on accomplishing that? Well, there answer always is “we have to draft one”. Um fellas, there’s more to it than that. way more to it that. You draft him, but then you have to train him and turn him into what you are trying to copy. That part of it takes TIME, and by time, I don’t mean weeks or months, I mean years. In other words, it is going to take a lot of patience to make that quarterback, a trait that most of the teams in the NFL don’t have.

But I’ve gotten off subject here. What I am getting at is the Milwaukee Brewers are one of those teams that are left on the outside looking into this inner circle of special teams. I’ve spent a great deal of time examining everything Doug Melvin has done in the last two calendar years. Quite frankly, I can’t figure out what this man is trying to do. He seems to be taking his plan on a year to year basis, trading for and away players without a plan. Remember what I said about those teams that everyone looks up to? They would never ever do what Doug Melvin has done the last couple of years. For as much as many of you hate the St. Louis Cardinals, they would never do this. They always know where they stand, and what they intend to do in the coming future. I don’t see that with Doug Melvin. I see a man with no plan or direction for the Brewers. Now most of us “experts” in the media can very clearly see which direction they need to go right now, but for some reason, Melvin and his people seem to be almost scared to go in that direction. Eight years ago, Ted Thompson was named general manager of the Green Bay Packers. The moment he took the position, he examined the Packers roster, and took them full blown into a rebuild. Many people didn’t like it at the time, but it needed to be done. Circa-2005 the Green Packers, were an old, overpaid, underachieving football team. Here we are in 2013. Aren’t you glad now that Thompson did that? Melvin could learn something from that

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brewers Rumor Mill Comes Back To Life | Will Michael Young Come To Miller Park?

Michael Young Brewers Trade
I don’t know if you have heard, but all of a sudden the rumor mill of the Milwaukee Brewers, which has been very silent recently, has come to life. This is mainly based around two particular names that have been associated with the Milwaukee Brewers on an everyday basis for pretty much the last week or two. These rumors concern the current first base dilemma facing the Milwaukee Brewers. If you read this blog and my other Brewers blog on a weekly basis, you will know that I have spent a great deal of time this offseason discussing the Brewers current first base situation and how I am disappointed that general manager Doug Melvin has done nothing to fix it. Well, it looks like he is finally ready to do something about it.  After all, the fans need something to get them to purchase Miller Park tickets in 2014

The first and foremost name associated with the Milwaukee Brewers recently is New York Mets first basemen Ike Davis. This isn’t entirely a surprise though, as Ike Davis’s name has been associated with the Brewers for quite a while now as a possible landing spot for him via trade since pretty much right after the trade deadline. Doug Melvin was probably waiting though to show any serious real interest in trading for Davis so he could see how the free agent market shaped up. Well, the free agent market at first base came and went, and Melvin did nothing, absolutely nothing. Not even an offer to anyone. Maybe it was in Melvin’s plans all along to make a deal for Davis; he was just waiting for the right time to do so. Who knows? All we know is this looks to be the option now. The Mets originally wanted Tyler Thornburg for Davis, but have since backed off of that. Right now, it is looking as if Drew Gagnon might be who the Mets get in exchange for Davis. Gagnon spent last season splitting time between the Class A-Advanced and Double AA affiliates of the Milwaukee Brewers. Gagnon currently stands as only the 15th best prospect in the Brewers system, but the Mets like his stuff, and the Mets want pitching prospects for Davis

Michael Young Next Utility Player For Brewers?

The other name being associated with the Brewers right now is free agent infielder Michael Young. Michael Young, a former Ranger all-star, has started at every position in the infield in his career. The Brewers may be looking at Young as someone to keep an eye on in case they can’t trade for Davis, but Young could still have value as a utility player for Milwaukee.

Some people have told me they don’t like either of these options. Well, it’s not that either one of these guys are spectacular, it’s that these two are just about the best Doug Melvin can do at this point. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Brewers Player Options For First Base In 2014

Brewers Pitchers
The Milwaukee Brewers came into this offseason with a huge need at first base. So far this offseason, they have done nothing to address that need. Doug Melvin had a chance to sign the likes of Mike Napoli, James Loney, and Justin Morneau. Now Napoli was highly unlikely to begin with, but Loney and Morneau would have been good signings. Out of those two, I say Morneau would have fit better. Right now, this locker room in Milwaukee, with everything that has happened over the last couple of years, needs a true professional, a calming veteran presence, to come in here, and relax this team. This doesn’t need to be a great player, or even a good to great player, just a good, hard working professional who the Brewers know they won’t need to baby-sit. Justin Morneau would have been just that, a guy who could come in here, and on any particular day if the team is feeling a little stressed out or whatever, simply say to the team "Alright gentlemen, let’s relax and go play some baseball today."

At this point I see a trade as highly unlikely so Milwaukee may need to go with what is has or search through the trash bin of free agency to find an answer. So what would these options be?

Ben Francisco - At this point Francisco looks to be the starter by default over there. He has the most power out of any of the in-house options for Milwaukee.

Yuniesky Betancourt- Even though he currently stands as a free agent, Betancourt has played for Milwaukee on several occasions, including last season, some of which he played at first base. Melvin could sign him at any time he wanted if he really wanted to.

Alex Gonazlez- Alex Gonalzez is another player Milwaukee simply stuck at first base last season. He was playing okay over there until he got hurt. This is another option sitting out there for Melvin to consider if he has to.

Hunter Morris- This one is highly unlikely. Morris barely kept his head above water in Triple A last season. He is not ready for the big leagues yet.

Mat Gamel- This one is intriguing to me. Gamel was once a top Brewers prospect who at one point was actually considered to be a one-for-one swap for C.C. Sabathia instead of the package the Brewers sent the Indians for Sabathia. However injuries have all but ruined Gamel’s career. Still Milwaukee could give him a Spring Training invite and try to give him one last chance. Personally, I do not like any of these options, and I believe Melvin’s lack of addressing of the issue is going to come back to haunt Milwaukee. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Short List Of Potential Brewers Outfielders For 2014

Shinn Soo ChooMilwaukee’s outfield, and I am not sure they have the in house options to fill it. Melvin may have to look at the free agent market to fill this hole, and there are plenty of options left to fill it with.
The trade of starting right fielder Norichika Aoki leaves a hole in

Shin-Soo Choo- Some people may start calling for Melvin to go after Choo, the biggest prize remaining on the free agent market. Um, no. Remember the dream girl from high school that you wanted so bad but you knew that not only would it be in your best interest not to ask her out, but it would also be in your best interest to not even talk to her? Well, that is Choo. It would be a good idea for Melvin to never even give Choo a call. He is going to be way out of Melvin’s price range, as in “more than 100 million” out. Move on, nothing to see here.

Nelson Cruz- Nelson Cruz, who once played for Milwaukee before he finally found success in Texas, would be an interesting option for Melvin. Even though he is coming off of a 50-game suspension, Cruz is still a viable free agent. Not sure of this would be a great idea though.

Michael Morse- Michael Morse, who was once an up and coming player in Washington, was traded to Seattle prior to the 2013 season. Morse got off to a not so great start and was traded to Baltimore before the August 31st waiver wire deadline. Still Morse is valuable, and his Greek-god-like power is still there. Morse is definitely an option Doug Melvin should consider.  

Juan Pierre- The wily veteran can still get it done, even at the age of 36. No longer an all star centerfielder, he still is valuable as a corner outfielder. He can still hit leadoff as well. Milwaukee could sign him and flip him for something at the trade deadline, as I personally do not believe Milwaukee will contend in 2014.  

Andres Torres- Andres Torres, a crucial member of the Giant World series success, is another old wily veteran who can still get it done. Also like Pierre, Torres is veteran who Melvin could flip at the trade deadline for something.

All of these, with the exception of Choo, are intriguing options. However, none of them seem to fit perfectly. Melvin may have to plug a square peg into a round hole for a season until he can figure out something more long term.