Loe, Morgan, Veras, and Ishikawa likely gone

November 2, 2012

> Schoolwork- endless schoolwork. That’s basically my excuse for getting articles up the past few days. The past three days have been the worst of the year for me. I’m hoping the next few weeks will be at least a bit lighter, otherwise my time to write on BWI will get mercilessly crunched. Anyhow, I’m not going to write a big article today, but all the news I’ve missed should cover that up.

THE NEWS

> So far, the offseason is going as planned- the Brewers are getting rid of the useless players, so to speak, in order to create roster space. The first batch of players to go is Kameron Loe, Nyjer Morgan, Jose Veras, and Travis Ishikawa.

Morgan’s outright to Triple-A (and eventual election of free agency) probably gathered the most national news, especially because of the role he played on the postseason team in 2011. He was responsible for getting the Brewers to the NLCS on that unforgettable walk-off hit against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS, and he ingrained himself into the minds of Brewers fans (and into the minds of other fans, but in a negative way) with all of his aliases. But it just wasn’t Nyjer’s season in 2012. He hit a measly .239, and lost practically all of his playing time so that Carlos Gomez could prepare for a possible starting role in 2013. The emergence of Norichika Aoki didn’t help his cause either. And, with the left-handed Logan Schafer proving that he could possibly play the role of the fourth outfielder in 2013, there just wasn’t a spot for Morgan. So I thank Morgan for all of his contributions in 2011, but his antics and things weren’t fitting this year.

Loe and Veras also elected free agency following outright assignments. Loe was one of the Brewers’ best relievers in 2010, posting a 2.78 ERA. He had a second-half surge after getting off two a rough start in 2011, but it was the opposite this year. He had an ERA below 4.00 for most of the season, but it faded all the way to 4.61 in September. Statistically, Veras was one of the Brewers’ best relievers this year (though it’s not good when a guy with a 3.90 ERA is your best reliever). But he quietly had innings just about as frustrating as some of Francisco Rodriguez’s innings, so I’m relatively glad that he’s gone.

Lastly, Ishikawa was outrighted to Triple-A today, and is expected to elect free agency after he clears waivers. Ishikawa had his moments with the Brewers, but overall was the poster-boy of an extremely weak Brewers bench.

After their 2012 performances, I don’t think any of these players will be missed. However, Morgan will always be remembered: he’s written his legacy into Milwaukee history.

> The Brewers claimed reliever Arcenio Leon off waivers from the Astros.

> K-Rod was charged with domestic abuse for that incident in Wales that popped up two months ago.

Just stay away from Wisconsin, K-Rod.

> Speaking of K-Rod, the Brewers did not give “qualifying offers” to him or Shaun Marcum.

This “qualifying offer” thing is something brought about by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and basically replaced the Type A/Type B free agent system, which usually determined whether or not a team would receive draft picks as compensation for losing key free agents. Qualifying offers now play that role, and they are determined by the average salary of the top 125 player salaries from the previous season. That salary this season was $13.3 million.

As if K-Rod or Marcum are going to get $13.3 million on the market anyway. This was a no-doubter for the Brewers.

Only nine players received qualifying offers from their respective teams: Michael Bourn, Josh Hamilton, Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda, Adam LaRoche, David Ortiz, B.J. Upton, and Kyle Lohse.

> Minor moves (and a lot of ‘em):

Tigers: Exercised 2013 options for Octavio Dotel and Jhonny Peralta; outrighted Don Kelly to Triple-A.
Rays: Exercised 2013 options for James Shields, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Molina; declined 2013 option for Luke Scott.
Braves: Exercised 2013 options for Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, and Paul Maholm; claimed Jordan Schafer off waivers from the Astros; outrighted Erik Cordier, J.C. Boscan, and Robert Fish off their 40-man roster.
Astros: Designated Matt Downs for assignment; declined 2013 option for Chris Snyder; outrighted Fernando Abad, Sergio Escalona, Edgar Gonzalez, Jose Valdez, and Kyle Weiland to Triple-A.
Athletics: Outrighted Dallas Braden and Joey Devine, both of whom elected free agency.
White Sox: Signed Jake Peavy to a two-year extension; exercised 2013 option for Gavin Floyd; declined 2013 options for Brett Myers and Kevin Youkilis.
Mets: Exercised 2013 options for R.A. Dickey and David Wright.
Rangers:
Declined 2013 options for Scott Feldman and Yoshinori Tateyama; claimed Konrad Schmidt off waivers from the D-backs.
Cubs: Outrighted Justin Germano to Triple-A, who elected free agency.
Dodgers: Re-signed Brandon League to a three-year deal.
Orioles: Declined 2013 option for Mark Reynolds.
Indians: Exercised 2013 option for Ubaldo Jimenez; declined 2013 options for Travis Hafner and Roberto Hernandez (I still call him Fausto Carmona); outrighted Kevin Slowey and Vinny Rottino to Triple-A; claimed Blake Wood off waivers from the Royals.
Royals: Declined 2013 option for Joakim Soria; acquired Ervin Santana from the Angels; claimed Guillermo Moscoso off waivers from the Rockies; claimed Brett Hayes off waivers from the Marlins; designated ex-Brewer Jeremy Jeffress and Jason Bourgeois for assignment.
Yankees: Outrighted ex-Brewer Casey McGehee to Triple-A, who elected free agency; returned Rule 5 Draft pick Brad Meyers to the Nationals.
Reds: Ryan Ludwick and Ryan Madson each declined his side of his mutual option for 2013.
Pirates: Exercised 2013 option for Pedro Alvarez; declined 2013 option for Rod Barajas; released Hisanori Takahashi.
Blue Jays: Claimed Scott Maine off waivers from the Cubs; designated Scott Cousins and David Herndon for assignment; exercised 2013 option for Darren Oliver; re-signed Rajai Davis.
Diamondbacks: Declined 2013 options for ex-Brewer Henry Blanco and Matt Lindstrom.
Rockies: Ex-Brewer Jorge De La Rosa exercised his player option.
Nationals: LaRoche and Sean Burnett each declined their player options.
Giants: Declined 2013 option for Aubrey Huff.
Twins: Claimed Josh Roenicke and Thomas Field off waivers from the Rockies.
Orioles: Claimed Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Twins.
Padres: Designated Josh Spence and Blake Tekotte for assignment.


So there’s this new thing called a “catcher”

September 19, 2012

POSTGAME

> But I don’t think the Pirates have heard about it yet. The Brewers clobbered the Bucs tonight, 6-0, using the stolen base to inflict most of their damage.

Yovani Gallardo ran into a bit of trouble in the second and seventh innings, but had a scoreless outing all told. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up just two hits. He walked four and struck out six. Yo improved to 16-8 on the year.

The Brewers only scored two runs off A.J. Burnett, which were RBI singles from Norichika Aoki and Jean Segura. But the Pirates’ bullpen was ambushed, allowing RBI singles to Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Braun, and Segura.

MY TAKE

> As you’ll see in “the numbers” section later this article, the Pirates may have one of the worst catching tandems- ever. The Brewers were stealing on them like there wasn’t even a catcher there, which was a conclusion I finally came to after Lucroy stole a base.

Michael McKenry might have an OK future since he’s still young, but Rod Barajas- who I’m surprised is still playing- probably should no longer be playing. He’s hitting under .200 at the plate and looks like a designated hitter attempting to play catcher.

THE NEWS

> Corey Hart’s foot reportedly hasn’t made any progress. Ron Roenicke continues to be optimistic and say Hart will see time before the season ends, but I have to wonder.

> Rickie Weeks was chosen as the Brewers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

> My article on Reviewing the Brew earlier today. Basically my opinion on whether or not the Brewers should waste money on picking up an extra starter next year, despite having a boat-load of prospects Major League ready.

> Yunel Escobar, the Blue Jays’ shortstop, was hit with a three-game suspension from the club after having a “homophobic racial slur” written in his eye-black.

I’m pretty confused as to why he did it. You’re basically asking for a penalty of some sort by writing something on your face that is guaranteed to be noticed by cameras that stream to national television. But why would you even write anything on eye-black in the first place? I don’t know. Anyway, you can see a picture of this phenomenon in “the extras” section later in the article.

THE NUMBERS

> The Brewers stole seven bases off the Pirates. Braun took three, Weeks had one, Lucroy had one, Aoki had one, and Carlos Gomez had one. This is the first time since 1992 the Brewers had seven steals in one game.

> The Pirates have thrown out a grand total of 14 baserunners out of over 140 steal attempts off them. Might as well play without a catcher.

> Despite winning 6-0, the Brewers’ streak of 85 straight games with at least one extra-base hit ended.

> Travis Ishikawa went 0-for-4 again while he attempts to fill in for Hart. Needless to say it hasn’t gone well.

> Segura is 9-for-17 (.529) over his last six games. This is exactly the push he needed to prove he can start next year.

> Yo is 8-0 with a 2.69 ERA in his last 10 starts, all of which the Brewers have won. This is his second consecutive season of at least 16 wins.

> Tomorrow’s match-up:

Marco Estrada (3-6, 3.77 ERA) vs. Kyle McPherson (0-0, 1.54 ERA)

THE EXTRAS

> Escobar’s writing in his eye-black, which can be easily read in this close-up.

It reads “tu ere maricon.” That literally translates to “you are a faggot” in English. And why is that written on his face? I have no idea.


Brewers reportedly decline Yuni’s option; full list of free agents

October 31, 2011

I didn’t look much at news today because I was busy, but here was the first thing I saw when I finally did- “Brewers decline Betancourt’s option.” My day was instantly made.

That’s right, Yuniesky Betancourt-haters (including myself). He probably won’t be playing shortstop for the Brewers next year, which means better defense at that position and better offense in the lineup- hopefully.

Betancourt had a pretty bad 2011. But it may have been good for his standards, actually. He hit .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. All of those stats are worse than his 2010 season with the Royals, in which he hit .259 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Anyway, if you add his 2011 stats to his lazy defense at shortstop, you can see why the Brewers declined his option.

My guess is that Doug Melvin will make a push for Jose Reyes, the Mets’ All-Star shortstop who is now a free agent. His .336 batting average won him the NL batting title (although he technically cheated to get it). Reyes doesn’t hit for much power, but he did lead the NL in triples with 16. His offense, defense, and speed all make him a giant upgrade from Betancourt.

Oh yeah, and the Brewers are also expected to be top contender for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA as the ace of the Rangers this year, but he had an ugly postseason, as he went 0-3 with an ERA hovering around 7.00. But, he would make a great addition to the Brewers’ rotation, and would probably push lefty Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) back into the bullpen.

And just a couple more things before I move onto my next topic- the Brewers’ declined reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option, but that was expected, as there was no way the Brewers would have been able to afford that. Also, Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed as one of the possible managerial candidates for the Red Sox. No idea why they’d want him, unless they’ve already given up on next year.

Anyway, onto the next topic. Here is a list of every free agent from every team, with their respective position next to their name:

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP


Kershaw, sloppy defense snap Brewers’ win streak

August 18, 2011

4:54p Well, you can’t get by with a lack of offense forever. Why? Because the pitching will eventually cave in and give up runs, and the defense will stop making plays.

Dodgers-Brewers Wrap-Up

Unfortunately, both the pitching and defense part of that quote came true today for the Brewers, who fell to the Dodgers, 5-1. It snapped a six-game winning streak that the Brewers had going, and, with they way they’d been playing before this, it looked like it would never end.

But, as I said before, the pitching and defense both caved in today, and the offense was once again a no-show.

Marco Estrada was making another spot start in place of the injured Chris Narveson today, and he didn’t do all that bad. He went five innings (which is pretty much all you can ask out of a spot starter) while giving up one run on just three hits. He walked two and struck out five, and showed once again that he’s a much better starter than he is a reliever.

That one run Estrada gave up was a solo shot to Rod Barajas in the second inning. Estrada had fallen behind Barajas 3-1, and was forced to give him something to hit in that count. Sadly, since Estrada doesn’t have that blow-you-away fastball, Barajas timed the pitch perfectly and crushed it.

But, that was all Estrada would give up. It was primarily the offense, defense, and bullpen that didn’t do their jobs today.

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw pretty much dominated the Brewers offense for the entire game. He went eight innings while giving up no runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out six. Kershaw actually looked poised to toss a shutout, since he was only at 104 pitches after eight, but he was pinch-hit for by James Loney in the eighth inning.

The Brewers’ lone run came on a Prince Fielder sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off of Dodgers closer Javy Guerra (it was a non-save situation, obviously). That followed a one-out triple by Ryan Braun.

Brewers prepare to face Mets on the road

The Brewers didn’t finish this homestand on a particularly good note, but you have to remember that they actually went 6-1 during it, so that was a great homestand for them. But now, they’ll go on the road and face a team that’s having a somewhat similar season as the Dodgers are- the Mets.

The Mets took two of three in a series against the Brewers earlier this year at Miller Park, but the venue for this series will be the pitcher-friendly Citi Field.

Now, the only thing that worries me about the Brewers headed into this road trip is the offense, which has been pretty non-existent over the past week or so. I guess you could argue that the reason they were stymied today was because of Kershaw, who is a front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award at this point. But, you could also argue that the Brewers should have crushed Kershaw today, since his career ERA against the Brewers coming in was 6.23. The Brewers definitely faced some good pitching during this stretch, and their pitching kept them in the game during every game, but the offense will have to break out at some point.

The Mets don’t have the greatest pitching staff in the world. In fact, all of their starters have ERAs hovering around 4.00, the lowest ERA being that of R.A. Dickey’s, which is currently 3.77.

Here are the pitching matchups for this series:

Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.50 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (6-9, 4.58 ERA)

Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.30 ERA) vs. Chris Capuano (9-11, 4.58 ERA)

Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.77 ERA)

The Marcum vs. Pelfrey matchup will take place tomorrow, so I’ll just do my usual “Up next for the Crew…” segment right here. Marcum is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates, but he went 7 2/3 innings while giving up just one run. He has one career start against the Mets, during which he threw six shutout innings against them, but had to settle for a no-decision.

Pelfrey, meanwhile, left his last start with an injury, but has been cleared to pitch tomorrow. He is 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA against the Brewers in his career.

Anyway, that’s about it, but, before I go, I’m going to explain some of the sloppy defense the Brewers played today (I probably should have done that earlier, but oh well). There were two errors: one by third baseman Casey McGehee, when he pulled the first baseman Fielder off the bag with a low throw, and the other by reliever Kameron Loe, who threw the ball away in what should have been a somewhat routine play. Shortstop Josh Wilson also missed a double play ball and let it roll into center field, but, with how loosely the error stat is used, that play wasn’t considered an error. Anyway, all of those plays cost the Brewers runs (except McGehee’s error). Hopefully the offense and defense shows up tomorrow, though, because we’re going to need it if we want to keep winning.


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