Brewers reportedly decline Yuni’s option; full list of free agents

October 31, 2011

I didn’t look much at news today because I was busy, but here was the first thing I saw when I finally did- “Brewers decline Betancourt’s option.” My day was instantly made.

That’s right, Yuniesky Betancourt-haters (including myself). He probably won’t be playing shortstop for the Brewers next year, which means better defense at that position and better offense in the lineup- hopefully.

Betancourt had a pretty bad 2011. But it may have been good for his standards, actually. He hit .252 with 13 home runs and 68 RBI. All of those stats are worse than his 2010 season with the Royals, in which he hit .259 with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Anyway, if you add his 2011 stats to his lazy defense at shortstop, you can see why the Brewers declined his option.

My guess is that Doug Melvin will make a push for Jose Reyes, the Mets’ All-Star shortstop who is now a free agent. His .336 batting average won him the NL batting title (although he technically cheated to get it). Reyes doesn’t hit for much power, but he did lead the NL in triples with 16. His offense, defense, and speed all make him a giant upgrade from Betancourt.

Oh yeah, and the Brewers are also expected to be top contender for lefty starter C.J. Wilson. He went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA as the ace of the Rangers this year, but he had an ugly postseason, as he went 0-3 with an ERA hovering around 7.00. But, he would make a great addition to the Brewers’ rotation, and would probably push lefty Chris Narveson (11-8, 4.45 ERA) back into the bullpen.

And just a couple more things before I move onto my next topic- the Brewers’ declined reliever Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million option, but that was expected, as there was no way the Brewers would have been able to afford that. Also, Dale Sveum is going to be interviewed as one of the possible managerial candidates for the Red Sox. No idea why they’d want him, unless they’ve already given up on next year.

Anyway, onto the next topic. Here is a list of every free agent from every team, with their respective position next to their name:

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP

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Brewers ride big fifth inning past Cards

August 2, 2011

10:56p I think I’ve lost count of how many times Tony Plush has come through in the clutch.

Cardinals-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Cardinals today, 6-2, in the first game of a crucial NL Central clash. The offense didn’t come until late in the game, but at least it came.

The Cardinals wasted no time getting on the board first against Brewers starter Zack Greinke, when Matt Holliday hit a two-run shot in the first inning. After that, Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter cruised through the first four innings, allowing just one hit. But, he ran into some trouble in the fifth inning.

Yuniesky Betancourt led off the inning with a single. Casey McGehee then followed with a single of his own, then Jonathan Lucroy hit yet another single to cut the deficit to 2-1. Then, the play that happened next appeared to completely screw up the Cardinals for the rest of the game.

Zack Greinke laid down a bunt, and appeared to be trying for a safety squeeze to score McGehee from third. It looked like catcher Yadier Molina was going to throw to first to get Greinke out, but it turned out to be a fake so he could get McGehee on his way to home. One issue with that play, however: McGehee stayed at third. So the Cardinals didn’t get any outs, and that proved costly for them, because the two biggest blows of the game came next.

Corey Hart hit an RBI single to score McGehee and tie the game at 2-2. Lucroy, who ended up at third, held up for some reason, but that’s classic Ed Sedar for you. Anyway, that wouldn’t be costly, because Nyjer Morgan, the most clutch player on the team, hit a base-clearing double to give the Brewers a 5-2 lead that they wouldn’t again give up.

Carpenter’s day ended on a low note because of that one inning. He went just five innings while giving up five runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out six.

Greinke’s day also nearly ended on a low note, but he managed to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth. He went six innings while giving up two runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out five.

The Brewers tacked on one more run in the seventh on Ryan Braun’s RBI double, but that would do it for the scoring.

LaTroy Hawkins and Kameron Loe combined to throw three scoreless innings to finish the game and give the Brewers their seventh consecutive win.

Middle innings not kind to Cards

I’m talking about the fifth and sixth innings. They do NOT like the Cardinals so far this year.

The main victim in the sixth this year for the Cards has been starter Jake Westbrook. It seems like he just cruises through the first five innings, then can’t get out of the sixth. Take last night for instance in their loss to the Cubs. Westbrook had a perfect game through the first 5 1/3, then gave up four runs before getting out of the sixth. Now, this sort of makes sense for a guy like Westbrook, who virtually only has one pitch: a sinker. Through the first few innings, he has it down and gets ground ball outs like crazy. Then, in the sixth, one of two things happens: he starters leaving it up in the zone, where a sinker should never be thrown, or hitters start timing it and get better swings at it. Those are the two disadvantages of being a pitcher like Westbrook.

Anyway, Westbrook’s ways appear to be starting to spread among the Cardinals. Carpenter has been having similar issues this year, at least against the Brewers. But, now we know the Cards’ weak point.

Greinke continues success at Miller Park

With his win today, Greinke is now 7-0 in his career at Miller Park (including starts while with the Royals). That means all four of his losses are on the road, so he, like the rest of the Brewers, need to pick it up away from Miller Park. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with Greinke and the Brewers doing well at Miller Park, but the splits for both of them at home and away are crazy.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers play the second game of this crucial series with the Cardinals tomorrow. Shaun Marcum (10-3, 3.33 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and is coming off a solid start against the Cubs. Marcum has one career start against the Cardinals, which was earlier this year. He won that start after going seven innings and giving up three runs.

The Cardinals will counter with Jaime Garcia (10-5, 3.14 ERA), who, like Marcum, is also a 10-game winner. Garcia is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA against the Brewers in his career, including a complete game shutout against them earlier this year in St. Louis.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs defeated the Pirates, 5-3. They are 16.5 and 5.5 games back, respectively. (I’m also going to point out that Derrek Lee hit two home runs in his Pirates debut.)
  • The Astros defeated the Reds in extra innings, 4-3. They are 24.5 games (wow) and 7.5 games back, respectively.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
St. Louis Cardinals 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 0
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0 0 0 5 0 1 0 X 6 11 0

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 5 1 2 1 0 2 0 .274
Nyjer Morgan, CF 5 1 2 3 0 0 2 .324
Ryan Braun, LF 4 0 2 1 0 2 1 .324
Prince Fielder, 1B 2 0 0 0 2 1 1 .294
Felipe Lopez, 2B 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .214
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 3 1 1 0 1 1 4 .256
Casey McGehee, 3B 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 .230
Jonathan Lucroy, C 4 1 1 1 0 2 1 .285
Zack Greinke, P 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 .231
a-Craig Counsell, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .145
b-Mark Kotsay, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .246
Total 35 6 11 6 3 9 14

a-Popped out for Greinke in the 6th.

b-Singled for Hawkins in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Morgan (12), Braun (26).

RBI: Lucroy (44), Hart (35), Morgan 3 (27), Braun (72).

Team RISP: 4-for-11.

Team LOB: 8.

FIELDING

DP: (Lopez-Betancourt-Fielder).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Zack Greinke (W, 9-4) 6.0 7 2 2 1 5 1 4.41
LaTroy Hawkins (H, 16) 2.0 1 0 0 2 1 0 1.89
Kameron Loe 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.24

WP: Hawkins.

Pitches-strikes: Greinke 103-62, Hawkins 27-14, Loe 13-8.

Groundouts-flyouts: Greinke 8-4, Hawkins 3-1, Loe 3-0.

Batters faced: Greinke 25, Hawkins 9, Loe 3.