> Norichika Aoki’s long-awaited workout took place yesterday in Maryvale, Arizona, at the Brewers Spring Training complex. They didn’t release all that much info about it, except for the fact that it will take “a few more days to decide whether or not he fits the roster.” Which makes sense, considering the Brewers’ roster already has four proven MLB outfielders- Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, and Carlos Gomez. (Ok, maybe Gomez isn’t proven, but you get the point.)
But, judging by Brewers officials’ reactions to the workout, it really doesn’t sound like Aoki is anything special. GM Doug Melvin described him as “what you would expect from a player from Japan.” That’s pretty vague, because that could mean Ichiro-type material, or Tsuyoshi Nishioki-type material, and there’s a pretty big gap of talent between those two. However, Melvin didn’t specifically say how good Aoki looked during the workout, which leads me to believe it was average at best.
If it weren’t for the Braun situation, I would probably say the Brewers don’t need him (unless they’ve secretly put Morgan or Gomez on the trade market). Unfortunately, we won’t know whether or not Braun will be available for the first 50 games of next year until after the deadline to sign Aoki. If it were me, I would probably sign Aoki just in case Braun does get banned. But, if he doesn’t, then they could just trade someone like Morgan or Gomez (preferable Gomez), and keep Aoki as the fourth outfielder.
But I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this all turns out. This has been quite a stressful offseason so far…
> The Brewers signed utility infielder Brooks Conrad to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training yesterday. Conrad hit just .223 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 92 games last year, and his defense is just pitiful. So, if you know this guys history, this isn’t a signing to get too excited about.
> As far as Prince Fielder rumors go- ever since I heard last week that the Nationals were almost a guarantee for him, there’s been absolutely nothing.
And, I know this sounds crazy, but at some point, Fielder might be tempted to come back to the Brewers for one more year. It might be his only chance for a job, in the end.
> Barry Larkin, a great defensive shortstop during his era and a career .295 hitter, was inducted into the Hall of Fame today, so congratulations to him.
Unfortunately, at least 10 of the players on next year’s ballot have been, in some way shape or form, involved with drugs (Barry Bonds, Roger Clements, etc.). So next year will definitely be a controversial ballot.
> And that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.