But I’ve really been surprised with the amount of skepticism of this deal from a few major sources, such as MLB Network.
I was watching their show called “Hot Stove” the other day, a show in which a few of MLB Network’s hosts/reporters sit down and talk about the signings/trades of that day, and then give their opinions about them. And, surprisingly, a few of the hosts weren’t very impressed with the Gonzalez signing, as opposed to bringing back Betancourt.
I think it was Harold Reynolds who criticized the move the most. He said something along the lines of, “I’m a little confused here. I thought Betancourt was finally finding his way in the big leagues, and he came up big in situations for the Brewers this year. But now the fans in Milwaukee are rejoicing that he’s gone? Come on!”
Just for the record, Reynolds is actually one of my favorite guys to watch and listen to on MLB Network. But I highly disagree with him on this.
Maybe he didn’t watch too many Brewer games this year, but Betancourt rarely ever came up big. The only time I remember him getting a hit that actually mattered was a game-tying home run against the Rockies in a 14-inning game back in May, but, other than that, most of his hits weren’t very clutch.
And the only month where he truly hit on a consistent basis was his hot stretch in August, in which he brought his average all the way from the .220′s to around .270. I’ll admit, that impressed me, but he couldn’t maintain it for the rest of the year, as his average finished at .252. Betancourt also had a decent postseason, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Brewers from embarrassingly losing to the Cardinals.
Not to mention that, whenever Betancourt came up with the bases loaded, he hit a weak infield pop-up (or into the shallow outfield). It was always a pop-up. Except one time he hit into a double play with the bases loaded to end an inning, but that wasn’t really progress.
And then there was Betancourt’s defense. He made a few highlight reel plays, but then easily misplayed the routine ones.
And that’s the difference-maker as to why Gonzalez is better than Betancourt. Gonzalez is a similar hitter, but a far superior defender. And that’s what the Brewers needed. Casey McGehee, Betancourt, Rickie Weeks, and Prince Fielder made up the Brewers infield last year, and they’re all awful defenders. Weeks and Fielder made up for it by what they did at the plate, and McGehee can too, if he bounces back next year.
Anyway, back to Gonzalez. Last year, his offense was arguably worse than Betancourt’s, but you have to take into consideration that he was hitting in the pitcher-friendly Turner Field for half of the year. His 15 homers last year could translate into a 20-homer year at the hitter-friendly Miller Park.
So that’s my opinion on why Gonzalez will benefit the Brewers more than Betancourt did. Whether or not you agree with all of it, you’ll be seeing better defense at shortstop this year- I guarantee it.
> I read on MLB Trade Rumors earlier today that the Rangers have some interest in McGehee to play for first base for them next year, which I found interesting. Their young first baseman, Mitch Moreland, got injured a few weeks ago, and might miss the first few months of the regular season. But why McGehee?
I’m confident that McGehee will have a bounce-back season next year, regardless of who he’s playing for. I’ve kind of been hoping that the Brewers will keep him, and, assuming they can sign Aramis Ramirez to play third, move McGehee to first base. That puts Mat Gamel out of the picture, but I have no idea what to think of him anymore.
Anyway, if the Rangers end up trying to make a deal for McGehee, the Brewers better get something decent in return, such as a first baseman or third baseman to fill McGehee’s hole.
> The Cardinals re-signed shortstop Rafael Furcal today on a two-year deal. A few days ago, I wouldn’t have been that happy with this, but, now that the Brewers have Gonzalez, I’m fine with it.
> And that’s about all I’ve got for now. Before I go, thanks for the 200+ hit day yesterday- it was the first one in Breaking Wisconsin history (a history that dates back to only June of this year). We also reached the 1,000 hit mark last night, which I was very proud of. So thanks again to everyone who takes their time to read my posts.
It’s still early in the day, so expect updates as the day rolls on. But, for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.