The Fish had this one coming

November 14, 2012

> This seals the deal: Jeffrey Loria is an idiot. Around this time last year, he got cocky and decided that signing as many big name free agents as possible was the key to winning. So he went out and gave Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell multi-year deals.

A year later, Loria is finding himself dealing away all of these players following a disastrous 2012 season. It was announced today that the Marlins and Blue Jays are in works of a HUGE trade- possibly one of the biggest we’ve ever seen. The Marlins want to send Josh Johnson, Buehrle, Reyes, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio- all of whom would have had starting roles at their respective positions in 2013- to the Jays in exchange for minor leaguers/players not nearly the caliber that they’re giving up.

In doing so, the Marlins are dumping about $160 million in payroll- the same number everyone was crediting them for spending last offseason.

As few Marlins fans as there are, I have to wonder it feels like to be one of them right now. I would want Loria run out of town on a rail at this point. Not only is he screwing around with more money than he should be, but he’s messing with his own fans. There are a lot of team owners out there who are accused of not caring about their team’s fanbase, but if there’s one perfect example, it’s Loria. (Keep in mind the Marlins also traded away Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, and Anibal Sanchez at the Trade Deadline, and have already traded away Bell this offseason.)

Anyway, as of right now, the Marlins are expecting to receive Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, and Anthony DeSclafani. Those names are probably subject to change because of all the money being moved in this trade (I have to wonder if this is the most financially lopsided trade in baseball history), however.

> Lost in the trade frenzy was that the Manager of the Year Awards were given today. Davey Johnson won the in the NL; Bob Melvin took it home in the AL.

> The Brewers released their Spring Training schedule.

> Rather, the “Bewers” released their Spring Training schedule. (This is the headline of an email I received from Bleacher Report. The fact that it’s from Bleacher Report should explain this enough.)

> Minor moves: 

Cubs: Signed Scott Baker to a one-year deal (actually a great move for them, in my opinion).
Cardinals: Released Kyle McClellan; signed Rob Johnson to a minor league deal.


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.


Brewers could make a serious run at Hamilton

October 26, 2012

> I’m not going to get my hopes up, but it would be amazing if the Brewers actually pulled this off.

A few weeks ago, Buster Olney suggested that the Brewers could be a good home for Josh Hamilton, who will probably one of the most coveted free agent sluggers this offseason. The immediate reaction by most to Olney’s statement was that Hamilton would be to the Brewers this offseason what Jose Reyes was last offseason- he makes sense logically, but perhaps not financially. I agreed with that at the time (but I’ve been clinging to hope that we can bring him in somehow).

Today, though, Jon Heyman wrote that sources “familiar with the Brewers’ thinking” believe that the Brewers are going to make a serious run at Hamilton. Heyman cited a few good reasons for this: first and foremost, the Johnny Narron factor. Narron, currently one of the Brewers’ co-hitting coaches, was Hamilton’s “life coach,” so to speak, in Cincinatti and Texas (if you didn’t know, Hamilton used to have serious alcohol problems). If Hamilton gives the Brewers any discount, it’ll be because of that.

But another factor I didn’t consider a few weeks ago was that the big spenders- the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers- are more than likely to stay away from Hamilton, all for their own reasons. The Rangers, his current team, are hinting that they won’t try and retain him. That leaves the door wide open for the Brewers.

And I get the feeling Doug Melvin might pull it off. Though he couldn’t net Reyes last offseason, people seem to forget he brought in an even more valuable piece- Aramis Ramirez- and he put up an MVP-caliber season. Melvin took a gamble with Norichika Aoki, and he had a sensational rookie season.

Again, I don’t want to get my hopes up, but- as Heyman states at the end of his article- the Brewers have a better chance than people think.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> The Giants took a 2-0 advantage over the Tigers in the World Series tonight, also winning their game 2-0. The Tigers managed just two hits in the shutout, and cost themselves a run early on (none other than) Prince Fielder’s baserunning blunder.

Madison Bumgarner and Doug Fister were both stellar, but Drew Smyly let in Fister’s inherited runner in the seventh inning, handing him the loss.

THE NEWS

> I haven’t talked much about the Brewers minor leaguers who are participating in the Arizona Fall League, but it’s worth noting that Brock Kjeldgaard, Josh Prince, and few other guys have been able to make names for themselves down in Arizona.

> Minor moves:

Pirates: Claimed Chad Beck off waivers from the Blue Jays; claimed Ali Solis off waivers from the Padres.
Mets: Claimed Anthony Recker off waivers from the Cubs.
Padres: Outrighted Thad Weber to Triple-A.
Cubs: Outrighted Adrian Cardenas, Jason Berken, Miguel Socolovich, and Marcos Mateo to Triple-A.
Diamondbacks: Outrighted Jonathan Albaladejo, Tyler Graham, Mike Jacobs, Joe Martinez, and ex-Brewer Cody Ransom to Triple-A.
Mariners: Outrighted Luis Jimenez to Triple-A.

THE EXTRAS

> This was sort of a cool way for the Brewers to thank their fans.


Nothing doing for Brewers against JJ

September 6, 2012

POSTGAME

> I missed most of today’s game because I was in school (day games late in the year drive me insane). But, I didn’t miss much, as the Brewers scuffled to do anything in today’s 6-2 loss to the Marlins, forcing them to settle for a split of the four-game series.

Marco Estrada was knocked around a bit. The Marlins tagged him for four runs on seven hits over five innings. That included a very rough first inning, in which Estrada allowed three consecutive hits- two doubles- to Bryan Petersen, Donovan Solano, and Jose Reyes to start the game. The only Brewers runs came on sacrifice flies from Ryan Braun and Norichika Aoki in the third and seventh innings, respectively.

THE NEWS

> Estrada claimed that he “wasn’t ready” for today’s game, saying he lost track of time and to rush through his pregame routine.

“I rushed a little bit. By the time I was done, the game had already started and (Josh) Johnson had a pretty quick inning. It’s my fault, I can’t let things like that happen.”

I don’t know how he “lost track of time,” but, regardless of what happened, it’s pretty inexcusable.

Again, I wasn’t watching today’s game, but looking at the box score, Johnson had a hit batter and a walk in the first inning. Both came without the assistance of a double play, so the inning couldn’t have gone that quickly. But I don’t know. This is one of the stranger excuses I’ve seen.

> Aramis Ramirez was held out of the lineup with a lower back/oblique strain. He was pulled from the game when he was in the on-deck circle for his final at-bat last night.

> A few September call-ups made their season debuts today. Josh Stinson threw a third of an inning, and Logan Schafer got a pinch-hit single following an eight-pitch at-bat in the ninth inning.

THE NUMBERS

> Braun now sits at 99 RBIs on the season.

> No one in the lineup had more than one hit today.

> Match-ups for the upcoming Cardinals series:

Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.79 ERA) vs. Kyle Lohse (14-2, 2.81 ERA)

Mike Fiers (8-7, 3.19 ERA) vs. Jake Westbrook (13-10, 3.93 ERA)

Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.53 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (5-6, 3.54 ERA)

Gallardo- who’s 1-9 with a 7.05 ERA in his career against the Cardinals- is pitching this series. Wouldn’t be surprised to see his ERA sail over 4.00 after that game.


Peralta rewarded with W in first start

September 6, 2012

POSTGAME

> If Wily Peralta had any nerves tonight, they certainly didn’t show, as he was a key to the Brewers’ 8-5 win over the Marlins. He tossed six solid innings, giving up three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out three. Peralta was given more than enough offensive support, with Rickie Weeks slugging two home runs- both two-run shots- while he was in the game.

The bullpen tried to blow it in the seventh, allowing the Marlins to put up a four-spot with RBIs from Greg Dobbs, Bryan Petersen, Donovan Solano, and Jose Reyes. That slimmed the lead to 6-5, but Corey Hart- who also had a two-run blast in this game- buried the Marlins with a two-run double in the ninth.

MY TAKE

> Peralta looked decent tonight, and showed flashes of the ace-type stuff he has. His running fastball was consistently 95-96 MPH, and he touched 98 twice. He hung his slider a few times, but they didn’t hurt him; and when the slider was down in the zone, it was filthy. He didn’t use his change-up much, but did throw one great one to strike out Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth inning. Peralta also reportedly has a curve, but I didn’t see it at all tonight.

THE NEWS

> Aramis Ramirez was in the on-deck circle for his at-bat in the ninth inning, but quickly retreated to the dugout prior to his at-bat. He then disappeared into the clubhouse. It’s still unknown what happened, but it was speculated that he could have been sick. Jonathan Lucroy pinch-hit for him.

> The Brewers called up their second batch of September prospects yesterday: Peralta, Tyler Thornburg, Josh Stinson, and Logan Schafer.

Peralta will take Mark Rogers’ spot in the rotation for likely the rest of the season. Thornburg could see some spot starts here and there, but he’ll be used out of the bullpen for the time being. Stinson, who has seen Major League time with the Mets, went 11-9 with a 3.16 ERA at Double-A; he’ll also likely be used out of the ‘pen. Lastly, Schafer is a highly-touted outfield prospect who we saw a bit of last September.

> Hunter Morris won the Brewers’ Minor League Player of the Year award, and Hiram Burgos won the Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The Brewers have already hinted that Morris won’t be called up, but didn’t rule out the possibility of Burgos seeing big league time this month.

> Alex Gonzalez is ahead of schedule of his rehab from his torn ACL. I guess this has some significance in case Jean Segura and Jeff Bianchi don’t pass the Brewers’ expectations in Spring Training of next year.

THE NUMBERS

> This was Weeks’ first multi-homer game since June of 2010.

> Segura went 0-for-4, lowering his average to .198. He’s been good defensively, but I can’t imagine the Brewers are satisfied with his offense.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Marco Estrada (2-5, 3.85 ERA) vs. Josh Johnson (7-11, 3.86 ERA)

Yes, Estrada has a lower ERA than JJ, somehow.

In personal news, school started for me yesterday. That shouldn’t affect BWI yet, but the work will pile on as the weeks go by. As for the reason there wasn’t an article last night, I was having computer problems I simply didn’t have time to fix. But that’s all cleared up now.


Fiers’ ROY chances take a blow

September 3, 2012

POSTGAME

> Not suprisingly, the first game against a team not named the Pirates or Cubs in nearly two weeks for the Brewers went horribly. They fell to the last-place Marlins, 7-3, at the heels of a five-run fourth inning for the Fish.

The Brewers jumped on Ricky Nolasco in the second inning on Carlos Gomez’s two-run home run, but Mike Fiers served up the lead in a big way in the fourth. RBI singles from Donnie Murphy, Donovan Solano, and Jose Reyes highlighted the damage.

FIERS’ CHANCES AT ROY WEAKEN

> Fiers was roughed up today, and was uncharacteristically inefficient. He went just 3 1/3 innings while giving up six runs (four earned) on six hits. He walked four- a career-high- and struck out four. Fiers needed 83 pitches to reach only the first out of the fourth inning.

He just hasn’t been the same pitcher since that two inning, eight run disaster in Colorado. He did post back-to-back good outings against the Pirates and Cubs prior to this start, but still hasn’t looked nearly as dominant as he did during that run of about eight starts in which he had a sub-2.00 ERA.

Fiers had to come back to earth at some time and we all knew it, but, in this case, returning to earth is killing Fiers’ chance at winning the Rookie of the Year award. I figured if he could somehow keep his ERA under 2.00 and rack up a few more wins, he would win it easily. Unfortunately, he had the bad luck of stopping in Colorado for one of his starts, which will kill any pitcher’s ERA.

Fiers now sits at an 8-7 record with a 3.11 ERA. Neither of those are bad, but Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley- who is Fiers’ biggest competition- is 14-9 with a 2.90 ERA. Miley would definitely win it if the season ended today (and I would agree with it), and the only Fiers can continue to compete with him is if he can keep his ERA below 3.00.

MY TAKE

> One key error that was the turning point of Fiers’ outing came in the fourth inning when Nolasco was trying to put down a squeeze with the bags loaded. Fiers ran in and tried to shovel the ball to the plate with his glove, but flat-out missed the ball and was charged with the error.

In my opinion, he should’ve just picked up the ball with his hand and flipped it to the plate; that’s a much safer play and he would have had a better chance at getting the out.

THE NEWS

> Brandon Kintzler was the first of the Brewers’ September call-ups, which completes his journey back to the Majors after dealing with many different injuries. He fired a scoreless inning in his return.

> Hunter Morris won the Southern League MVP. He socked 28 home runs with 113 RBIs for the Stars.

But, according to Ron Roenicke, he won’t be a September call-up, and nor will fellow prospect Caleb Gindl.

> Hiram Burgos, who came out of nowhere as the best pitcher in the organization this year, threw six scoreless innings today. He finished with a cumulative 1.95 ERA in Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A. Burgos hasn’t been ruled out as a possible September call-up.

THE NUMBERS

> Nolasco had a 9.47 ERA in his career against the Brewers coming into today, but went seven innings while giving up three runs (one earned) today.

> The Brewers had four errors: two from Fiers, one from Jean Segura, and one from Rickie Weeks.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.35 ERA) vs. Wade LeBlanc (2-3, 2.49 ERA)


Brewers avoid utter embarrassment

August 12, 2012

POSTGAME

> A sweep at the hands of the Astros would have made the Brewers truly hit rock bottom. But, they were able to avoid a sweep by the worst team in baseball, defeating the Astros 5-3.

Yovani Gallardo was able to go deep into the game, throwing 7 2/3 solid innings while giving up three runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out eight. It was his longest outing of the year, and the second most pitches he’d thrown (114). Jose Veras came in to get the last out of what could have been a rocky eighth inning, then Kameron Loe recorded the save in the ninth (which was also pretty shaky).

Gallardo had a rough first inning, giving up back-t0-back doubles to Tyler Greene and Marwin Gonzalez to start the game. But, Gallardo himself tied the game with an RBI single in the second inning. Rickie Weeks gave the Brewers the lead with an RBI fielder’s choice in the fifth inning, and Ryan Braun followed that up with an RBI groundout to make the score 3-1. Gonzalez’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning cut into the Brewers’ lead, but Corey Hart added an insurance run in the sixth on 22nd home run of the year. The Brewers added another important run in the eighth on Martin Maldonado’s RBI double. The last Astros run came on Scott Moore’s RBI single in the eighth.

THE ROTATION SITUATION

> The other day, Ron Roenicke announced that the Brewers might start monitoring pitch count and the number of innings that pitchers throw, also mentioning that a few could even be shut down. If you don’t already know, I’m strongly against pitch count and the emphasis it has on today’s game of baseball, so naturally I’m opposed to this idea. But let me explain why I think it’s useless.

The only name Roenicke mentioned as to who would probably shut down is Mike Fiers, who is by far the best pitcher in the Brewers’ rotation right now. His 1.80 ERA makes him a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. So why even think about shutting him down?

According to Roenicke, the Brewers want to “protect his arm.” After an eight-inning performance his last time out, Fiers is at 80 innings on the year (excluding 55 innings in the Minors). If you add those together, he’s at a total of 135 innings, and Fiers has never thrown more than 135 innings, which is RRR’s excuse to possibly shut him down.

And that’s what I don’t understand. Not letting a young a guy throw more innings than he has before isn’t going to help him develop. He has to get out of his comfort zone and throw more innings; he’s in the Majors now.

I do understand trying to protect his arm, but that’s pretty pointless, considering Fiers doesn’t have much injury history. For a guy like Mark Rogers, who has a ton of injuries on his ledger, sure, I can cope with not letting him throw as many innings until we know he’s back to 100%. But Fiers is at 100% right now, and is doing some of the best pitching the Brewers have seen in quite some time. So why take that away?

Roenicke has also suggested going to a six-man rotation, which would also hold back the innings of each pitcher. I’m not for that, either, but at least the guys would continue to pitch, instead of being shut down for the year. If I had to choose between the two, I’d go with the six-man rotation.

RRR also tried to compare this to what the Rockies are doing. Please, our pitching staff isn’t that bad. (Unless we’re talking about the bullpen, which we aren’t.)

THE NEWS

> Weeks was tried again at the top of the order, a role he lost earlier this year after his awful start. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, so I doubt we’ll see him there tomorrow.

> Two former Brewers took the mound today. Chris Capuano took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against the Marlins before it was broken up by Jose Reyes. Ben Sheets will try to continue his astounding comeback tonight against the Mets, which will be broadcasted on ESPN.

> The Cubs picked up former Brewers starter Seth McClung today, signing him to a Minor League deal. The Brewers tried McClung again this year in the Minors, but just couldn’t control the damage, so he was released two weeks ago.

The Cubs have already tried something similar to this. Last year, they signed former Brewer Doug Davis to a Minor League deal, and he eventually reached the Majors. But that experiment didn’t work out too well, and I doubt McClung will either.

> One of the Brewers’ first round picks in this year’s draft, Victor Roache, was cleared to take dry swings today. He’d been out for over four months due to major arm surgery.

THE NUMBERS GAME

> Jean Segura continues to improve at the plate, as he went 2-for-4 today. His average is up to .250.

> Hart’s home run today snapped him out of an o-for-11 slump.

> This was Gallardo’s third consecutive start in which he himself picked up an RBI.

> Loe’s save was just the third of his career.

> Probables for the upcoming series in Colorado:

Mike Fiers (6-4, 1.80 ERA) vs. Jeff Francis (3-4, 6.06 ERA)

Randy Wolf (3-8, 5.46 ERA) vs. Tyler Chatwood (2-2, 5.06 ERA)

Mark Rogers (0-1, 4.08 ERA) vs. Drew Pomeranz (1-7, 5.07 ERA)

THE EXTRAS

> This play may have been the Brewers’ play of the year, and sparks some excitement for the Segura/Weeks double play tandem.

> Hart technically had the only Brewers home run this series, but Mike Vassallo might disagree with that.


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