Rauch, Frasor, Farnsworth, Gonzalez on relief radar

December 18, 2012

> Doug Melvin has already missed out on multiple opportunities to sign relievers this offseason, the most notable guys being Jason Grilli and Sean Burnett. But, for the first time this offseason, Melvin himself named off a few relievers that the Brewers are currently interested in. Those names included Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor, Kyle Farnsworth, and Mike Gonzalez, all of whom were in my relief pitcher article from a few weeks back.

In my opinion, Frasor is by far the most attractive pitcher of those four. He fits the bill of a power arm the Brewers are looking for, and can pitch the eighth inning (I’m not so sure I completely trust Jim Henderson in the eighth yet). Frasor doesn’t have the greatest career numbers, but you have to take into consideration that he’s spent the majority of his career with the Blue Jays in the AL East, so a move to the NL might do him good.

Frasor

The other three options Melvin listed are decent, I suppose. Farnsworth had a breakout season in 2011 as the Rays’ closer, but had an injury-plagued 2012. Gonzalez is that coveted lefty the Brewers are looking for (though I’d much prefer J.P. Howell, who I’m surprised Melvin didn’t mention), but the competition for him his; same goes for Howell. And I’d stay away from Rauch- he reminds me too much of Kameron Loe.

But if Melvin does decide to go after one of these guys, hopefully he gives him a substantial offer. Not that I want Melvin to overpay for a reliever, but I felt like he didn’t go hard enough for guys like Grilli or Burnett. However, the four guys Melvin mentioned today should come much cheaper than Grilli or Burnett.

> The Brewers signed utility infielder Donnie Murphy to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Murphy, who’s pretty versatile in the field, isn’t the greatest at the plate, as he hit just .216 in 129 plate appearances for the Marlins last year, and is a career .205 hitter. But, he does provide some depth at shortstop,a position the Brewers struggled with last year until the acquisition of Jean Segura. After Alex Gonzalez went down, we saw the tandem of Cody Ransom and Cesar Izturis flail miserably.

Anyway, Murphy should compete with guys like Mat Gamel and Taylor Green for one of the back-up infielder spots.

> Minor moves: 

Red Sox: Signed Stephen Drew to a one-year deal.
Athletics: Signed Hiroyuki Nakajima to a two-year deal.
Astros: Signed Carlos Pena to a one-year deal; designated Mickey Storey for assignment.
Cubs: Designated Jeff Beliveau for assignment.
Giants: Signed Santiago Casilla to a three-year extension.
Angels: Signed Luis Rodriguez to a minor league deal.
Royals: Released Ysrael Abreu, Jose Brazoban, Adelso Polanco, and Yerinson Tatis.


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’ bullpen melts down again in loss to D-backs

July 5, 2011

6:32p Diamondbacks-Brewers Wrap-Up

Well, before I have to get negative, let me wish everyone a happy 4th of July.

Now for the negative.

The Brewers let another 6-1 lead go in their 8-6 loss to the Diamondbacks. The bullpen melted down once again, as they let the Diamondbacks chip all the way back from a 6-1 deficit.

Things looked to be going well for the Brewers early on in the 3rd inning. After Casey McGehee’s double and Jonathan Lucroy’s single, starter Shaun Marcum bunted up the first base line. McGehee surprisingly tried to score. He would have been out, had it not been for a throwing error by first baseman Juan Miranda. The Diamondbacks immediately answered in the 4th, however, when Miguel Montero hit a solo shot off Marcum.

The bottom of the 4th was the big inning for the Brewers. Corey Hart led off with a solo homer off Diamondbacks starter Daniel Hudson, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Then, after singles by Prince Fielder and McGehee and a walk by Lucroy, Marcum stepped up to the plate with two outs. Sure enough, he crushed a grand slam into the Brewers’ bullpen, giving the Brewers a 6-1 lead.

After that inning, everything went downhill for the Crew.

After Wily Mo Pena’s pinch-hit homer in the 5th, the Diamondbacks scored at least one run in every inning until the end of the game. Marcum was lifted after the 6th. He finished with six innings, while giving up seven hits, four runs, two walks, and had five strikeouts.

In the 7th, Stephen Drew singled off of reliever LaTroy Hawkins, halting his scoreless streak at 22 innings. Then, in the 8th, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke made the mistake of bringing in Kameron Loe. He gave up a run on four hits, but got lucky because of two runners thrown out at third. John Axford came in to record the final out of the inning.

In the 9th, everything fell apart for Axford, which was very uncharacteristic of him. He gave up two runs on four hits, making it an 8-6 Diamondbacks lead. Diamondbacks reliever David Hernandez came in for the bottom of the inning, and struck out the side to record the save.

Kameron Loe sucks.

I vented out on Loe yesterday in one of my posts, as well as earlier today in one of my tweets. Now, I feel the need to again.

He did not take the loss today, but he blew his sixth save of the year. (It obviously wasn’t a save, but blown hold sounds stupid.) He is now 2-7 with a 4.87 ERA. I have no idea why Roenicke is being so stubborn and continuing to use him, despite all those losses and blown saves, when LaTroy Hawkins and his 0.82 ERA are sitting in the bullpen, unused. Not to mention we have Takashi Saito back from the DL. But I guess he’ll be getting the Hawkins treatment as well.

In my opinion, we’d almost be better off cutting Loe and calling up Tim Dillard or Mike McClendon. But that’s NEVER going to happen, at least not as long as Roenicke is manager.

Marcum’s slam wasted by bullpen

I thought after Marcum hit that grand slam off Hudson that we had the game won. But, the bullpen had other ideas, apparently.

Anyway, Marcum’s slam was the first by a pitcher in Brewers history. However, Seattle Pilots pitcher Fred Talbot hit a grand slam in the Pilots’ lone season in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers.

Braun sits again

Now I’m beginning to get a little worried. I was hoping Ryan Braun would be back in the lineup today, but he was out again with his calf injury. His absence in the lineup may be part of the reason that our offense has failed to get rallies going in late innings. Hopefully he’ll be back tomorrow.

McGehee’s slump appears over

McGehee finally appeared to be out of his slump today, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a single off of Hudson. Sadly, I’m not sure we can consider him completely out of it, considering Hudson has failed to retire McGehee during his entire career. McGehee is 5-for-5 against Hudson in his career.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will see a familiar face tomorrow in Arizona’s Zach Duke (1-3, 5.92 ERA). The Brewers saw a lot of Duke during his days with the Pirates. Duke was traded to the Diamondbacks early last offseason, and is 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA in his career against the Brewers. Randy Wolf (6-5, 3.33 ERA) will go for the Crew, looking for his 7th win of the season. He’s coming off of a solid start against the Yankees. He gave up four runs over seven innings, but received no run support. In his career, Wolf is 10-3 with a 4.47 ERA against the Diamondbacks.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals are currently leading the Reds 1-0 in the 8th inning. If the Cards win, they will take the division lead.
  • The Cubs lost in extra innings to the Nationals, 5-4. They are 10.5 games back.
  • Pirates defeated the Astros, 5-3. They are 1 and 16.5 games back, respectively. (I can’t remember the last time the Pirates were 1 game back. This is scary.)

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