Thursday, December 17, 2015

What the 2016 Brewers Rebuild Looks Like | It's Going to Take Time

Brewers 2016 Rebuild
Relax Brewers fans, the team is in a full blown rebuild. That is obvious to just about everyone at this point that knows anything about baseball and it is the correct decision as well. Right now, the Brewers are simply staring up at three teams in the division, which at the end of the day, are just better than they are. Since the start of the trade deadline last season, Milwaukee has made a bevy of moves, trading veterans for prospects. Aramis Ramirez is gone. Carlos Gomez is gone. Geraldo Parra is gone. Jonathan Broxton is gone. That was all before the trade deadline. So far this offseason, Francisco Rodriguez has been shipped off to Detroit and Adam Lind has been sent packing to the Seattle Mariners. Still on the table to be moved are Khris Davis, Jean Segura, and Jonathan Lucroy for the right price.

For those of you who are thinking this is speeding up the Brewers rebuild and they will be “back” sooner than you think, maybe as soon as 2017, you need to relax. This is not football. Baseball rebuilds take significantly longer, and the Brewers are just getting started. In fact, Milwaukee hasn't even bottomed out yet, that is coming this upcoming season, depending on if they can move the final three leftover pieces before then- Segura, Lucroy, and Davis, which I think they will be able to. Look at the four prime examples- the Cubs, Twins, Astros, and Mets. These four teams didn't just throw up the white flag a couple of years ago, give it a half effort, and say “okay, we are back now”. No, these teams, circa the turn of the last decade, threw up the white flag. So if I am counting this correctly, about five years or so, and they are just now, returning to the spotlight. Actually, if you think about it, all of them returned a year early.

Some of you might point to the moves the Brewers have made, and claim that they already have all the key pieces in place. I am sorry to say this, but that is just not true. Yes, they have acquired some nice pieces in all of these moves, but none of them really possess the “wow” factor. For example, Domingo Santana is the best player they have acquired. He is, at best, a borderline All-Star, meaning if he reaches his full potential, he will have the chance to sneak onto one or two All-Star teams in his career. But he doesn't really wow me. The cornerstone “wow” factor pieces will be coming in the next few drafts, as the Brewers, beginning this season, will probably have the opportunity to draft in the top 5 of each round of the draft the next few years. This is where they will acquire their own version of Khris Bryant, or Carlos Corriea, or Miguel Sano, or Bryce Harper, or whoever you want to name. So settle in Brewers fans, because this is going to take a while.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hot Pitchers In The 2015 MLB Playoffs

Pitchers in the MLB Playoffs
We are down to four in the 2015 playoffs. The New York Mets, the Chicago Cubs, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Kansas City Royals. I don't have much to say at the moment about the playoffs so therefore I decided it was a good name to preview the 2015 free agent period. Most of this year's best free agents are pitchers, specifically four of them. So let's start there, shall we?

Zack Grienke- The Dodgers number two starter has already stated he is going to opt out of the remaining three years, and 71 million dollars he has left on his contract, which was expected. Greinke is 32 and is going to capitalize on a magnificent 2015 campaign by going for one last big contract. He will get it to. Possible destinations are all of the big markets- a return to the Dodgers, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the The Cubs, the Tigers, and the Angels.

Johnny Cueto- In June, this man's stock was through the roof, and he was looking at possibly 10 years and 200 million-plus on the open market. Following a trade to the Royals at the deadline, Cueto has struggled greatly in Kansas City, and his value has taken a dip. Still, he will be highly sought after- Destinations are the same as Grienke's.

Jeff Samardzija- Has there been a more talked about player in recent memory, not for what he has done, but what he still could be? A couple of years ago Samardzija was looking at 5 years, 100 million on the open market. He struggled recently, and has had an up-and-down 2015. Right now he is looking at four years, 50 million. Possible destinations are a return to the White Sox, and all of the big markets. That Is going to be a theme this offseason. Right now, the big markets are really short on starting pitching across the board.

David Price- Traded at the 2015 deadline for the second straight year, Price was big for the Blue Jays down the stretch in 2015. However, he has had a miserable postseason, and could have made his last start for the Blue Jays the other night in game two loss in the ACLS. The experts are all saying that there is no chance Price returns to the Blue Jays. He will have the same market as the other big name starting pitchers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Who Will Make The Playoffs in MLB This Season?

MLB Playoffs 2015
The 2015 Major League Baseball regular season is coming down to it's final weeks. The contenders have separated themselves. Here are my thoughts on the issues each American League contender faces as we get into the final weeks of the season.

New York Yankees- I don't like this rotation, at all. The rotation is so bad, that Chris Capuano(Yeah, remember him?) is starting games in September for this so called contender. Masahiro Tanaka is an injury waiting to happen every start and Nathan Eovaldi has been the team's best starter this season.

Toronto Blue Jays- There is honestly nothing I don't like about this team at the moment. If we are getting picky, I would say the middle of the bullpen and second base. But we are grasping at straws at the moment. If these guys don't win the World Series, I am going to be STUNNED. I would say the biggest issue is can the Blue Jays get this done in the face of all the nonstop attention they are getting?

Tampa Bay- I guess I have to call this team a “contender” at the moment, but they are the car to get in the race. Basically they are the cutoff line at 5.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot. This team is going backwards and I don't think they are going to hit enough keep from fading during the final weeks of the season here.

Kansas City- The biggest issue I see facing this team is can the bullpen hold up, again. It did so a year ago when they went on their magical run, but lightening very rarely strikes twice.

Minnesota- One of the stories of the year in baseball is this young Twins team, that just won't go away. The Twins may be out of the division race, but they are still in Wild Card contention, sitting just a 1.5 games back of the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot. The biggest issue I see facing this Twins team is can these young players handle the pressure down the stretch? Miguel Sano has been hitting the tar off the baseball since the day he was called up, and is making a late case for American League rookie of the year.

Cleveland- This team has September surge written all over them. After kind of futzing around all season, this young talented Indians bunch is making a September charge at a Wild Card spot. I have the same question for them that I have for the Twins regarding the young players.

Houston- The Houston Astros have been the butt of the joke for many a commentator and fan over the last few years. Well, he who laughs last, laughs best. The Astros were highly criticized for what they did, and now, they are young, deep, and oh are they talented. The question I have for the Astros is will their data work come postseason play? Yes, as history has shown, data works great during the regular season, but it doesn't show up come postseason play sometimes.

Los Angeles- Rotation, rotation, rotation. This rotation is running on fumes right now. Jered Weaver has been really bad. Matt Shoemaker hasn't been able to repeat the magic of his 2014 season. Garrett Richards has been up and down. This rotation is going to be what dooms the Angels during the final weeks of the season and keeps them out of October.

Texas- I never thought I would say this, but the Rangers offense at the moment is their biggest downfall. Will they hit enough down the stretch to get into October?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Brewers 2015 Trade Pick Ups

Brewers 2015 Prospects
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Brewers, who are about to begin a rebuild, got a considerable amount in return. Let's take a look at who they fetched in return for all of the trades they made.

Malik Collymore- The Brewers traded reliever Jonathan Broxton to the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league outfielder Malik Collymore. Malik Collymore is nothing more than a fringe prospect and don't be surprised if he never plays a game in the Major Leagues.

Yhonathan Barrios- The hard throwing Yhonathan Barrios came to the Brewers in the Aramis Ramirez trade. Barrios is much better than Collymore, but still, Barrios is not exactly a top prospect. Barrios throws hard but has control issues. Don't be surprised if he never sees a Major League field either.

Zach Davies- The Brewers traded Geraldo Parra to Baltimore in the closing moments of the deadline for starting pitcher Zach Davies. Unlike Collymore and Barrios, Davies will see a Major League field, and very soon. Now granted he isn't the most talented player in the world, and his ceiling is probably back-end starter, maybe a number four man, but he still will get a chance.

Adrian Houser- The first of the four players the Brewers got in the Carlos Gomez trade is right handed pitcher Adrian Houser. Here is the thing, we don't know Houser's ceiling. He is a very later bloomer, so he could still be great, as in number two starter. Still, based on previous performance, he appears to be a number three.

Josh Hader- The second of the four players Milwaukee got in the Carlos Gomez trade is left handed pitcher Josh Hader. Josh Hader has the prototypical size you would want in a power pitcher- 6'3”, maybe 6'4”, however he is a little skinny at 160. He needs to bulk up to realize his full potential. Hader could be a solid number three as well.

Domingo Santana- The two prizes in the trade where outfielders Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips. First up Santana. This is the second time Santana has been traded as he was in the Hunter Pence trade in 2011. Santana is a big strong power hitter who will play well at a corner outfield spot. He swings and misses a lot, but that comes with the territory for a young power hitter in many cases.  

Brett Phillips- The other prize in the Gomez trade was Brett Phillips. Brett Phillips is by far the best player Milwaukee got in any trade at the deadline. Phillips is a star in the making and will be in the middle of Milwaukee's order in a couple of years.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Top Honors For MLB Players In 2015

MLB Awards 2015
This has certainly been an interesting season so far, hasn't it? All four of baseball's young teams- the Astros, the Twins, the Mets, and the Cubs, are all ahead a year or two ahead of schedule and have made the 2015 season surprisingly interesting. We also have a large group of young talent across all of baseball that is playing at a very high level, and that does nothing but good for the game. With that said, let's hand out some hardware for the 2015 season so far, beginning with the National League.

National League
Manager of the Year: Terry Collins/New York Mets- The Mets are a year or two ahead of schedule, and Collins has kept them afloat with no offense. The Mets enter the All-Star break just 2 games back of the first place Nationals. This is an easy one.

Rookie of the Year: Khris Bryant/3B/Chicago Cubs- Really, is there anyone else who deserves this award? Bryant started the year in Triple A, a move that was very criticized at the time, and was made so they could have another full year of team control. Still, he was called just two weeks into the season and since then, he has shown us why he has all the hype. Bryant is batting .269 with 12 home runs and 51 RBI's at the All-Star break, and has been nothing short of awesome.

Cy Young: Max Scherzer/SP/Washington Nationals- Once again, is there really anyone else you could make the case for? During the offseason, Scherzer signed a seven year, 210 million dollar contract with the Washington Nationals. So far, that contract has been a bargain. Scherzer has 10 wins at the All-Star Break, a 2.11 ERA, and 150 strikeouts. He would have started the All-Star game had he not pitched on Sunday.

MVP: Bryce Harper/OF/Washington Nationals- Yet again, is there anyone else who deserves mention? Harper is having a monster season. Harper takes a .339 average, 26 home runs, 61 RBI's, and an OPS of 1.168 into the break. All four of these awards have been easy.

American League
Manager of the Year: Paul Molitor/Minnesota Twins- Yes the Astros have been a surprise as well, but the Twins have been an even bigger surprise. Of the four young teams, the Twins were the farthest behind to start the season. They have caught up, quickly, thanks to Molitor and the young talent rising. Tom Kelly understood as well as anyone how to communicate with young players, and he taught that to Ron Gardenhire, who spent years under Kelly's tutelage before taking over in 2002. Gardenhire then taught Molitor the same thing, who, by the way, spent quite a while under Gardenhire before taking over this season. Molitor has put the Twins in contention, and deserves all of the recognition he is getting.

Rookie of the Year: Billy Burns/CF/Oakland Athletics- This one was a little harder to figure out. Burns has just played 63 games, but qualifies for the batting title and carries .303 batting average into the break for the Oakland Athletics, good for the 10th best average in the American League.

Cy Young: Dallas Kuechel/SP/Houston Astros- Well, it appears as if the ace of the rebuilt Houston Astros has emerged finally, lefty Dallas Kuechel. Dallas carries as 11-4 record with a 2.23 ERA into the All-Star Break.

MVP: Mike Trout/CF/Los Angeles Angels- This one is easy. Trout is the best player in the game, and carries a .312 batting average, 26 home runs, and 55 RBI's into the All-Star Break. At this pace, Trout is headed for another MVP award, his second of many. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cole Hamels Will Be Traded | MLB Trade Deadline Looms

Now that we are into July, the 2015 MLB trade deadline is really taking shape. Here is an updated list of who could be traded, and to where.

Cole Hamels - At some point this man is going to be traded and we can all move on with our lives. But until then, we'll have speculation, and more speculation. The Boston Red Sox, the original leaders in the clubhouse for Cole Hamels to begin this season, have had a miserable 2015 that has fallen short of expectations and are in no position to acquire the services of Mr. Hamels at this point in time. The Texas Rangers, who have been playing great baseball over the last month or so, have emerged as a serious candidate for Hamels' services. Don't forget about the Cubs either.

Johnny Cueto - Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto has emerged as a serious trade candidate. However his impending free agency makes it tricky. Cueto is the kind of player you back up the truck for in a trade, but with his pending free agency, teams will be hesitant to give up much. Maybe if a team could get Cueto to sign a long term contract extension upon being traded they would give up much more. Look for the Yankees to be the leaders of this one.

Troy Tulowitski - Carlos Gonzalez has played himself out of trade rumors with his poor 2015, but Tulo is still playing all-star baseball. Unlike Cueto, this man is under a long term contract. The question is, will a team pay the Rockies asking price, which is through the roof, but it should be? The Tigers are interested but they don't have enough. Neither does Texas.

Jay Bruce - Another Cincinnati Red who could be traded is Jay Bruce. There may not be a more hot and cold player in the game than Bruce. He is either really bad or really good. When is bad, he barely bats above the Mendoza line. When he is on, there may not be a better hitter in the game. He could be easier, and will be easier to acquire than Tulo.

Mike Leake - Yet another Cincinnati Red who could be moved is starting pitcher Mike Leake. Unlike with Hamels or teammate Johnny Cueto, Leake is more appealing because he will cost less, both in terms of trade assets and free agency. Expect Leake to be the most likely name on this list moved.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Trading The Brewers Begins Now | Time To Make MLB Moves For The Future

Brewers Trade Deadline
We have reached the month of June, which means it is trade deadline season in Major League Baseball. The Brewers are at the center of many of these trade topics, involving the moving of many of their players. Before we really get into the meat of the trade deadline season, I thought it would be a good time to review many of these rumors and the players that could be moved.

Aramis Ramirez- The current third basemen of the Milwaukee Brewers has publicly stated he will be retiring following the season. Yes, this is not according to a report from some inside guy, Ramirez publicly stated that he will be retiring, so that means we can take it as he is retiring. The question is though, does he want to finish his career on a last place team, or would he like to get one last crack at the World Series with a contender? I believe he wants one last shot, and he will more than likely be moved at the trade deadline.

Carlos Gomez- The center fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers is one of their better trade assets at the moment, or one would think. Gomez has loads of talent, but he also comes with loads of attitude problems, and it is the latter that is causing teams to stay away from him at the moment because of Brewers demands for him. I believe Melvin or whoever the general manager is at the time will back off of the asking price, which will make him more trad worthy. I am thinking the Giants might be a destination.

Kyle Lohse- The fast-aging Kyle Lohse has been either really good or really bad this season. He still has value in a trade though, and could be placed into a young rotation down the stretch to provide innings and leadership. Houston might be a fit.

Matt Garza- Matt Garza is one of those pitchers who we think is supposed to be a lot better than he is. But still, he is a solid pitcher, although he has not been helping his cause with his poor performance this season. Garza currently sits at 3-7 on the season with a 5.52 ERA, and will need to improve those numbers if he wants to be traded.

Francisco Rodriguez- The Brewers closer has been very productive this season. He has nine saves and a 1.42 ERA to go along with it. Rodriguez could be traded to team like the Tigers, who are on their last chance and need bullpen help.

Jonathan Lucroy- This is the most interesting one of the bunch- Lucroy is the team's best player, and would bring back the most. The Brewers have said he is not available, although he should be. The problem is he has no value at the moment because he is just coming off a major injury. He will need to come back and get going quickly to create trade value, which I expect him to do.