Analyzing the veteran starters on the market

October 30, 2012

> Doug Melvin and the Brewers have made it known that they’re probably going to go after a free agent starter this offseason, preferable an experienced guy to anchor what looks to be a young rotation. Personally, I’m still debating whether or not that’s the right decision; the bullpen probably needs more tending to than the rotation. But, if the Brewers do choose to go after a free agent veteran starter, there’s actually a surprisingly decent market for that category this offseason. Here’s a list of the key possibilities for the Brewers:

Ryan Dempster
Zack Greinke
Jeremy Guthrie
Edwin Jackson
Hiroki Kuroda
Kyle Lohse
Brandon McCarthy
Anibal Sanchez*
Dan Haren*
Jake Peavy*

*Sanchez, Haren, and Peavy all have options (or other contract impediments) with their current teams, so it remains to be seen if they actually reach the free agent market.

Basically, the guys I listed are possibilities that I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing, and most of them are relatively realistic for the Brewers as well. Greinke, obviously, isn’t very likely, but you still can’t count him out.

Dempster was stellar with the Cubs in 2012, but sort of fell off a cliff with the Rangers (despite a winning record in Texas). He’s clearly better in the National League, but I’d say one of the only benefits of the Brewers signing Dempster is that they wouldn’t have to face him (he has 15 career wins against the Brewers).

Guthrie might be the worst option on the list. He was awful with the Rockies, probably because of Coors Field, but resurrected himself with the Royals during the second half, posting a 3.16 ERA. Guthrie is still one of the riskier options on the list, however, and the Brewers will probably try and go with someone else.

Jackson quietly had a decent year as the fifth starter in the Nationals’ rotation, but he’s had an inconsistent career, and the number of teams he’s played for will tell you that. I wouldn’t mind the Brewers signing him, but there’s a bit of a risk with him as well.

For me, Kuroda is the best option on the list. After years of getting no run support in Los Angeles, he blossomed on the big stage in the Bronx. He proved he can pitch in the hitter-friendly environment of Yankee Stadium, meaning he probably wouldn’t do too bad at Miller Park.

There’s no denying Lohse had an unbelievable season in 2012, but I just don’t see him fitting in with the Brewers. Plus, he’s going to draw a ton of money (at least $12 million a year), and I don’t see the Brewers spending that on a starter.

In my opinion, McCarthy is one of the more underrated pitchers in the game; he knows how to shut down a good offense. But, it’s not often that he isn’t injured, whether it be shoulder/elbow problems, or taking line drives off the head.

Those are my top options. There are also guys like Joe Blanton, Jeff Francis, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, but there’s no doubt that those guys would turn into Jeff Suppan-like signings, so I hope the Brewers stay away from them.

THE NEWS

> Now that the offseason has officially started, the Brewers made a series of roster moves today. Shaun Marcum, Francisco Rodriguez, and Alex Gonzalez all elected free agency. Marcum and K-Rod are both as good as gone, but Gonzalez has a chance of returning as the back-up shortstop (or starter, depending on Jean Segura’s status). The Brewers also reinstated Mat Gamel and Chris Narveson from the 60-day disabled list. Lastly, they re-signed shortstop Hector Gomez to a minor league deal.

The Brewers’ other free agents, Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba, are already on the market, as they elected free agency during the NLCS.

> The Gold Glove Finalists were announced today. Here’s a list of them at each position:

American League

Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Peavy, C.J. Wilson
Catcher: Alex Avila, Russell Martin, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Wieters
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Mark Teixera
Second base: Dustin Ackley, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, J.J. Hardy, Brendan Ryan
Third base: Adrian Beltre, Brandon Inge, Mike Moustakas
Left field: Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, David Murphy
Center field: Austin Jackson, Adam Jones, Mike Trout
Right field: Shin-Soo Choo, Jeff Francoeur, Josh Reddick

National League

Pitcher: Bronson Arroyo, Mark Buehrle, Clayton Kershaw
Catcher: Yadier Molina, Miguel Montero, Carlos Ruiz
First base: Freddie Freeman, Adam LaRoche, Joey Votto
Second base: Darwin Barney, Aaron Hill, Brandon Phillips
Shortstop:
Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins
Third base: Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, David Wright
Left field: Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Martin Prado
Center field: Michael Bourn, Andrew McCutchen, Drew Stubbs
Right field: Jay Bruce, Andre Eithier, Jason Heyward

That awkward moment when Gonzalez isn’t on the Red Sox anymore, yet could win the AL Gold Glove at first base.

Anyway, Ramirez should win the third base GG, seeing as he had the fewest errors in the league at the position. But Braun won’t win the GG in left field, because steroids. (You can bet that’s what all of the voters are thinking.)

> Minor moves:

Yankees: Exercised 2013 options for David Aardsma, Cano, and Curtis Granderson.
Phillies: Declined 2013 options for Ty Wigginton, Jose Contreras, and Placido Polanco.
Twins: Declined 2013 option for Scott Baker; signed P.J. Walters to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Exercised 2013 option for Luis Ayala.
Athletics: Optioned 2013 option for ex-Brewer Grant Balfour; declined Stephen Drew’s option; signed Mike Ekstrom to a minor league deal.
Dodgers: Declined 2013 options for ex-Brewer Todd Coffey, Juan Rivera, and Matt Treanor.
Pirates:
Outrighted Jeff Clement, Eric Fryer, and Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A.
Indians: Signed Takuya Tsuchida.


Message to K-Rod: Don’t be a Gagne…

December 9, 2011

> If you were a fan of the Brewers in 2008, then you probably remember this name- Eric Gagne.

When the Brewers signed this man to close in the 2008 season, they were expecting the former All-Star- even former Cy Young Award winner- to pitch like he did during his glory days with the Dodgers, in which he was one of the best closers in baseball.

Instead, they got a piece of trash who put up a 5.44 ERA and recorded just 10 saves. I remember going to games in which he pitched, and Brewers fans were not kind to him, and Gagne deserved it.

It was large in part to the fact that the piece of trash cost the Brewers $10 million, and he responded by putting up those awful numbers. Yes, the Brewers signed a reliever for $10 million. Sound familiar?

Well, it should, considering Francisco Rodriguez is going to be staying with the Brewers in 2012, but for even more money than Gagne in 2008.

The other day, Rodriguez accepted his arbitration offer that the Brewers gave him, and didn’t expect him to accept. It just shows that he actually wanted money more than the opportunity to close. Anyway, Rodriguez made $13.5 million last year, and, judging by his good performance while with the Brewers, he’s going to get at least a slight raise- probably somewhere in the $14 millions. That would make him the most expensive player on the Brewers’ roster.

But, when I saw that amount of money next to Rodriguez’s name, guess whose name popped right into my head? Gagne’s. I doubt Rodriguez will stoop that low, but there’s always a chance.

And there are a few reasons that he probably won’t. Rodriguez’s resume (as far as his career numbers go) are actually better than Gagne’s before the Brewers signed him. Gagne had three All-Star appearances, while Rodriguez already has four. Rodriguez has never had a Cy Young Award like Gagne, but has finished as a finalist for the award more times than Gagne. Plus, Rodriguez already pitched for the Brewers last season, and put up an impressive 1.86 ERA during his time there (excluding his time with the Mets last season).

I noticed the other day that some people (Cardinals fans in particular) making fun of the Brewers for not expecting Rodriguez to accept arbitration. Oh no! We have one of the best closers of all time as our setup man! Whatever will we do?

Meanwhile, the Cardinals just lost Albert Pujols to the Angels. If I were a Cards fan, I’d be a little more worried about that.

Anyway, to sum everything up, my message to K-Rod is: please, don’t follow in Gagne’s footsteps. Unless you want the entire city of Milwaukee- and probably the rest of Wisconsin- to hate you.

> So this morning, I was told by a source that the Brewers were extremely close to signing Aramis Ramirez. I was so excited that I nearly tweeted the news while I was at school, but thought better of it (plus, I didn’t have service on my phone at the time anyway).

Unfortunately, it turns out that the source had read the ticker on MLB Network wrong, meaning the Brewers actually haven’t signed Ramirez- yet.

Tom Haudricourt (@Haudricourt) of the MJS is pretty confident that the Brewers have a good chance of signing Ramirez sometime next week. And I do too, as the Brewers are really the only contender left for him. The Angels were the best competition, but just signed Pujols and C.J. Wilson. So, unless they want to go bankrupt- like their NL counterparts, the Dodgers- they’re definitely out on Ramirez. The Phillies were also after him at one point, but pulled out earlier this week because they found out that they wouldn’t be able to move incumbent third baseman Placido Polanco. I think the Tigers were also in on Ramirez last week, but I don’t know why they pulled out- probably figured that they were content with defensive specialist Brandon Inge.

UPDATE: I definitely didn’t see this coming today, but, courtesy of one of those outbursts in hits I get every so often, Breaking Wisconsin has reached (and passed) the 1,000 hit mark. So I’d like to thank each and every viewer for taking the time to stop by and read my blog; I really appreciate it, and I hope you continue to come back and read it.

If you consider that I started this blog back in Interleague play, which was towards the end of June (I remember my first post ever was about the Brewers making an epic comeback against the Twins), 1,000 hits really isn’t that much. I know of multiple bloggers who get over 1,000 hits daily.

I’m obviously not at that point yet, but I’m definitely content with what I’m getting now. 1,000 hits was one of the biggest milestones I wanted to pass on this blog, and now I’ve done it. So thanks again to everyone who reads my blog- couldn’t have done it without you guys.

> That’s about all I’ve got for now. It’s still early, so expect updates as the night rolls along. But, for now, feel free to leave your thoughts below. Thanks for reading.


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