Greinke latches on with Dodgers

December 9, 2012

> Not like no one saw this coming. The Dodgers, who have infinite pockets of cash, finally wooed Zack Greinke into joining them. Greinke’s deal is for six years and $147 million, which is the richest contract for a right-hander in history, surpassing Matt Cain’s five-year, $112.5 million deal signed back in March. Greinke also slightly passes lefty Cole Hamels, who received six years and $144 million from the Phillies around the Trade Deadline. CC Sabathia’s seven-year, $161 million contract remains the largest contract ever given to a pitcher. 

Greinke will slide into the rotation of what should be a powerhouse Dodgers team. That rotation already features the incumbents, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, followed by a few veterans that LA will have to choose from, including Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang. The Dodgers could have one more starter competing for a spot- Hyun-Jin Ryu- if they sign him by tomorrow’s deadline.

Anyway, I see two possible scenarios for Greinke’s LA tenure. The first- and more likely- is that he’ll take advantage of pitching in the NL West, where the ballparks are significantly larger, and have a ton of success on a Dodgers team that should contend for years to come. The other, however, is that his anxiety issue comes back to haunt him in the huge market of LA, and he can’t handle the stress and publicity of pitching there.

The latter is very unlikely. He did fine in Anaheim, a suburb of LA (but basically the same market), posting a 6-2 record with a 3.53 ERA during his time there. Plus, Greinke doesn’t have the pressure of being the ace of the staff; Kershaw, arguably the best pitcher in the NL, has taken that role.

I wish the best of luck to Greinke in LA; he’s a guy who’s easy to root for. I don’t want the Dodgers to do well as a team because of how they’ve set up themselves up financially, but that doesn’t mean Greinke himself can’t have a good season.

Greinke2

> Now that Greinke is off the market, the Brewers’ chances of signing Ryan Dempster have increased. Had Greinke signed with the Rangers, the Dodgers would have probably overpaid a second-tier pitcher like Dempster. But, now that Greinke has gone to LA, it’s unlikely the Rangers are going to bring Dempster back after what he did for them last year.

> I keep forgetting to mention this, but I saw a headline the other day that read: “Yount shoots Sveum.” My immediate first thought was that Hall-of-Famer Robin Yount took some sort of shot- figuratively- at current Cubs manager Dale Sveum.

Nope. Yount literally shot Sveum with a gun while they were on a hunting trip. It wasn’t fatal or anything- one of the pellets from Yount’s rifle grazed Sveum’s ear while he was shooting at a quail.

But this made my day: Sveum started calling Yount “Dick Cheney” after the incident.

> Minor moves: 

Phillies: Acquired Michael Young from the Rangers.
Rangers: Acquired Josh Lindblom and Lisalverto Bonilla from the Phillies.
Mariners: Designated Mauricio Robles for assignment.


Greinke K’s 12 as Brewers return favor to Cubs

June 7, 2012

> After how terrible last night’s game turned out, today’s game was unbelievable.

> A day after being embarrassingly shut out 10-0 by one of the worst teams in the National League, the Brewers came back and defeated the Cubs, 8-0. The story of the night was Zack Greinke, who, you could argue, had the best start of his Brewers tenure. The Brewers’ offense also broke out for five runs against Cubs starter Paul Maholm to show that it hasn’t completely disappeared yet.

But first I’ll talk about Greinke’s gem. He went seven innings while giving up just two hits. He walked two and struck out 12, a new Brewers-high for him. Like I said, you could make the argument that this was the best stuff he’s ever had as a Brewer, but there was also his eight inning of two-hit ball against the Reds back at the beginning of May. He struck out 11 in that start. But Greinke once again continued his home dominance, improving to 15-0 at Miller Park.

The Brewers got on the board first in the fourth inning on Ryan Braun’s RBI single. Cody Ransom followed that with an RBI double. Then, Brooks Conrad, who has acquired a batting average since I last posted, hit a broken bat two-RBI single to cap off a four-run fourth inning. The Brewers also tacked on another run in the fifth on a Corey Hart sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the eighth, Taylor Green was pinch-hitting for the pitcher’s spot in the lineup, and it paid off. He hit his first career home run- a three-run shot- off of Carlos Marmol, who hung him a slider. That pretty much finished off the Brewers’ blowout of the Cubs; nearly the exact opposite of what happened last night.

> The 2012 First-Year Player Draft came to a close today. The highlights of the Brewers’ picks came in the first round and the compensation round. They took catcher Clint Coulter as the 27th pick overall, outfielder Victor Roache as 28th overall, and outfielder Mitch Haniger in the compensation round. All three of these guys are considered big bats, and that was the Brewers’ focus this draft. After snatching up good pitching in last year’s draft (Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley), they wanted to replenish their Minor League system, which is lacking consistent power hitters at the moment.

Another highlight was that the Brewers took manager Ron Roenicke’s son, outfielder Lance Roenicke, in the draft. But that was a common theme in the NL Central: the Cardinals took Mike Matheny’s son, and the Cubs took ex-Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum’s son.

> Other than that, there wasn’t much news today. But, school officially finished for me today, which means I’ll be able to get back to posting here on BW a lot more consistently. Even since school started back in September I’ve been pretty on and off as far as posting goes, but I’m going to try and post every day throughout the summer.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 6.05 ERA) to the mound, and he’s having the definition of a terrible season. But, one of his best starts of the season came against the Cubs back in May: six shutout innings.

The Cubs will counter with Matt Garza (2-4, 4.10 ERA), who the Brewers have struggled a lot against recently. But Garza has had his own struggles as of late, with his ERA ballooning up over 4.00 in his past few starts.

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


Aoki on board with two-year pact

January 18, 2012

> A few hours after their deadline to sign the Japanese outfielder, the Brewers announced that they’ve struck a two-year deal with Norichika Aoki. The deal’s base salary has yet to be announced (at least I haven’t seen it), but it’s reportedly full of incentives that can be earned by certain milestones, I’m guessing.

Aoki joins an outfield that currently consists of Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Carlos Gomez, and Nyjer Morgan. Five outfielders is typically too many, but we don’t know if Braun will be on the field for the first 50 games of the season, so Aoki provides some depth if that doesn’t go over well. It was also reported that Ron Roenicke has also contacted Hart about playing some first base- his natural position- next year. Right now, first base is expected to be vacated by Mat Gamel. But who knows- they could split time there, with Gamel being a lefty and Hart a righty.

Anyway, back to Aoki. According to Doug Melvin, Aoki said that he “never asked about playing time, he’s just confident that he can come over and show us his skill set.” Now that’s what I like to hear. At least we know he’s not like Hideki Irabu, who demanded to be sent to the Yankees after signing out of Japan with the Padres.

Aoki also has a mantle full of awards that he’s won in Japan. He has multiple batting titles, Gold Gloves, and All-Star appearances. Obviously, the Japanese league is considered the equivalent of a Triple-A team in the MLB, but still, those are some great achievements that give me confidence in him.

To go along with those awards, he’s a career .329 hitter in eight professional seasons, with 84 home runs and 385 RBIs, along with 364 stolen bases. The numbers show he isn’t really a power hitter, but he’s definitely got speed.

Overall, based on what I’ve heard so far, I’m excited to see this guy play in the Majors, and hopefully this deal works out for the best.

> Here’s something no one expected- the Brewers and Francisco Rodriguez agreed to a one-year deal today, avoiding arbitration. Well, I guess that was expected, but did you expect him to take a pay cut? That’s right, he signed for just $8 million. Normally, that’s a lot. But, when Rodriguez was expected to make somewhere in the vicinity of $13-14 million, then it doesn’t seem like so much.

Who knows how he’ll react to this on the field, taking a pay cut to do a job he doesn’t even want to do. But maybe he finally came to his senses and wants to do what’s best to contend.

On another arbitration note, the Brewers also avoided arbitration with Kameron Loe, signing the righty to a one-year deal worth $2.175 million. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’d know that I’m not Loe’s biggest fan, but I’m fine with this, I guess.

> Craig Counsell is coming back to the Brewers next year. No, not as the utility man he’s been over the past few years, but as the special assistant to the GM Melvin in the front office.

Yep, Counsell decided to call it a career after hitting just .178 in 2011, including an 0-for-45 streak that was just tough to watch. He still thought about deals for playing for a Major League team, but the deals he was offered never went beyond a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training. It was also reported that Dale Sveum asked him to be the Cubs’ first base coach, but Counsell said that the “timing wasn’t right.”

Counsell was a career .255 hitter in 16 seasons, six of which came with the Brewers. He’s also got two World Series rings- one with the Marlins, and one with the Diamondbacks.

I’m glad he decided to take a job with the Brewers. Counsell’s a true class act, and he’ll always be one of my favorite players who donned a Brewers uniform.

> And that’s it. I’m starting to realize that not much is going to happen the rest of the offseason that’s significant to the Brewers (other than the Braun situation and where Prince Fielder will end up), so, starting tomorrow, assuming there’s no big news, I’m going to start a series of articles reviewing the 2012 starting rotations in the NL Central. I don’t know which team I’ll do first, but, for some reason, I’m thinking I’ll do the Cubs or the Astros- two rotations I doubt will be successful in 2012.

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


Brewers hire another Narron to be hitting coach

November 29, 2011

> This isn’t exactly the situation I expected as far as the Brewers’ search for a hitting coach goes.

> The Brewers have hired another Narron to be part of the coaching staff- Johnny Narron. He will take over Dale Sveum‘s place as hitting coach, and will be “reunited,” so to speak, with his brother (and Brewers bench coach) Jerry Narron.

Johnny is most famous for turning Rangers All-Star Josh Hamilton into the player he is today, from the days Hamilton was with the Reds. I’m hoping he can do the same for a couple struggling Brewers, such as Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt (if he comes back, which I’ve heard he might).

And I don’t know what it is about the Brewers and the Narrons. The Brewers also have a Minor League pitcher- Sam Narron, who I think is the nephew of Jerry (or something along those lines).

> The Astros are apparently trying to revamp their front office. That started today, as the released president Tal Smith and GM Ed Wade. But, it’s just one of those situations where something has to be done after an awful season.

And it wasn’t only Smith and Wade. Last week, Drayton McLane handed the Astros over to Jim Crane. So, by the beginning of next year, the Astros’ front office is going to look completely different- just in time for their move to the AL West.

> The Cardinals are discovering that more and more teams aren’t going to be contenders for free agent Albert Pujols. It’s been reported that they aren’t going to bump up their offer to him, which is supposedly for nine years and around $210 million. And they shouldn’t. Bidding against yourself for the best free agent on the market doesn’t sound very logical to me.

The only other “serious” contenders for Pujols are the Marlins. But honestly, can you see Pujols in a Marlins’ uniform?

> And that’s about it for today. Not much news (and not much to say about the news that there is), but, assuming there isn’t any tomorrow, I should have an article-style post up tomorrow. Anyway, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


And the slow offseason continues.

November 28, 2011

> As far as baseball goes, this has been one of the most boring weeks I’ve had in awhile.

> The Brewers made absolutely no roster moves, not even minor ones, which has left me with absolutely nothing to post about. And, on top of that, none of the major free agents- or even minor ones- signed with teams this week, also leaving me with nothing to post about. A few days ago, I attempted to come with my own topic, which was talking about whether or not five-tool catchers exist. Personally, I thought it was a good idea. But, judging by the amount of feedback (there wasn’t any), it must not have gone over well.

> I tend not to post about minor moves of other teams on here, but, since I can’t come up with any of my own material at the moment, I’m kind of forced to. So, here’s a list of those moves made over the past couple of days.

> Freddy Garcia is returning to the Yankees. The Yankees signed the right-hander to a Minor League deal last offseason as a last resort because they missed out on Cliff Lee, and Garcia responded by going 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA. In my opinion, the Yankees may have gotten lucky with him last year, but we’ll see how it goes over this time around.

> The Red Sox managerial search is reportedly down to two candidates- Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont, both of whom are veterans with prior managing experience in the Majors. The Sox were interested in getting former Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum, but he opted to become the manager of the Cubs.

> Neftali Feliz is moving into the Rangers’ rotation. And no, it apparently didn’t have anything to do with the fact that he blew a save after being one strike away from sealing the Rangers’ first World Series title. Anyway, the Rangers signed former Twins closer Joe Nathan to a two-year deal a few days ago, which forces Feliz out of the spot.

> Oh, and one non-baseball related topic- the NBA lockout supposedly ended yesterday morning. Not that I care, but I’d like to point out that this 149-day lockout made me realize how many people don’t care about basketball. I didn’t hear one person complain for the entire lockout. Which made me feel good, knowing that I’m not the only who could care less about a bunch of show-boating “stars.” I know people say that baseball is losing popularity (which it really isn’t), but there are probably still more baseball fans than basketball fans.

By the way, the NBA season starts on Christmas day. Classic.

> And that’s about all the major minor moves (if that makes any sense) of the past few days. Feel free to leave your thoughts, if you have any. In the meantime, I’m going to try and come up with my own material for the next few days, because, if the first few weeks have been an indicator, it’s going to be a pretty boring offseason.


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.


News from MLB over the past few days…

November 20, 2011

> There really hasn’t been much news in baseball over the past few days, which is why you didn’t see a post last night. So, here’s a bit of a recap of what’s happened, but it isn’t much…

> The biggest piece of news was Matt Kemp signing an eight-year deal with the Dodgers. There were rumors that the Dodgers were close to signing Kemp earlier this week, but it was just finalized yesterday.

Kemp had an unbelievable season in 2011, hitting .324 with 39 home runs and 126 RBIs. He also had 41 stolen bases, making him a 30/30 player, and nearly a 40/40 player. He and Ryan Braun are the two top contenders for the NL MVP this year, which is going to be announced on Monday.

> Carlos Zambrano was hit in the face by a line drive today during a winter ball start in Venezuela today. Apparently, he was having his best start since he started pitching this fall, but needed to exit the game after being hit.

So you can add yet another chapter to the odd career of the usually-psychotic Cubs pitcher. It seems like every possible negative thing in baseball that can happen to a player happens to Zambrano. Most of the time, it’s his fault, but this time it isn’t.

Zambrano is in winter ball because he missed the last month and a half of the 2011 season after being placed on the restricted list by the Cubs. This all started because he threw inside multiple times to Chipper Jones in a start against the Braves, in which he was getting crushed and was letting his frustration out. He was ejected, and while the benches cleared and his team was fighting for him, Zambrano simply walked off the field laughing. He then walked into the clubhouse, cleaned out his locker, and told the reporters that he was going to retire.

That may have been the break the Cubs were looking for, but, of course, Zambrano didn’t follow through with it.

In reaction to this performance, the Cubs placed Zambrano on the restricted list, as I mentioned earlier, which makes a player ineligible to be around the team or be paid for 3o days. Even after Zambrano’s time on the restricted list was finished (wow, sounded like he was in jail when I put it like that), he didn’t return to the team.

Anyway, that’s the story. Zambrano was having a crappy season as it was, definitely the worst of his career. It was the first time he had an ERA over 4.00, but still posted a winning record. Theo Epstein has announced that Zambrano is going to have to “work his way back” to get a spot on the Cubs’ roster next year, but I think we all know that he’s probably going to be there anyway.

> The Blue Jays have announced that they’re going to have a new logo for next year, and they’re basing it off their traditional logo. Which is awesome, because that Blue Jays logo is my second favorite logo in MLB history (only to the Brewers retro glove logo). Hopefully, it gives them some luck to win the AL East (or at least the Wild Card).

> The Twins signed catcher Ryan Doumit to a two-year deal, which pretty much means they’re expecting Joe Mauer to get injured at this point. Can you blame them?

Anyway, the Brewers had seen Doumit, the former Pirates’ catcher, a lot over the past few years. He tended to be a Brewers-killer, so it’s good that he’ll be out of the league.

> Dale Sveum has been officially named the Cubs’ new manager. You can read my post the other day about my take on that, because it would be a waste of time for me to do it again right here.

> Onto some minor Brewers moves from yesterday and today.

> The Brewers have added four prospects to their 40-man roster yesterday. They are outfielder Caleb Gindl, first baseman Brock Kjeldgaard, right-handed pitcher Santo Manzanillo, and third baseman Zelous Wheeler. With these additions, the Brewers’ 40-man roster stands at 35. And, because these players were added to the roster, they can’t be taken by other teams in the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

> I noticed the other day that Yovani Gallardo came in seventh place in the NL Cy Young Award voting. That has to be the best any Brewers’ pitcher has done in the voting in years. Gallardo wasn’t quite good enough to win, but his win total and strikeouts probably put him in the race (17-10, 3.52 ERA, 207 strikeouts in 207 innings were his overall numbers).

> And that’s about all I’ve got right now. But, before I go, I just want to explain something new that I might be doing on this blog soon.

With the lack of news around MLB some days, I’m finding myself with nothing to post about. That’s happened to me twice over the past week, and definitely isn’t helping this blog get any more popular. So, I’m thinking about writing about things in Brewers’ history on days that there isn’t much news. By “things,” I mean historical seasons, players, events, top 10 players at a certain position, and so on. I think that would be something good to mix it up once in awhile, because up to now I’ve really just been blogging about news. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I love doing it, but I just want to try something different.

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


Sveum to be Cubs’ new manager…

November 18, 2011

> Starting tomorrow, the Brewers will need to search for a new hitting coach. Unfortunately, the circumstances behind this are worse than I thought they would be.

> The Cubs have hired Dale Sveum as their new manager. Sveum had been on the Brewers’ coaching staff since 2006, and most recently served as the hitting coach. He has little managerial experience at the Major League level, managing the last 12 games of the 2008 season to get the Brewers into the playoffs after Ned Yost was fired.

There are two reasons I’m not particularly happy with this. First off, it’s the Cubs, which speaks for itself. But, the second (and much worse) reason is that Sveum knows the Brewers’ hitters very well, having worked with them as the hitting coach over the past few years. This could make the divisional match-ups with the Cubs tough for the Brewers, if Sveum has the Cubs pitchers pitch the Brewers the right way (which, if you haven’t noticed by now, is keep throwing sliders down and away).

But, pitching is the Cubs’ weakness, as they had problems in both their rotation and bullpen last year. And I doubt Sveum knows the first thing about pitching, which is probably a good thing.

> Anyway, onto some other Brewers news. Since I couldn’t post last night because of my bad Internet connection, you may see some of yesterday’s news as well.

> The Brewers are apparently in the mix for free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who has played for the Phillies for the past few years. I definitely didn’t see this coming, but I guess nearly anything is an upgrade from Yuniesky Betancourt.

I’ve heard that Rollins, who is 32, is looking for a five-year deal.

Wait, a five-year deal?

Jimmy, let’s return to reality for a second: there isn’t a chance that you’re getting a five-year deal. Not only is Rollins 32 years old, but he’s also on a decline in his career. His numbers weren’t awful in 2011- 16 homers, 63 RBIs, and a .268 batting average- but at the same time, it’s much worse than the MVP candidate he used to be. Plus, his defense is getting a little sluggish, which isn’t something the Brewers need.

So I guess I’ll just say that I don’t want the Brewers to sign Rollins. If it happens, I probably wouldn’t care too much because his name isn’t Yuniesky Betancourt. But he isn’t getting a five-year deal with any team, no matter what- that’s a fact.

> Doug Melvin announced today that he’s interested in extending starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, both of whom were acquired in trades prior to the 2011 season. Both Greinke and Marcum’s contracts end after next year, so now would probably be the best time to extend them both.

Greinke went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA in 2011. That 3.83 ERA actually wasn’t bad, considering his ERA at the All-Star break was 5.66, and he had a great second half. But, the one thing I wasn’t too impressed with was that he never finished the eighth inning in any of his starts. Part of that is because Ron Roenicke appears to hate complete games (and other long starts in general), but still. Greinke was a horse with the Royals, and he needs to be with the Brewers as well.

But, the first step for him next year will be not playing any pickup basketball during Spring Training.

Marcum, on the other hand, left a bad taste in Brewers fans’ mouths with has awful postseason performance, but he actually had a great year. He went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA, and that ERA had been lower until a bad September in which his ERA was 5.17. But, if he can clear his mind this offseason, he should be able to rebound and get back to form next year. And to all the haters- he is not the next Jeff Suppan. There isn’t one pitcher on the Brewers right now that I would compare to Suppan (and that includes Kameron Loe, which is going pretty far for me).

> And that’s about all the Brewers news. But, before I go, here’s some surprising news that MLB released today…

> There could be two Wild Cards for each league as early as 2012. This change wasn’t expected until 2013 at the earliest, but there’s Bud Selig for you. Anyway, this means that there would be a one-game playoff between the two Wild Card teams to see who gets to play a division winner.

> The Astros have agreed to move to the AL West, probably in 2013. This would even out the leagues at 15 teams each, but there would also have to be an Interleague game every day.

And this is more classic Selig. So he moves the Brewers from the AL to the NL in 1998, only to move the Astros from the NL to the AL in 2012. Doesn’t make much sense, but I guess I’m happy the Brewers are in the NL instead of AL.

> Oh, and Clayton Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award. That was pretty much a given since he won the Triple Crown. But, so far I’ve gotten all of my major award predictions right. Hopefully that continues….

> And that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave thoughts, if you have any.


Brewers’ coaching staff all invited back for 2012

November 9, 2011

> Today was just another typical day in the 2011 offseason thus far- the Brewers had close to no news to talk about. I get it, it’s still early on, so not many huge moves are going to be made yet. But honestly, it’s every blogger’s nightmare to have nothing to write about…

> The Brewers did stir a little today, though- they announced that the entire coaching staff has been invited back to serve under Ron Roenicke for the 2012 season. So that means at least bench coach Jerry Narron, pitching coach Rick Kranitz, bullpen coach Stan Kyles, third base coach Ed Sedar, first base coach Garth Iorg, and “eye in the sky” John Shelby will be back.

The only question mark on the Brewers’ coaching staff for 2012 is hitting coach Dale Sveum, who has interviewed for the job of manager in both Boston and the north side of Chicago. Sveum has been passed over twice for the managerial role for the Brewers, first after serving as the interim manager for 12 games in 2008, then before this year, when Roenicke was hired.

But, for some reason, I have a feeling that Sveum isn’t going to be back next year. He clearly wants to manage, and this is probably his best chance.

Anyway, with that aside, onto the Hot Stove news…

> The Phillies are apparently close to a deal with closer Ryan Madson. Reports are saying that they’re working on a four-year, $44 million contract for the veteran reliever.

This offseason’s theme must be to overpay relief pitchers as much as possible. Just the other day, the Giants signed Javier Lopez to a two-year deal worth $8.5 million, and picked up Jeremy Affeldt’s $5 million option. And now we see the Phillies pouring it on Madson. In my opinion, especially with a veteran like Madson, it’s better to sign him to a short-term deal (1-2 years). But apparently they haven’t been paying attention to the closing collapses of Trevor Hoffman, Jonathan Broxton, and Ryan Franklin. Honestly, it seems like they can just lose it overnight nowadays.

> Terry Francona interviewed for the Cardinals’ managerial vacancy today. I expected this, and everyone else probably did, too. Francona was cut loose by the Red Sox after their historical September collapse that cost them the postseason, despite the fact it wasn’t his fault- it was the guys having fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse’s fault.

Anyway, Francona is still a great manager, and the Cards probably want someone exactly like him to fill in the void left by a future Hall of Fame manager.

> I’ve recently been hearing that the Nationals and Marlins, the two teams sulking at the bottom of the NL East, are interested in pretty much every big name free agent on the market. The Nationals are reportedly showing interest in Tsuyoshi Wada (a Japanese starting pitcher), Yoennis Cespedes (a defected Cuban outfielder), C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Oswalt, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder, and Albert Pujols (as unlikely as it is to happen). And the Marlins are interested in most of the same players.

But every big name free agent is going to want to sign with a team that will have to compete with the Phillies every year in the East, right?

> So yeah, another slow news day. But, before I go, I have one thing to announce about the blog itself- we’re now part of El Maquino’s correspondents, something he started today to try and get news about every MLB team in one place. There’s going to be one representative (or more, I guess I don’t know yet) blogger for each team, and I’ve got the Brewers. So I’m looking forward to becoming part of that.

> Anyhow, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts/comments, if you’ve got any.


Looking back at the first week of 2011’s offseason

November 7, 2011

> The first week of the 2011 MLB offseason was rather quiet, with none of the top free agents reaching agreements with new teams (or the ones they were already with). But I guess that wasn’t expected. Anyway, despite this, there were a lot of minor moves, with some more significant than others, and later in this article I’ll try to go through every move made. But, before that, there is one Brewers-related piece of news that I should probably share.

> Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed for the Cubs’ managerial vacancy tomorrow. Ugh.

Over the past few days, Sveum has been considered the front-runner to become the new Red Sox manager, but nothing has been confirmed. And now he’s going to have a chance to become the Cubs’ manager, a team he has seen up close and personally for quite a few years now as the Brewers’ hitting coach.

So the reason I said “ugh” earlier is because, no matter who it is, I find it painful to see someone from a team I like leave for a team I hate. For instance, I was crushed a few years back when Brett Favre left the Packers for the Jets, and eventually the Vikings- a team I despise. (That is, until I figured out what a loser Favre was under the surface, but you still get the point.) Anyway, I’d be happy for Sveum no matter where he goes (if he does end up managing), but let me say I’d be much happier if he went to the Red Sox instead of the Cubs.

> But, with that aside, let’s get to all the moves that occurred during this first week of the Hot Stove. I guess I didn’t realize how much I didn’t cover on BreakingWI, but here’s my chance to redeem myself.

> Frank McCourt agreed with MLB to sell the Dodgers, and hopefully put this divorce-bankruptcy crap behind him and the franchise. The Dodgers suffered that for far too long, and hopefully whoever ends up being the team can right that ship.

> The long expected CC Sabathia opt-out never actually happened, as the Yankees managed to retain him by adding an extra year, worth $25 million, to his already-remaining for years on the seven-year deal he signed back in 2008 (after he left the Brewers). So much for that… I was looking forward to him sticking it up the Yankees’… Er, maybe I shouldn’t go there.

> The Indians acquired 15-year veteran starting pitcher Derek Lowe from the Braves. Lowe has definitely been on a decline in recent years, but the Indians hope his veteran presence can anchor their very young rotation.

> The Phillies successfully signed designated hitter Jim Thome to a one-year deal worth $1.225 million. Oh, wait, they’re a National League team… Apparently they expect him to play a little first base and be a power lefty off the bench, but I can’t see this deal working out very well.

> Cards manager Tony La Russa decided to retire after 33 seasons as a Major League manager. He definitely went out on top, that’s for sure…

> Davey Johnson is going to be the Nationals’ manager in 2012 as well, after picking up where Jim Riggleman left off midway through the 2011 season.

> The Giants exercised their option on lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and also signed fellow lefty reliever Javier Lopez to a two-year deal.

> The Dodgers re-signed Juan Rivera to a one-year deal worth $4.5 million after acquiring him from the Blue Jays halfway through the 2011 season.

> The Cubs exercised their half of the option on third baseman Aramis Ramirez, but Ramirez declined his half, thus becoming a free agent.

> The Nationals re-signed starter Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year deal, following three seasons full of injuries- two of which he didn’t even pitch at all. But, before that, he was a dominant starting pitcher for the Yankees.

> The Diamondbacks made a few signings on and off the field, as they locked up shortstop John McDonald with a two-year, $3 million deal, along with a one-year deal worth $1.2 million for catcher Henry Blanco. They also extended GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson, both of whom completely turned around what looked to be another disappointing season coming in.

> The Brewers declined their $17.5 million option on Francisco Rodriguez, which was inherited from the Mets. They also declined a $6 million option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (HOORAY!).

> The Mets pretty much came out and said that they’re not going to be able to retain shortstop Jose Reyes. Not that I’m surprised, but it’s sort of odd that they’d come out and say it like that.

> The Braves have announced that they would trade starter Jair Jurrjens and outfielder/second baseman Martin Prado, if given a good enough deal. Right now, the Royals look like the best destination, at least for Jurrjens.

> The Giants are willing to trade starter Jonathan Sanchez. Not sure who would want that walk-machine, unless they really need starting pitching.

> The Cardinals declined their options  on shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel. That was surprising to some (including me).

> The Red Sox picked up their $6 million option on shortstop Marco Scutaro.

> The Nationals appear to be in the running for starter Roy Oswalt, whose option was declined by the Phillies prior to the World Series.

> It sounds like the Phillies are literally dying for Michael Cuddyer, which means they’ll probably have him. But that would pretty much nullify the Thome deal, because Cuddyer could play a similar role, but is so much more versatile.

> The Diamondbacks declined options on starter Zach Duke, second baseman Aaron Hill, and shortstop Willie Bloomquist, but are probably open to re-signing Hill and Bloomquist.

> The Blue Jays picked up their option on outfielder Edwin Encarnacion, but declined their option on reliever Jon Rauch.

> The Royals picked up their $6 million option on closer Joakim Soria, who is coming off a horrible 2011. But, prior to that, he was one of the top closers in the game.

> The Reds picked up their option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but declined the option on closer Francisco Cordero.

> The Padres declined options on starter Aaron Harang, reliever Chad Qualls, and first baseman Brad Hawpe. I thought it was interesting that they didn’t pick up Harang’s option, because he actually quietly put up a good season.

> The Rays exercised their option  on starter James Shields and closer Kyle Farnsworth, while declining both of those pitchers’ batterymate, Kelly Shoppach.

> Mariners closer David Aardsma, who did not pitch at all in 2011 due to an injury from 2010, has elected free agency. Whichever team that signs him will probably have to wait until at least June for his services in the Majors, however, as he’s still recovering from the injury.

> The White Sox picked up their option on reliever Jason Frasor, who they acquired from the Blue Jays at the Trade Deadline.

> The Indians exercised their option on starter Fausto Carmona, but declined the option on the injury-plagued center fielder Grady Sizemore.

> The Pirates declined options on catcher Ryan Doumit, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, catcher Chris Snyder, and starter Paul Maholm. I thought they should have kept Maholm at least, because he’s good- just doesn’t get run support. But they can do whatever the want to keep themselves from having their first winning season since 1992, for all I care…

> The Rockies declined their option on starter Aaron Cook. That was definitely expected, as he’s been injury-plagued and ineffective over the past two years.

> Lastly, the Rangers exercised their option on Japanese reliever Yoshinori Tateyama.

Well, that took awhile, but thanks for reading. Feel free to leave thoughts on these moves, if you have any.