> Starting tomorrow, the Brewers will need to search for a new hitting coach. Unfortunately, the circumstances behind this are worse than I thought they would be.
> The Cubs have hired Dale Sveum as their new manager. Sveum had been on the Brewers’ coaching staff since 2006, and most recently served as the hitting coach. He has little managerial experience at the Major League level, managing the last 12 games of the 2008 season to get the Brewers into the playoffs after Ned Yost was fired.
There are two reasons I’m not particularly happy with this. First off, it’s the Cubs, which speaks for itself. But, the second (and much worse) reason is that Sveum knows the Brewers’ hitters very well, having worked with them as the hitting coach over the past few years. This could make the divisional match-ups with the Cubs tough for the Brewers, if Sveum has the Cubs pitchers pitch the Brewers the right way (which, if you haven’t noticed by now, is keep throwing sliders down and away).
But, pitching is the Cubs’ weakness, as they had problems in both their rotation and bullpen last year. And I doubt Sveum knows the first thing about pitching, which is probably a good thing.
> Anyway, onto some other Brewers news. Since I couldn’t post last night because of my bad Internet connection, you may see some of yesterday’s news as well.
> The Brewers are apparently in the mix for free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who has played for the Phillies for the past few years. I definitely didn’t see this coming, but I guess nearly anything is an upgrade from Yuniesky Betancourt.
I’ve heard that Rollins, who is 32, is looking for a five-year deal.
Wait, a five-year deal?
Jimmy, let’s return to reality for a second: there isn’t a chance that you’re getting a five-year deal. Not only is Rollins 32 years old, but he’s also on a decline in his career. His numbers weren’t awful in 2011- 16 homers, 63 RBIs, and a .268 batting average- but at the same time, it’s much worse than the MVP candidate he used to be. Plus, his defense is getting a little sluggish, which isn’t something the Brewers need.
So I guess I’ll just say that I don’t want the Brewers to sign Rollins. If it happens, I probably wouldn’t care too much because his name isn’t Yuniesky Betancourt. But he isn’t getting a five-year deal with any team, no matter what- that’s a fact.
> Doug Melvin announced today that he’s interested in extending starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, both of whom were acquired in trades prior to the 2011 season. Both Greinke and Marcum’s contracts end after next year, so now would probably be the best time to extend them both.
Greinke went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 2011. That 3.83 ERA actually wasn’t bad, considering his ERA at the All-Star break was 5.66, and he had a great second half. But, the one thing I wasn’t too impressed with was that he never finished the eighth inning in any of his starts. Part of that is because Ron Roenicke appears to hate complete games (and other long starts in general), but still. Greinke was a horse with the Royals, and he needs to be with the Brewers as well.
But, the first step for him next year will be not playing any pickup basketball during Spring Training.
Marcum, on the other hand, left a bad taste in Brewers fans’ mouths with has awful postseason performance, but he actually had a great year. He went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA, and that ERA had been lower until a bad September in which his ERA was 5.17. But, if he can clear his mind this offseason, he should be able to rebound and get back to form next year. And to all the haters- he is not the next Jeff Suppan. There isn’t one pitcher on the Brewers right now that I would compare to Suppan (and that includes Kameron Loe, which is going pretty far for me).
> And that’s about all the Brewers news. But, before I go, here’s some surprising news that MLB released today…
> There could be two Wild Cards for each league as early as 2012. This change wasn’t expected until 2013 at the earliest, but there’s Bud Selig for you. Anyway, this means that there would be a one-game playoff between the two Wild Card teams to see who gets to play a division winner.
> The Astros have agreed to move to the AL West, probably in 2013. This would even out the leagues at 15 teams each, but there would also have to be an Interleague game every day.
And this is more classic Selig. So he moves the Brewers from the AL to the NL in 1998, only to move the Astros from the NL to the AL in 2012. Doesn’t make much sense, but I guess I’m happy the Brewers are in the NL instead of AL.
> Oh, and Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award. That was pretty much a given since he won the Triple Crown. But, so far I’ve gotten all of my major award predictions right. Hopefully that continues….
> And that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave thoughts, if you have any.