Hamilton, Dempster wiped off the market

December 15, 2012

> For the second straight offseason, the Angels have picked up the best hitter on the market with a sneaky deal that no one saw coming. Following a year in which they gave Albert Pujols a 10-year, $254 million deal, they handed out another huge contract to Josh Hamilton, this one for five years and $175 million. 

If you told me you saw this coming, I’d call you a liar. Their outfield seemed set with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Peter Bourjos, a young core that could last them a long time. But, much to the chagrin of their division rival Rangers, they went out and stole the best free agent on the market, and will insert Hamilton into one of those outfield slots (likely Bourjos’).

It was speculated all offseason that the Brewers had interest in Hamilton, and there were articles as recent as December 6th saying that Milwaukee would make a run at him. But, realistically, the Brewers were never going to get him, especially at his price tag.

Anyway, the Angels’ lineup now looks something like this: Trout, Erick Aybar, Pujols, Hamilton, Kendrys Morales, Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, and Chris Iannetta.

Looks like Los Angeles is the new New York.

Hamilton

> The Brewers’ top starting starting pitching target, Ryan Dempster, was also taken away, as the Red Sox wooed him with a two-year, $26.5 million deal. Apparently, the Brewers were willing to give Dempster two years plus an option for a third, but they didn’t come close to what Boston was offering cash-wise. Anyway, I don’t see Dempster doing well in the American League after what he did for the Rangers last year, but that was his choice.

With Dempster off the market, the likelihood of the Brewers bringing in a free agent starter this offseason decreased by a lot. The rest of the crop is either too Jeff Suppan-like or won’t fit the Brewers financial situation. The next best option after Dempster would be Edwin Jackson, but that would only happen if he would be willing to take a one-year or two-year deal. If the reports of Jackson wanting a four or five-year deal are true, then the odds of him coming to Milwaukee aren’t very good.

But, as I’ve been saying, it isn’t the end of the world if the Brewers don’t bring in a new starter for 2013. I’m completely fine with them staying in-house and using the prospects who are big league-ready. If that is the case, the ideal rotation for the Brewers would be Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson, Wily Peralta, and Mike Fiers. While that seems like a relatively inexperienced rotation to someone who doesn’t watch the Brewers everyday, I think the Brewers will get by, especially with the best offensive lineup in the National League backing them up.

> One more major signing: the Tigers finalized a deal with Anibal Sanchez, who nearly went to the Cubs, this morning. The Cubs reportedly had a five-year, $75 million deal in place with Sanchez as recent as last night, but the Tigers were given the opportunity to counter the offer, and wound up getting him back.

Sanchez was one of the starters who the Brewers probably wouldn’t have been able to afford, but at least it’s good that the division rival Cubs won’t get him.

> Doug Melvin basically said that he doesn’t want Shaun Marcum back.

> The Brewers have been linked to Mike Adams, one of the better relievers on the market, recently. But Tom Haudricourt considers them out of the hunt for him. Adams started his career with the Brewers, pitching for them from 2004 to 2006.

> Long-time Brewers farmhand Amaury Rivas has signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. He was always one of my favorite minor league pitchers for the Brewers, but I figured he’d be gone at some point.

> Minor moves: 

Rangers: Signed Brandon Snyder to a minor league deal; outrighted Konrad Schmidt to Triple-A.
Padres: Signed Juan Oramas, Sean O’Sullivan, Gregorio Petit, and Rene Rivera to minor league deals; acquired Chris Rearick from the Rays.
Twins: Signed ex-Brewer Brandon Boggs, Ray Olmedo, Bryan Augenstein, Reynaldo Rodriguez, Scott Earlton, Virgil Vasquez, Mike O’Connor, and Jason Lane to minor league deals.
Giants: Signed Andres Torres to a one-year deal; signed Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal.
Braves: Signed Ramiro Pena to a one-year deal.
Rockies: Signed Tommy Manzella to a minor league deal.
Mets: Re-signed Manny Acosta to a one-year deal.
Yankees: Signed Bobby Wilson and Gil Velasquez to minor league deals; designated Josh Spence for assignment.
Cardinals: Signed Alex Reyes to a minor league deal; signed Ty Wigginton to a two-year deal.
Nationals: Signed Neivy Pilier and Brian Bocock to minor league deals.
Rays: Acquired Vince Belnome from the Padres.
Phillies: Signed Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Jermaine Mitchell, Pete Orr, and Humberto Quintero to minor league deals; claimed Mauricio Robles off waivers from the Mariners.
Royals: Signed Xavier Nady 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.


A couple of candidates who could replace Sveum

November 21, 2011

> Before I start, I’d just like to thank the Brewers for giving me close to nothing to post about over the past week. This is a blogger’s worst nightmare… Anyway, today was no different- the Brewers made no moves for me to post about.

> So, I’ve decided to talk about a few possible replacements for recently-departed hitting coach Dale Sveum. Now that he’s the manager of the division rival Cubs, the Brewers will need to look for a new hitting coach- hopefully someone that can actually break the slumps of some players, such as Casey McGehee.

> The first candidate is John Shelby, who is currently the Brewers’ outfield instructor. During 11 MLB seasons, Shelby was on two clubs that won the World Series, but hit just a career .239. This is what worries me about this possibility.

But, Shelby has been a coach for the Dodgers, Pirates, and Orioles before joining the Brewers prior to the 2011 season. So he does have a little experience. Although I still have a feeling that it’s very unlikely he’ll get the job.

> Next up is one of the greatest players in Brewers’ history- Paul Molitor. He had a career .306 average over 21 seasons, most of which came with the Brewers. Molitor was also part of the historical 1982 team, in which the Brewers made it to the World Series.

Molitor doesn’t have much coaching experience, although he was the hitting coach for the Mariners a few years ago.

> This one is extremely unlikely, yet possible- Jim Gantner. Like Molitor, he was part of the ’82 team. Gantner was a career .274 hitter, which isn’t spectacular, but at the same time isn’t horrible either. But, Gantner has never been part of a coaching staff before, which is why this is so unlikely.

Anyway, I once knew Gantner in real life- I took hitting lessons from him and knew him for a few years after. So, personally, it would be cool to see him become the hitting coach of the Brewers, as unlikely as it is.

> Robin Yount is arguably the most likely out of the names I’ve mentioned so far. Arguably the greatest player in Brewers’ history (at least in my opinion), he had a career .285 average, and all of his seasons came with the Brewers.

Yount is probably the most likely because he does have previous coaching experience, as he was the Diamondbacks’ bench coach from 2002-2004, and served as the Brewers’ bench coach in 2005 and 2008.

> Of all of these names, the most likely is Sandy Guerrero, who is currently the coach of the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Nashville Sounds. He’s probably the most likely since he’s the only one of these names that Doug Melvin has actually acknowledged.

> By the way, if you’re wondering, I got these ideal replacements from Bleacher Report. It isn’t a source I use very often, but I figured I would use it today since this is really my first “filler post,” as I call them (meaning posts that aren’t about Brewers’ news, but more of my opinion on certain things).

> Anyway, the only news from around MLB today was that the Phillies acquired the versatile Ty Wigginton from the Rockies. Apparently, the Phillies are attempting to get as many first base replacements for Ryan Howard as they can.

> And that’s about it. Before I go, remember that the AL MVP is going to be announced tomorrow. So far, I’ve gotten all of my award predictions right, and my choice for AL MVP is Justin Verlander- yes, a pitcher. And, whether or not he wins, you’re probably going to see me post an article about why I think Verlander should have won.

> So, feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any.


Brewers edge Rockies to split series

July 17, 2011

5:58p The Brewers didn’t win this series at Coors Field, but they didn’t lose it, either.

Brewers-Rockies Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Rockies today in a tight game, 4-3. They managed to split a road series at Coors Field, where they have the worst record of any visiting opponent at the Rockies’ home.

The struggling Aaron Cook was on the hill for the Rockies, and came into the day winless. The Brewers aimed to keep it that way, and they did. They got to Cook in the second inning, when Rickie Weeks led off with a double. He advanced on a George Kottaras groundout, then Casey McGehee drove him in with a sacrifice fly to give the Crew an early 1-0 lead.

The Rockies wouldn’t answer until the fourth, when Brewers starter Shaun Marcum got into a jam. After walking Dexter Fowler and Jason Giambi to lead off the inning, Marcum gave up a single to Seth Smith to drive in Fowler. Weeks nearly caught it at second, but it deflected off his glove, which allowed Fowler to score. Marcum would then strike out Ian Stewart and induce an Eliezer Alfonzo groundout to get out of the jam.

The Brewers, however, immediately answered in the fifth. Cook walked Prince Fielder with one out, then Weeks singled to put men on first and second. Kottaras then took advantage of a sinker that Cook left up in the zone and drove it to left field to score Fielder. Weeks, however, was thrown out at home trying to score a second run. McGehee then proceeded to drive in Kottaras with an RBI single. Reliever Matt Belisle, Cook’s replacement, finally ended the bleeding by inducing a Marcum flyout. Cook went just 4 2/3 innings while giving up three runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out one. He would have given up more runs, but the Brewers left the bases loaded twice against him.

Mark Kotsay added an RBI single in the sixth to give the Brewers a 4-1 lead.

Marcum came back out for the sixth inning, but would not stay for long. He had made a highlight reel play the inning before to rob Fowler of a bunt single, but, while making the play, landed weird on his shoulder. When he came out for the sixth, he immediately gave up a mile-long homer to Giambi. Marcum was removed from the game after that to make sure he wouldn’t injure himself more, and it was later determined that he had a neck strain.

LaTroy Hawkins came in to finish the sixth, and got himself in and out of a jam.

Marcum’s line finished with 5+ innings pitched while giving up two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Takashi Saito pitched a perfect seventh, and Francisco Rodriguez threw a scoreless eighth while working in and out of a jam.

Then, closer John Axford came in to try and keep his save streak alive. It didn’t look like he was going to at first, as he gave up an RBI double to Ty Wigginton to make it a 4-3 game. However, Axford would strike out Troy Tulowitzki to end the game.

McGehee has solid day at the plate

McGehee finally had one of his rare decent days at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. He brought his average up to .225. (Yes, you read that correctly- he brought it UP to .225.)

I’ve noted this in a few posts now, but McGehee is still in a season long slump that hasn’t really ended. He’s been doing slightly better lately, but it’s too late in the season for him to make a complete turn around. It looks he’ll be having the worst season of his career at this point.

Coors Field has “courteous” fans

Remember in the first game of this series when Fielder had to borrow a Rockies fan’s sunglasses because he couldn’t find his own? That was an example of the usually-kind Rockies fans at Coors Field.

Today was a different story. While Saito was pitching the seventh inning, a Rockies fan was supposedly yelling something directly at him as soon as he went into his delivery. This distracted Saito, so he repeatedly attempted to ask the umpires to do something about it. Only one issue- Saito can’t speak English.

It appeared Saito was trying to act out what was going on, but to no avail. He was starting to get booed after a while, and Saito’s translator finally ran out onto the field and must have gotten the umps to do something, because Saito finally started pitching without any distractions.

But, I’m not going to lie about this- Saito looked hilarious. While he was trying to act out what was going on, it looked like he was dancing and laughing, so I don’t blame the umps for not knowing what was going on. That’s the only down-side of Japanese pitchers in America: none of them know how to speak English.

Wilson > Betancourt

Josh Wilson has gotten the start at shortstop for the past two days, and let me say I’ve been extremely impressed with his defense for the most part. He’s making plays that Yuniesky Betancourt would never make, even if he tried (but he would never try anyway). Wilson’s offense has been better than Betancourt’s as well.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will open up a series with the Diamondbacks in Arizona tomorrow. Randy Wolf (6-6, 3.65 ERA) will take the hill for the Brewers. He got knocked around his last start against the D-backs, giving up seven runs in six innings. He is 10-4 with a 4.77 ERA against them in his career.

Josh Collmenter (4-5, 2.92 ERA) will go for the Diamondbacks. He shut out the Brewers for six innings in his only start against them, but was forced to settle for a n0-decision because his bullpen blew the game.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Reds defeated the Cardinals, 3-1. The Brewers now move ahead of the Cards in the division standings and are in first all alone.
  • The Pirates defeated the Astros, 7-5. The Pirates are just a half game back, while the Astros are an astounding 19.5 games back. Wow.
  • The Cubs lost to the Marlins, 7-5. They are 13 games back.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 4 11 1
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 7 3

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 1 1 0 1 0 2 .266
Nyjer Morgan, CF-LF 4 0 2 0 0 1 4 .335
Mark Kotsay, LF 4 0 1 1 0 1 3 .257
b- Carlos Gomez, PH- CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .223
Prince Fielder, 1B 3 1 0 0 2 0 2 .299
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 1 2 0 1 0 3 .277
George Kottaras, C 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 .226
c- Ryan Braun, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .315
Casey McGehee, 3B 3 0 2 2 0 1 0 .225
Josh Wilson, SS 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 .294
Shaun Marcum, P 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .114
a- Jonathan Lucroy, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .275
Total 36 4 11 4 4 3 21

a- Grounded into a forceout for Saito in the 8th.

b- Lined out for Kotsay in the 9th.

c- Grounded out for Rodriguez in the 9th.

BATTING
2B- Weeks (24), Kottaras (2), Wilson (5).

RBI- McGehee 2 (38), Kottaras (10), Kotsay (20).

Team RISP- 3-for-11.

Team LOB- 11.

FIELDING

E- Wilson (2, fielding).

Milwaukee Brewers

Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Shaun Marcum (W, 8-3) 5.0 4 2 2 3 4 1 3.39
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 13) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.65
Takashi Saito (H, 3) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3.86
Francisco Rodriguez (H, 1) 1.0 1 0 0 1 2 0 3.02
John Axford (SV, 25) 1.0 1 1 0 1 2 0 2.84

Marcum pitched to 1 batter in the 6th.

Pitches-strikes: Marcum 82-48, Hawkins 18-12, Saito 15-9, Rodriguez 20-12, Axford 24-17.

Groundouts-flyouts: Marcum 4-4, Hawkins 2-1, Saito 0-1, Rodriguez 1-0, Axford 2-0.

Batters faced- Marcum 22, Hawkins 4, Saito 3, Rodriguez 5, Axford 6.


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