Brewers inactive on Day 1 of Meetings

December 4, 2012

> The Brewers didn’t make any significant moves on the first day of this year’s Winter Meetings. Doug Melvin was questioned about a few topics, such as a possible pursuit of Ryan Dempster, but, as always, he said very little.

When asked about Dempster, Melvin gave a relatively indirect response, and made no indication as to whether the Brewers were after him:

“While he’s here, we might as well [meet]. We like the starters that we have, though. You’ve got [Yovani] Gallardo, you’ve got [Marco] Estrada and [Mike] Fiers, [Wily] Peralta, Mark Rogers, [Chris] Narveson. Is it time to give our young guys a chance and find out about them?” 

Whether or not the Brewers end up signing a veteran such as Dempster, the young guys are still going to get a look. In my opinion, the only locks for the rotation at this point are Gallardo and Estrada. The rest of the guys- Fiers, Peralta, Rogers, Narveson- are all viable options as well, however, and I don’t think the rotation is as big of a problem as some are making it out to be.

Personally, I’m in favor of signing Dempster. I don’t think he’ll turn out to be a Jeff Suppan or Randy Wolf-like signing (despite the fact that Dempster is older than both), but you never know. As I’ve been saying, Dempster isn’t a necessity: I’m perfectly fine with a rotation consisting of Gallardo, Estrada, Peralta, Narveson, and Fiers (I’m beginning to see Rogers as a potential reliever). I can see where someone not too familiar with the Brewers would have concerns about that rotation, but go back and look at the numbers. That’s by no means among the best rotations in baseball, but it’s capable of winning games, especially with the offense the Brewers already have. (By the way, Melvin also mentioned prospects Tyler Thornburg and Hiram Burgos as options, but they’re probably still both a year- maybe less- away.)

Melvin did speak about the bullpen situation, however, and said he’d made contact with the agents of two of the best possible fits for the Brewers: Sean Burnett and Jason Grilli. Burnett, in my opinion, is the best lefty on the market, so if the Brewers were to nab him, I’d be happy. But that’s what we all thought about David Riske in 2007, and look what happened after the Brewers signed him to a three-year pact.

Grilli is already 36, but the Brewers had success with LaTroy Hawkins (38 at the time) and Takashi Saito (41) in 2011, so I’m not too worried about the age factor. Anyway, he’s one of the better right-handed relievers on the market, and can still get it up their in the mid-to-upper 90’s, something the Brewers are looking for.

Anyway, those were the main points for the interview with Melvin today. Adam McCalvy reported a few other “tidbits” from the chat as well:

> Melvin clarified that the Brewers see Estrada and Narveson as starting pitchers “at this time.” Estrada, who basically played the role of swing-man in 2011 and early 2012, has proven that he is much more successful pitching in the rotation, and now he’s getting his shot at the full-time job. Narveson, on the other hand, missed all of 2012 after just two starts because of a rotator cuff injury. If the Brewers sign a veteran starter, Narveson would be my first choice to move to the bullpen, but I’m fine with him in either role.

> After the Burke Badenhop deal the other day, Melvin said the Brewers aren’t involved in any trade talks at the moment.

> Melvin hasn’t talked to Corey Hart about a possible extension yet. But now there’s speculation that his price has driven up following the mega-deals that went to B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan.

> As I’ve speculated over the past few weeks, teams have asked the Brewers about Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado, possibly the best young catching tandem in the Majors. But Melvin said he’d need to be blown away by a deal for either of them.

> And that’s about all the Brewers news for today. Check back tomorrow for coverage of Day 2.

> Minor moves: 

Red Sox: Signed Mike Napoli to a three-year deal; signed Mitch Maier, Terry Doyle, Drew Sutton, Oscar Villarreal, and Jose De La Torre to minor league deals.
Giants: Re-signed Pagan to a four-year deal.
Rangers: Signed Joakim Soria to a two-year deal; re-signed Geovany Soto to a one-year deal.
Rays: Signed James Loney to a one-year deal.
Padres: Re-signed Jason Marquis to a one-year deal.
Blue Jays: Claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees.
Nationals: Re-signed Zach Duke to a one-year deal; signed Bill Bray to a minor league deal.
Braves: Re-signed Paul Janish to a one-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Signed Rommie Lewis, Eddie Bonine, Kila Ka’aihue, Humberto Cota, Jeremy Reed, and Brad Snyder to minor league deals.

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Results of the major awards

November 17, 2012

> Now that the week of debating over awards is over, the boring part of the offseason starts: waiting for all of the big name players to sign. But first, let’s look at the complete placing for each award (via Baseball Reference).

NL MVP:

1. Buster Posey
2. Ryan Braun
3. Andrew McCutchen
4. Yadier Molina
5. Chase Headley
6. Adam LaRoche
6. David Wright
8. Craig Kimbrel
9. Aramis Ramirez
10. Jay Bruce
11. Matt Holliday
12. Aroldis Chapman
13. Brandon Phillips
14. R.A. Dickey
14. Joey Votto
16. Ian Desmond
16. Clayton Kershaw
18. Michael Bourn
19. Allen Craig
20. Gio Gonzalez
20. Kris Medlen
20. Martin Prado
20. Alfonso Soriano
24. Giancarlo Stanton
24. Ryan Zimmerman
26. Carlos Beltran
26. Aaron Hill
28. Jason Heyward
28. Carlos Ruiz
30. Johnny Cueto
30. Bryce Harper
32. Chipper Jones
32. Miguel Montero
32. Angel Pagan
32. Hunter Pence

AL MVP: 

1. Miguel Cabrera
2. Mike Trout
3. Adrian Beltre
4. Robinson Cano
5. Josh Hamilton
6. Adam Jones
7. Derek Jeter
8. Justin Verlander
9. Prince Fielder
10. Yoenis Cespedes
11. Edwin Encarnacion
12. David Price
13. Fernando Rodney
14. Jim Johnson
15. Alex Rios
16. Josh Reddick
17. Albert Pujols
18. Ben Zobrist
19. Joe Mauer
20. Rafael Soriano
21. Matt Wieters
22. Felix Hernandez
22. Jered Weaver
24. Raul Ibanez

NL Cy Young Award: 

1. R.A. Dickey
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Gio Gonzalez
4. Johnny Cueto
5. Craig Kimbrel
6. Matt Cain
7. Kyle Lohse
8. Aroldis Chapman
8. Cole Hamels

AL Cy Young Award: 

1. David Price
2. Justin Verlander
3. Jered Weaver
4. Felix Hernandez
5. Fernando Rodney
6. Chris Sale
7. Jim Johnson
8. Matt Harrison
9. Yu Darvish

NL Rookie of the Year: 

1. Bryce Harper
2. Wade Miley
3. Todd Frazier
4. Wilin Rosario
5. Norichika Aoki
6. Yonder Alonso
6. Matt Carpenter
6. Jordan Pacheco

AL Rookie of the Year: 

1. Mike Trout
2. Yoenis Cespedes
3. Yu Darvish
4. Wei-Yin Chen
5. Jarrod Parker

NL Manager of the Year: 

1. Davey Johnson
2. Dusty Baker
3. Bruce Bochy
4. Fredi Gonzalez
5. Bud Black
5. Mike Matheny

AL Manager of the Year: 

1. Bob Melvin
2. Buck Showalter
3. Robin Ventura
4. Joe Maddon
5. Joe Girardi
6. Jim Leyland
6. Ron Washington

> I forgot to mention the other day that Ramirez placed ninth in the NL MVP voting. It seems like a lot of non-Brewers fans are overlooking that he actually turned in a great year.

> The Brewers signed Eulogio De La Cruz and Zach Kroenke- both pitchers- to minor league deals.

Kroenke is a lefty, so he gives the Brewers some much-needed depth in that department. And, if you don’t recognize the name “Eulogio” De La Cruz, trust me- you do.

Does “Frankie” De La Cruz ring a bell? Yep, he’s back, and n0w I can continue vomiting over how horrible his mechanics are.

> Jack Zduriencik- a former Brewers scout, and currently the general manager of the Mariners- said they aren’t actively pursuing Josh Hamilton. That could be good for the Brewers, though Doug Melvin has been saying basically the same thing as Zduriencik.

> The Blue Jays signed Melky Cabrera to a two-year deal worth $16 million. Interpret that how you want.

> Minor moves: 

Mets: Signed Brian Bixler to a minor league deal.
Padres: Acquired Tyson Ross and A.J. Kirby-Jones from the Athletics.
Athletics: Acquired Andrew Werner and Andy Parrino from the Padres.
Royals: Signed Brandon Wood, Atahualpa Severino, Brian Sanches, and Anthony Ortega to minor league deals.


Brewers’ BBWAA awards handed out

October 17, 2012

> The Milwaukee chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America handed out their annual awards to Brewers players on Monday. Most of the awards went to the guys you’d expect to receive awards, but there were a few surprises.

Ryan Braun received the MVP award- I want to say unanimously because he received all eight first-place votes, but there were other players to whom the award would have been worthy. Braun backed up an MVP season in 2011 with a 2012 that was just as good: 41 home runs (a career-high for him), 112 RBIs, and a .319 batting average. Braun also stole 30 bases for his second straight 30-30 season. He led the National League in home runs, total bases (356), runs (108), and OPS (.987). He also tied for the league lead in extra-base hits with 80.

Yovani Gallardo took home the best pitcher award, and we can safely say that was unanimous (he also received all eight first-place votes). He put up close to identical numbers to his 2011 season in 2012, going 16-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Those 16 wins led the Brewers by a landslide, and tied him for sixth in the NL. Gallardo also had his fourth straight 200+ strikeout season (204 this year).

Aramis Ramirez won Top Newcomer, taking seven of the eight first-place votes. He hit 27 home runs and had 105 RBIs in his first season with the Brewers. Ramirez also reached the .300 mark on the last day of the season. He led the NL in doubles, was tied with Braun for the most extra-base hits, and was just three shy of Lyle Overbay’s franchise record for doubles. Ramirez was also the best defensive third baseman in the league, as he had the fewest errors and a .977 fielding percentage. Norichika Aoki took the other first-place vote after his sensational rookie season.

Somewhat surprisingly- but deservingly- Marco Estrada won the Unsung Hero award. He went just 5-7, but had a very respectable 3.64 ERA, and was a reliable option after being thrown in the rotation full-time. Carlos Gomez, Martin Maldonado, and Mike Fiers also received first-place votes for the Unsung Hero.

Lastly, John Axford received the Good Guy Award. I’m in agreement with this one since Axford managed to keep a positive attitude through his struggle of a season in 2012. Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, Gomez, and Estrada also received first-place votes for this award.

POSTSEASON COVERAGE

> There are games in progress right now, but here’s the coverage from the last two days.

> The Giants defeated the Cardinals, 7-1, on Monday. The Giants got their first start of more than six innings, as Ryan Vogelsong threw seven strong. Meanwhile, the Giants’ offense took advantage of some shoddy Cards defense to knock around Chris Carpenter. Angel Pagan hit a lead-off home run, and Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot had two RBIs apiece.

> The Yankees’ offense remained dormant, as they lost to the Tigers, 2-1, last night. The fact that Justin Verlander was pitching (8 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 K) might serve as an excuse, but now the Yanks are a game from elimination. The Tigers, meanwhile, can reach the World Series for the first time since 2006.

THE NEWS

> Livan Hernandez and Yorvit Torrealba each elected free agency after rejecting their outright assignments.

> The Brewers added Jesus Sanchez, a righty reliever, to the 40-man roster. He had a 1.62 ERA in 71 2/3 innings combined at Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville.

If only Jesus could have saved our bullpen this year.

> Buster Olney suggested that the Brewers are players for Josh Hamilton, who will more than likely be one of the most highly-touted free agents on the market. The Brewers probably don’t have the money, but might be able to sway him since Johnny Narron is one of their coaches. Narron and Hamilton are very close.

> MLB Trade Rumors looked at the offseason situation for the Brewers.

> The minor moves over the past few days:

Cubs: Acquired Marcelo Carreno from the Tigers to complete the August Jeff Baker trade.
Mets: Removed Justin Hampson and Rob Johnson from their 40-man roster, making them both free agents.
Dodgers: Outrighted Blake Hawksworth, who elected free agency.
Blue Jays: Claimed Scott Cousins off waivers from the Marlins; claimed Cory Wade off waivers from the Yankees; designated Juan Abreu for assignment.
Red Sox: Claimed Sandy Rosario off waivers from the Marlins; designated Che-Hsuan Lin for assignment.
Nationals: Outrighted Carlos Maldonado and ex-Brewer Brett Carroll, both of whom elected free agency.
Orioles: Outrighted Ronny Paulino and Dana Eveland, both of whom elected free agency.
Yankees: Outrighted Justin Thomas, who elected free agency.
Marlins: Outrighted Nick Green, Donnie Murphy, and Gil Velazquez to Triple-A.

THE EXTRAS

> Rumors have been circling ever since Monday’s extra-innings Tigers-Yankees game that Alex Rodriguez was caught flirting with fans while he was in the on-deck circle. Well today it was confirmed, and now there are pictures to go with the story. Turns out one of the blondes he was talking to is a model.


Dillard struggles as Brewers finish disappointing road trip

May 7, 2012

> Today was yet another disappointing game for the Brewers, which has been a common theme during this nine-game road trip. They fell to the Giants today, 4-3, in somewhat of a nail-biter. The Brewers got on the board right away in the first on an Aramis Ramirez RBI single, but Shaun Marcum gave up the lead quickly in the bottom of the inning. Conor Gillaspie hit an RBI double, and Angel Pagan followed that with an RBI fielder’s choice. Ryan Theriot tacked on another run for the Giants in the fourth, making it 3-1. Ramirez picked up another RBI in the sixth on a sacrifice fly.

The Brewers then put up a fight in the ninth inning against Giants closer Santiago Casilla (the beard is on the DL for those who don’t know). Two outs after Corey Hart reached on a fielding error, ex-Giant Travis Ishikawa stunned his former team with a game-tying RBI double.

But the Brewers couldn’t keep the momentum going, and the game went to extra innings. In the 11th, Tim Dillard came in to pitch, and you could just tell things were going to go downhill from there. He’s probably had one, but I honestly can’t recall Dillard having a scoreless outing yet this year. And that trend continued today. Dillard loaded the bases, including two walks, before giving up a walk-off single to Hector Sanchez.

> With that loss aside, here’s some other news involving the Crew…

> Marcum took his third consecutive no-decision today, and his record remains 1-1. In other words, the Brewers wasted yet another quality start from him (six innings, three runs, five hits, three strikeouts).

> Alex Gonzalez is headed to the DL with a knee injury. It shouldn’t be anything season ending, but he follows Chris Narveson, Mat Gamel, and Carlos Gomez to the DL.

> Taylor Green was called up yesterday, and made his first start today, batting seventh. He went 1-for-5 with a double that would have been a home run almost anywhere else. But it’ll be interesting to see if he starts again tomorrow.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will go home to face the Reds tomorrow, with the pitching match-up being Yovani Gallardo (1-3, 5.79 ERA) vs. Bronson Arroyo (1-1, 3.03 ERA). Gallardo threw a 13-strikeout, six-inning gem in his last start against the Reds (September of last year), but, other than that, his numbers against them aren’t so good.

As you can see, I tried a bit of a different article format today. This was meant to make it a more brief post, simply because I’m having trouble finding time to dedicate to full-out articles. It didn’t really work out this time, but from here on out I’ll hopefully just re-cap the game, briefly talk about a few pieces of news, and preview the pitching match-up for the next day. I hopefully only have to do this for a month until school lets out, but my schedule is pretty busy until then.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


After blowing giant lead, Brewers rally against Isringhausen

August 21, 2011

6:37p The Brewers streak of great pitching ended today, but, their offense came to life when they needed it most.

Brewers-Mets Wrap-Up

The Brewers pulled one out today against the Mets, 11-9, in back-and-forth game where both teams made incredible comebacks. Randy Wolf, who was seemingly cruising early on and being backed by multiple home runs, ran into trouble in the seventh, and the bullpen failed to pick him up. Wolf went 6 1/3 innings while giving up five runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out three. But, the story of the day was the offense.

The Brewers jumped on Mets starter (and ex-Brewers) Chris Capuano in the first inning, when Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer to give the Brewers an early lead. The Mets answered in the bottom of the inning on Jason Bay’s RBI single, but the would be the only tally against Wolf until the seventh.

In the third inning, Prince Fielder crushed a three-run shot off Capuano to extend the Brewers lead to 5-1. The Brewers also got two runs in the sixth on Yuniesky Betancourt’s two-run homer to extend the lead even more. At that point, with the way Wolf was pitching, I thought the game was over. But I was wrong. By a long shot.

The Mets suddenly stormed back in the seventh with a five-run inning. Wolf was removed after giving up two runs in the inning and was replaced by Takashi Saito, but he couldn’t hold down the Mets, either. The lead was cut to 7-6 for the Brewers.

But that wasn’t the end of the Mets incredible rally. Ex-Met Francisco Rodriguez came in to pitch the eighth, and wasn’t exactly given a warm welcome back to Citi Field. But it wasn’t his fault, either. With a guy on first, Josh Thole hit a line drive to center fielder Jerry Hairston. Hairston horribly misjudged the ball, and it bounced off his glove. Thole was given a double for some reason, and the game was tied, 7-7. Then, Angel Pagan, who shouldn’t have even been batting, hit a two-run shot off K-Rod to give the Mets a 9-7 lead.

But, the Brewers, who’ve done a great job of finding ways to win lately, weren’t done yet.

Jason Isringhausen was on for the save, but he struggled with his command right out of the gate. He walked the first two batters, Jonathan Lucroy and Nyjer Morgan, before giving up a single to Corey Hart to load up the bases. Isringhausen would then walk pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay to cut the Brewers deficit to 9-8.

And that would be it for Isringhausen. He left the game without retiring a batter, handing the ball over to Manny Acosta. At least Acosta is able to say he retired a batter.

After inducing a Braun flyout, Acosta gave up a game-tying single to Fielder. Casey McGehee then followed with a go-ahead, two-run single to give the Brewers an 11-9 lead. John Axford would record the save in the bottom of the inning for his 34th consecutive save.

Brewers tie franchise record for division lead

Well, this is definitely a good sign. With the Cardinals being shut out by the Cubs today, the Brewers extended their division lead to 8.5 games, which ties a franchise record for the most games they’ve led a division by. It’s also the largest division lead in baseball, with the Phillies in second in the NL East (7.5 game lead over the Braves).

Cards falling off a bit

With their loss to the Cubs today, the Cardinals have lost back-to-back series to sub-5.00 teams in the Pirates and Cubs. I don’t know if they just aren’t playing well right now or if they’ve accepted the fact that they probably won’t catch the Brewers, but, whatever it may be, it’s helping the Brewers.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series sweep in New York tomorrow in a day game. Yovani Gallardo (13-8, 3.55 ERA) will go for the Crew, and he’s coming off a great start against the Dodgers, in which he gave up a run in eight innings. He had to settle for a no-decision, however. Gallardo is 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA in his career against the Mets, and that one win is a complete game shutout against them in 2010.

The Mets will counter with the knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-11, 3.77 ERA). He’s been victim of low run support all year, as shown by is record and ERA. Dickey is 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA in his career against the Brewers.