News from the last few days

November 22, 2012

> The Mariners have reportedly shown interest in Mat Gamel. I’m going to have an article up tomorrow about how that applies to the Brewers and what they could get in return, but for now I’m going to recap the news I’ve missed over the past few days.

> The Brewers added prospects Scooter Gennett, Hiram Burgos, Josh Prince, Nick Bucci, and Khris Davis to their 40-man roster, meaning they’re protected from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

> The Yankees re-signed Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal. I was holding out hope that the Brewers would some how be able to sign him, but it was unlikely the whole time.

> The Royals signed Jeremy Guthrie to a three-year deal. He could have been another option for the Brewers, though he was seeking a three-year deal, and I think he’s too dangerous to commit to for that long.

> 10 teams have reportedly shown interest in Kyuji Fujikawa. The Brewers could be one of those teams, seeing as Fujikawa is a hard-throwing reliever.

> Minor moves: 

Padres: Re-signed Kyle Blanks to a one-year deal; designated Cory Burns for assignment; added Yeison Asencio, Jaff Decker, and Adys Portillo to their 40-man roster.
Royals: Released Ysmelin Alcantara, Henry Moreno, and Jose Rodriguez; designated Adam Moore, Vin Mazzaro, Chris Volstad, Ryan Verdugo, Brayan Pena, Clint Robinson, and Derrick Robinson for assignment; added Chris Dwyer, Donnie Joseph, John Lamb, Justin Marks, Mike Montgomery, and J.C. Gutierrez to their 40-man roster; re-signed Brett Hayes to a one-year deal.
Pirates: Signed Felix Pie, Brooks Brown, Erik Cordier, David Bromberg, Luis Sanz, and Alex Valdez to minor league deals.
Indians: Signed Matt Carson and Cedric Hunter to minor league deals; designated Fabio Martinez for assignment; added Tim Fedroff, T.J. House, Chen-Chang Lee, and Trey Haley to their 40-man roster; outrighted ex-Brewer Matt LaPorta and Brent Lillibridge to Triple-A.
Blue Jays: Signed Bobby Korecky, Jim Negrych, Ricardo Nanita, and Alex Hinshaw to minor league deals; designated Mike McDade, Mike McCoy, and Cory Wade for assignment; added Ryan Goins and A.J. Jimenez to their 40-man roster.
Tigers: Released Ryan Raburn.
Mariners: Acquired Robert Andino from the Orioles; designated Chone Figgins and Scott Cousins for assignment; added Julio Morban, Brandon Maurer, Vinnie Catricala, Anthony Fernandez, and Bobby LaFramboise to their 40-man roster.
Orioles: Acquired Trayvon Robinson from the Mariners.
Mets: Signed Carlos Torres, Scott Rice, and Jamie Hoffmann to minor league deals.
Yankees: Claimed Mickey Storey off waivers from the Astros; signed David Herndon to a one-year deal.
Athletics: Designated Brandon Hicks and Jim Miller for assignment; added Arnold Leon, Grant Green, Shane Peterson, and Michael Ynoa to their 40-man roster; signed Justin Thomas and Darwin Perez to minor league deals.
Rockies: Acquired Ryan Wheeler from the Diamondbacks; outrighted Andrew Brown and Matt McBride to Triple-A.
Diamondbacks: Acquired Matt Reynolds from the Rockies; signed Kila Ka’aihue to a minor league deal.
Cardinals: Signed Jamie Romak to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Sam Deduno, Shairon Martis, Luis Perdomo, Esmerling Vasquez, P.J. Walters, Brian Dinkleman, Wilkin Ramirez, James Beresford, Deibinson Romero, Eric Fryer, Tom Boleska, and Jason Christian to minor league deals.
Cubs: Acquired Barret Loux from the Rangers; signed Brian Bogusevic, Alberto Gonzalez, Johermyn Chavez, and J.C. Boscan to minor league deals; outrighted Carlos Gutierrez to Triple-A; designated Bryan LaHair for assignment (I have to wonder when the last time a player was DFA’d following an All-Star season).
Rangers: Acquired Jake Brigham from the Cubs.
Astros: Outrighted Scott Moore to Triple-A.
Red Sox: Signed Jonny Gomes to a two-year deal; designated Danny Valencia, Ivan De Jesus, Sandy Rosario, David Carpenter, and Zach Stewart for assignment.
White Sox: Re-signed Dewayne Wise to a one-year deal; signed Bryan Anderson and David Purcey to minor league deals.
Reds: Signed Emmanuel Burriss to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed Fernando Abad and Caleb Clay to minor league deals.
Dodgers: Signed Nick Evans, Juan Abreu, Kelvin De La Cruz, Miguel Rojas, Hector Correa, Wilkin Castillo, and Gregory Infante to minor league deals.


The Gold Glove continues to be a screwy award

November 4, 2012

> If there’s going to be an award called a “Gold Glove” handed out to a player at each position every year, it should go to the best defensive player at that position for that given year, no?

Apparently not. Before I get into my point, here are the 2012 GG winners for each position:

American League:

C: Matt Wieters, Orioles
1B: Mark Teixera, Yankees
2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees
SS: J.J. Hardy, Orioles
3B: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
LF: Alex Gordon, Royals
CF: Adam Jones, Orioles
RF: Josh Reddick, Athletics
P: Jeremy Hellickson, Rays/Jake Peavy, White Sox

National League:

C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
2B: Darwin Barney, Cubs
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Chase Headley, Padres
LF:
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
CF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
RF: Jason Heyward, Braves
P: Mark Buehrle, Marlins

Plenty of guys were considered “snubbed” at their respective positions because of their reputation for making spectacular defensive plays. Take Mike Trout, for instance. He robbed home runs (literally going up the wall and bringing the ball back into the park) on three occasions this year as the center fielder for the Angels. But why did Jones win?

Statistically, Jones actually had a better defensive season than Trout; Jones had the better defensive WAR. Denard Span of the Twins also had a better defensive WAR than Trout.

In my opinion, that’s the way it should be- the guy who is statistically the best defender at each position should win. That happened in a few cases this year: Rollins had the best fielding percentage among NL shortstops, Barney committed just two errors at second base (which led NL second baseman, obviously), Teixera had just one error all year, Cano was tied for first in fielding percentage at second base, and so on.

But, of course, when it came to the possibility of a Brewer getting a Gold Glove, he got screwed. Aramis Ramirez led the NL in fielding percentage and had the fewest errors among qualifying third basemen. So who obviously wins the award at third base? Headley, duh.

But why? If one player has better defensive statistics than another player at a certain position, that player should win the Gold Glove. This is the one award I think should be strongly influenced by statistics, because there’s always going to be one player who is definitively better than another (statistically) at each position. Most of the defensive statistics go hand-in-hand, so it’s unlikely there’s going to be two players who each have one better defensive statistic than the other. This is a far different award than something like the MVP or Cy Young Award, in which there are a series of different statistics that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with each other. That makes for more of an argument for who should win those award, which is why it’s okay for there to be voters.

But there shouldn’t be a vote for the Gold Glove. There’s a best defensive player at each position, and that’s that.

THE NEWS

> The Brewers signed free agent righty Michael Olmsted to a minor league contract.

> Travis Ishikawa officially elected free agency.

> Two Brewers were selected to play in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game- Hunter Morris and Johnny Hellweg. Morris hit clean-up and went 1-for-1 with an infield single and a sacrifice fly.

> The Cubs nearly sent Carlos Marmol to the Angels in exchange for Dan Haren last night, but the deal wound up not going through. The Angels were looking for anything they could get before they had to decline Haren’s option for 2013, but, since the trade didn’t come to fruition, they were forced to decline the option. Haren is now a free agent and could be a possible fit for the Brewers.

> 10 teams are reportedly interested in lefty free agent Mike Gonzalez. I’d take him, seeing as the Brewers will be very thin on lefty relievers once again next year (if they have any). Manny Parra, the only lefty in the Brewers’ bullpen in 2012, is probably going to be one of the next guys to go.

> Minor moves:

Rockies: Outrighted Carlos Torres to Triple-A; reinstated Josh Sullivan, Todd Helton, Juan Nicasio, and Christian Friedrich from the 60-day DL.
Orioles: Outrighted Lew Ford, Zach Phillips, and Steven Tolleson to Triple-A.
Mets: Outrighted Mike Nickeas to Triple-A.
Twins: Outrighted Sam Deduno to Triple-A.
Royals: Outrighted Manny Pina to Triple-A; reinstated Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino from the 60-day DL.
Mariners: Signed Hisashi Iwakuma to a two-year extension; re-signed Oliver Perez.
Blue Jays: Acquired Esmil Rogers from the Indians.
Indians: Acquired Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes from the Jays.
Cardinals: Outrighted Steven Hill, Bryan Anderson, and Adam Reifer to Triple-A.
Pirates: Outrighted Ali Solis to Triple-A.
Astros: Outrighted Chuckie Fick to Triple-A; outrighted Brian Bogusevic, Jorge De Leon, and J.B. Shuck, all of whom elected free agency.
Athletics: Re-signed Bartolo Colon to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jordan Smith to minor league deals.


The second chances aren’t working

August 11, 2012

POSTGAME

> You can say all you want about how bad the Brewers’ bullpen is. It leads baseball in blown saves. I guess it hasn’t left Ron Roenicke with many options, but lately one option has actually emerged. It’s Jim Henderson, the 29-year old Canadian who has spent 10 years in the Minors before finally getting his chance at the Major League level. And he’s been producing. Coming into today, he had a 2.57 ERA (should be 1.29), and appeared to have the closer’s role locked down.

But, Roenicke did what he’s been doing FAR too much this season; try and give the struggling relievers second chances. And it cost starter Mark Rogers.

The Brewers lost to the Astros today, 4-3, courtesy of John Axford’s eighth blown save, and his seventh loss.

It was going fine early. In the first inning, Ryan Braun drove in Nyjer Morgan, who had reached on a dropped strike three. In the second inning, Astros starter Bud Norris threw a wild pitch with Jean Segura batting, which allowed Rickie Weeks to score from third, giving the Brewers an early 2-0 lead.

The Astros didn’t get on the board until the fifth inning on Carlos Corporan’s RBI single. Up until that inning, Rogers had held the Astros hitless through four innings. This was by far his best outing as a big leaguer, as he went seven innings while giving up a run on three hits (all in the fifth inning). He walked two and struck out eight.

The Brewers tacked on one more in the seventh on Segura’s RBI single.

So Roenicke must have thought it was 2011 today, because he used Francisco Rodriguez in the eighth, and Axford in the ninth. K-Rod gave up a home run to Corporan to cut the lead to 3-2, and from there retired the side in order.

Then Axford came in, and disaster once again struck.

Axford walked Brett Wallace to start the inning, who was pinch-run for by Tyler Greene. But, Greene advanced all the way to third base because of a wild pitch. Steve Pearce promptly tied the game with an RBI single and reached second base because of an error by center fielder Carlos Gomez. Scott Moore then drilled an Axford pitch to very deep center field (a few feet up Tal’s Hill), but Gomez managed to make the play, with Pearce tagging to third base. Brian Bogusevic dealt the finishing blow with a walk-off RBI single.

By the way, some people on Twitter were trying to blame Axford’s wild pitch on catcher Jonathan Lucroy. I’ll admit he didn’t make the best effort, but there’s honestly no point attempting to defend the bullpen anymore. It is what it is.

THE ANALYSIS

> I can’t explain everything, because I’d be attempting to figure out what goes on in the mind of Roenicke. I can’t do that, nor would I ever want to.

But I can say this. The Brewers have found another closer for the time being, that reliever being Henderson. But that’s useless if Roenicke continues to go back to the reliever who have failed the Brewers time and time again.

By the way- I’m not trying to come down on Axford, at least not directly. Obviously I have to blame him for the loss, considering he took the loss. But I’ve tried to stay away from mocking players directly lately, because I recently learned a lesson, that lesson being to not say anything online (or anywhere else) that you wouldn’t say to someone in person. I made that mistake three years ago on my old Twitter account, and I’ve made it a few times on my current account and even here on BWI. But I’ve tried to imply that rule to myself a lot more often lately, because I recently ran into Axford in person. All I could do was ask for a picture. Would I ever tell him “quit blowing saves” or “you’re horrible?” Heck no. There are plenty of people who do that on Twitter, and I don’t want to one of those people. But I’m a writer, so I have to at least be critical about it.

But I’m not afraid to come down on Roenicke, because it’s gotten to the point where I would probably blow up at him in person.

Anyway, I kind of rode off topic there, but I felt the need to get that out there.

> I was going to talk about the possibility of Mike Fiers (and other pitches) getting shut down before the end of the year, but I think I’m going to save that for another day. That topic requires its own article, because I’d also need to go into my opinion of that, pitch count, and so on.

THE NEWS

> Shaun Marcum made his first rehab start today for the Timber Rattlers (Single-A). He went three innings and threw 36 pitches, 28 for strikes. He gave up a solo home run, but was otherwise solid. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out three. Marcum was only scheduled to throw 35-40 pitches, so the low innings and pitch count were probably because he hadn’t thrown to live hitters in awhile.

Marcum hopes to return to the Brewers by their home series against the Cubs on August 20th.

> The innings limit suggested by Roenicke counts as news, I guess.

THE NUMBERS

> The bullpen is awful. You don’t need the numbers to tell you that anymore.

> Weeks went 3-for-4 with a career-high three doubles today.

> Gomez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, all against Norris.

> Segura got his first hit that left the infield, and his first hit that drove in a run.

> Rogers’ chance at his first career win was once again blown by the bullpen.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.13 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-4, 5.60 ERA)

 


Brewers’ bullpen holds serve until extra inning W

July 9, 2012

> I missed most of today’s game, but something rare took place, apparently: the Brewers’ bullpen didn’t give up a run. *gasp*

> The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 5-3, in ten innings. The offense had another relatively slow day, but it was just enough to squeak past the Astros. The Brewers’ bullpen was also stellar, holding the ‘Stros down to give the Brewers a win in their last game before the All-Star break.

Zack Greinke was starting his second consecutive game, and it didn’t go very well. If you recall yesterday, he was ejected in the first inning after four pitches for spiking the ball at the ground. So he was able to come back and start again today, but went just three innings while giving up three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out five. Greinke’s bright spot was that he struck out the side in third inning, but other than that, he wasn’t very sharp. Ron Roenicke had already announced prior to the game that Greinke wouldn’t go very deep, and that he wanted to get Marco Estrada, the original scheduled starter, his share of work in.

All of the Astros runs came in the first inning. Jordan Schafer led off the game with a single, and Jose Altuve drove him in with a double. One batter later, J.D. Martinez hit an RBI single. Then, Greinke had a temporary lapse of command. After striking out Jed Lowrie and giving up a single to Chris Johnson, Greinke walked Brian Bogusevic to load the bases, then served up a bases-loaded walk to Chris Snyder. He struck out the pitcher, Jordan Lyles, to end the inning, but the damage had been done, and it was obvious Greinke was still shaken up about yesterday.

The Brewers answered in the second inning on Rickie Weeks’ solo home run, but didn’t score again until Aramis Ramirez’s RBI single in the sixth.

The next threat came in the eighth inning. Astros reliever Wesley Wright walked Norichika Aoki to start the inning. After Nyjer Morgan moved him over with a sacrifice bunt, Ryan Braun once again came through in the clutch and hit a game-tying RBI single. Braun then stole both second and third base, but Corey Hart killed the rally.

Neither squad scored in the ninth, so the game was sent to extras, which has been quite the theme for the Brewers this year. The Astros put in struggling reliever Fernando Rodriguez for the tenth, and he walked Morgan to start the inning. Morgan then stole second, which prompted the Astros to intentionally walk Braun. Then, with Ramirez batting, Rodriguez threw a wild pitch (apparently the last name Rodriguez automatically makes you an erratic reliever), and both runners advanced. So Rodriguez was gifted with another open base, and naturally walked Ramirez. Hart then made up for his rally-kill in the eighth by hitting a go-ahead RBI single. Weeks followed that up with another RBI single. Unfortunately, Rodriguez found his stuff and struck out the side from there, preventing the Brewers from putting up a big inning.

John Axford was on for the save in the bottom of the inning, and we all know how he’s pitched lately. It looked like we were in for another blown save when he gave up back-to-back singles to Snyder and Matt Dominguez. But, after Schafer moved both runners on a sacrifice bunt, Ax came back to strike out Altuve and Scott Moore to end the game and earn hi 15th save of the year.

> As I’ve kept saying, the Brewers bullpen was outstanding today. Until Axford gave up the singles in the tenth, the Astros hadn’t gotten a hit since the second inning when Greinke was still in. Estrada did indeed get his work in, tossing three near perfect innings, blemished by one walk while striking out three. Jose Veras, Francisco Rodriguez, and Manny Parra each threw perfect innings of their own as well.

I’m not going to get too excited about this, because it is the Astros. But this is a good sign and should be a confidence-builder for the Brewers’ struggling bullpen.

> Don’t look now, Jayson Stark, but Weeks is legitimately starting to get hot. He went 3-for-5 today with two RBIs, yet his average is still at an excruciating .199. Guess he’ll have to wait until after the All-Star break to bring it over the .200 barrier.

> Greinke already sort of made history today, being just the second pitcher this season to start consecutive games (C.J. Wilson of the Angels being the other). But now he’s got a chance to do something a pitcher hasn’t done since 1917: start three start games. Greinke is scheduled to start the first game after the All-Star break (which has been changed to four days this year), and that would count as three consecutive.

If he only he were starting the All-Star Game too.

> And that’s about it. After the ASG, the Brewers face a crucial stretch of division opponents in the Pirates, Cardinals, and Reds. This could decide the fate of their season, and whether or not they can get back in contention. Let’s hope for the best.

> Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Brewers offense breaks out late to give Greinke win

September 3, 2011

Up until the seventh inning, I thought the Brewers were about to go cold- really cold. But, after the seventh inning, those thoughts had pretty much disappeared.

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 8-2. If you weren’t watching the game, you’d think that it was an easy win for the Crew just by looking at the score. But, all of those runs actually came in the seventh inning or later, believe it or not. Before I get into that, though, let me say that the Cardinals fell to the Reds tonight, 11-8, meaning the Brewers extended their division lead to 8.5, and their magic number fell to 16.

Zack Greinke definitely didn’t have his best stuff today, but found a way to make it work. He had to labor through every inning and work his way out of jams, but, in the end, turned in a solid start. Greinke went six innings while giving up two runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out six to earn his 14th win of the year, which is second on the staff to Yovani Gallardo (15 wins).

The Astros got to Greinke in the fourth inning when Jimmy Paredes hit an RBI single, following a triple by Brian Bogusevic. Clint Barmes then hit a RBI double to give the Astros a 2-0 lead. Both Bogusevic and Barmes killed Greinke today, going a combined 4-f0r-7 against him. Fortunately, those would be the only two runs the Astros scored.

The Brewers offense got going in the seventh inning, but, before that, they were shut down by Astros spot starter Lucas Harrell. He, like Greinke, had to labor through a lot of innings as well, but put together a scoreless outing. He went 5 1/3 innings while giving up just three hits- all singles- to go along with two walks and four strikeouts.

The first Brewers run, which was in the seventh, came in an odd way. With two outs, Taylor Green was pinch-hitting, and managed to get a single. He was pinch-run for by the speedy September call-up Logan Schafer. Schafer eventually scored on a wild pitch by David Carpenter to cut the deficit to 2-1. Ryan Braun would follow with a two-RBI single and give the Brewers their first lead in four games.

But, the Brewers offense wasn’t done there. It needed to catch up with itself after three disappointing games against the Cardinals, and it did. Casey McGehee hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Ryan Braun had a RBI single in the ninth. Prince Fielder also hit his 31st home run of the year in the ninth.

Ron Roenicke finally decided to use some of his September call-ups in clutch situations today, as I mentioned earlier. Green started the Brewers offensive surge with a two-out single, then was pinch-ran for by Schafer. Schafer would score the Brewers’ first run. Anyway, this means that the only September call-up that hasn’t been used by the Brewers is catcher Martin Maldanado, who has been referred to as the best defensive catcher in the Minors.

Yuniesky Betancourt was hit on the forearm by Carpenter in the eighth inning, following McGehee’s two-run shot (Carpenter must have some sort of affiliation with TLR). Anyway, Betancourt is now day-to-day with an injured forearm, and Roenicke said they’ll see how he feels tomorrow.

The Brewers will try and take this series in Houston tomorrow at 6:05 PM CT (on WMLW, not FSWI). Chris Narveson (9-6, 4.28 ERA) will take the mound for the Crew in his first start in 12 days. His spot in the rotation was skipped due to a couple of Brewers off-days, but, in his last start in which he was returning from the DL, he shut out the Pirates for 5 1/3 innings. He left that start with an injured fingernail or something strange, but he should be completely healthy now. Narvey is 1-2 with a 4.38 ERA in his career againast the Astros.

The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (6-8, 3.68 ERA). He’s pitched better than his record shows, but he, like so many other Astros pitchers, does not get run support. Norris had been extremely dominant against the Brewers up until his last start against them, when he gave up six earned runs. Overall, he’s 3-1 with a 3.50 ERA against the Brewers.


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