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.

Advertisements

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.