Hamilton, Dempster wiped off the market

December 15, 2012

> For the second straight offseason, the Angels have picked up the best hitter on the market with a sneaky deal that no one saw coming. Following a year in which they gave Albert Pujols a 10-year, $254 million deal, they handed out another huge contract to Josh Hamilton, this one for five years and $175 million. 

If you told me you saw this coming, I’d call you a liar. Their outfield seemed set with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Peter Bourjos, a young core that could last them a long time. But, much to the chagrin of their division rival Rangers, they went out and stole the best free agent on the market, and will insert Hamilton into one of those outfield slots (likely Bourjos’).

It was speculated all offseason that the Brewers had interest in Hamilton, and there were articles as recent as December 6th saying that Milwaukee would make a run at him. But, realistically, the Brewers were never going to get him, especially at his price tag.

Anyway, the Angels’ lineup now looks something like this: Trout, Erick Aybar, Pujols, Hamilton, Kendrys Morales, Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, and Chris Iannetta.

Looks like Los Angeles is the new New York.

Hamilton

> The Brewers’ top starting starting pitching target, Ryan Dempster, was also taken away, as the Red Sox wooed him with a two-year, $26.5 million deal. Apparently, the Brewers were willing to give Dempster two years plus an option for a third, but they didn’t come close to what Boston was offering cash-wise. Anyway, I don’t see Dempster doing well in the American League after what he did for the Rangers last year, but that was his choice.

With Dempster off the market, the likelihood of the Brewers bringing in a free agent starter this offseason decreased by a lot. The rest of the crop is either too Jeff Suppan-like or won’t fit the Brewers financial situation. The next best option after Dempster would be Edwin Jackson, but that would only happen if he would be willing to take a one-year or two-year deal. If the reports of Jackson wanting a four or five-year deal are true, then the odds of him coming to Milwaukee aren’t very good.

But, as I’ve been saying, it isn’t the end of the world if the Brewers don’t bring in a new starter for 2013. I’m completely fine with them staying in-house and using the prospects who are big league-ready. If that is the case, the ideal rotation for the Brewers would be Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Chris Narveson, Wily Peralta, and Mike Fiers. While that seems like a relatively inexperienced rotation to someone who doesn’t watch the Brewers everyday, I think the Brewers will get by, especially with the best offensive lineup in the National League backing them up.

> One more major signing: the Tigers finalized a deal with Anibal Sanchez, who nearly went to the Cubs, this morning. The Cubs reportedly had a five-year, $75 million deal in place with Sanchez as recent as last night, but the Tigers were given the opportunity to counter the offer, and wound up getting him back.

Sanchez was one of the starters who the Brewers probably wouldn’t have been able to afford, but at least it’s good that the division rival Cubs won’t get him.

> Doug Melvin basically said that he doesn’t want Shaun Marcum back.

> The Brewers have been linked to Mike Adams, one of the better relievers on the market, recently. But Tom Haudricourt considers them out of the hunt for him. Adams started his career with the Brewers, pitching for them from 2004 to 2006.

> Long-time Brewers farmhand Amaury Rivas has signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. He was always one of my favorite minor league pitchers for the Brewers, but I figured he’d be gone at some point.

> Minor moves: 

Rangers: Signed Brandon Snyder to a minor league deal; outrighted Konrad Schmidt to Triple-A.
Padres: Signed Juan Oramas, Sean O’Sullivan, Gregorio Petit, and Rene Rivera to minor league deals; acquired Chris Rearick from the Rays.
Twins: Signed ex-Brewer Brandon Boggs, Ray Olmedo, Bryan Augenstein, Reynaldo Rodriguez, Scott Earlton, Virgil Vasquez, Mike O’Connor, and Jason Lane to minor league deals.
Giants: Signed Andres Torres to a one-year deal; signed Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal.
Braves: Signed Ramiro Pena to a one-year deal.
Rockies: Signed Tommy Manzella to a minor league deal.
Mets: Re-signed Manny Acosta to a one-year deal.
Yankees: Signed Bobby Wilson and Gil Velasquez to minor league deals; designated Josh Spence for assignment.
Cardinals: Signed Alex Reyes to a minor league deal; signed Ty Wigginton to a two-year deal.
Nationals: Signed Neivy Pilier and Brian Bocock to minor league deals.
Rays: Acquired Vince Belnome from the Padres.
Phillies: Signed Andres Blanco, Josh Fields, Cesar Jimenez, Steven Lerud, Michael Martinez, Zach Miner, Jermaine Mitchell, Pete Orr, and Humberto Quintero to minor league deals; claimed Mauricio Robles off waivers from the Mariners.
Royals: Signed Xavier Nady to a minor league deal.

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Transactions from the past few days

November 29, 2012

> Gord Ash has announced that adding arms– whether they be starters or relievers- is going to be the priority for the Brewers at this year’s Winter Meetings.

> Josh Prince was named to the Arizona Fall League Prospects Team.

> According to Buster Olney, the Brewers are still bidders for Josh Hamilton. But, if his price reaches anywhere around $214 million- the amount Prince Fielder got last offseason- Olney doesn’t think the Brewers will sign him.

> The Braves overpayed B.J. Upton with a five-year contract for $75.25 million. On the bright side, that means they’re out of the running for Hamilton.

> The Angels signed Ryan Madson to a one-year deal to be their closer. He could have been an option for the Brewers, but it would have been a risk, seeing as Madson didn’t pitch at all last year due to Tommy John surgery.

> Yet another relatively mediocre reliever has been signed to a multi-year deal. This time, the Reds gave Jonathan Broxton a three-year, $21 million deal. This means it will only be tougher for the Brewers to bring in a reliever.

> One more relief note: it’s been reported that the Giants are probably going to non-tender Brian Wilson. But he’s one guy who I want to stay away from the Brewers.

> Minor moves: 

Reds: Re-signed Todd Redmond to a one-year deal.
Mets: Re-signed Tim Byrdak to a minor league deal; acquired Brandon Hicks from the Athletics.
Yankees: Designated Eli Whiteside for assignment; re-signed Andy Pettitte to a one-year deal.
Red Sox: Outrighted Ivan De Jesus off their 40-man roster; signed David Carpenter and Jose De La Torre to minor league deals.
Cubs: Signed Scott Feldman to a one-year deal; designated Casey Coleman for assignment.
Orioles: Signed Logan Mahon and Chase Johnson to minor league deals; acquired Danny Valencia from the Red Sox; designated Joe Mahoney for assignment.
Giants: Signed Omar Javier and Guillermo Quiroz to minor league deals.
Twins: Signed Jeff Clement to a minor league deal.
Phillies: Signed Brandon Erbe, Humberto Quintero, and Pete Orr to minor league deals; acquired Wilton Lopez from the Astros.
Astros: Signed Edgar Gonzalez, Trevor Crowe, Sergio Escalona, and Jose Valdez to minor league deals.
Diamondbacks: Signed Mark Teahen to a minor league deal.
Nationals: Signed Bobby Bramhall to a minor league deal.
Indians: Designated Rafael Perez for assignment; added Nick Hagadone to their 40-man roster.
Pirates: Acquired Zach Stewart from the Red Sox; acquired Vin Mazzaro and Clint Robinson from the Royals; designated Matt Hague and Yamaico Navarro for assignment.
Rangers: Acquired Cory Burns from the Padres.
Athletics: Acquired Sandy Rosario from the Red Sox; designated Jermaine Mitchell for assignment; re-signed Pat Neshek to a one-year deal.
Mariners: Released Chone Figgins.


Nothing doing against Zimmermann as Brewers fall

July 29, 2012

> Well, nothing new here. The Brewers lost to the Nationals today, 4-1, a game in which offense was once again hard to come by for the Crew. They might have had an excuse today, but this is still annoying to watch day after day.

Randy Wolf didn’t pitch particularly bad, but it was the long ball that did him in. He went seven innings while giving up four runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out six. But, all of the runs Wolf gave up came on home runs, something we’ve become accustomed to seeing.

Jordan Zimmermann, on the other hand, was dominant, as he’s been all season, so there’s nothing new there either. He went six innings while giving up a run on five hits. He walked one and struck out six, lowering his ERA to 2.28. I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Zimmermann- he seems to be forgotten in D.C., probably due to Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, despite his great numbers. He’s the most consistent pitcher on that staff, and there’s no argument about it.

After Wolf went through the Nats’ lineup without giving up a hit the first time through, the Nationals struck quickly. Corey Brown got his first career hit in the fourth inning, an opposite field solo shot. Later in the inning, Tyler Moore hit a two-run homer to extend the lead to 3-0. The Brewers did answer in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Rickie Weeks, and it looked like they were in for a big inning. But, the .205-hitting Cody Ransom got them out of the inning with a double play. The Nats tacked on one more in the fifth on Ryan Zimmerman’s solo home run.

> If there was one good thing about today’s game, it was that the bullpen didn’t implode like it’s prone to doing. Jim Henderson threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, and his high-90’s fastball/dirty slider combo makes him look very promising. Kameron Loe threw a scoreless ninth.

> The Brewers made another trade today, sending George Kottaras to the Athletics. The trade is still pending, but appears likely to happen. Kottaras was designated for assignment two days ago with the return of Jonathan Lucroy. You can read my more detailed story on this at Reviewing the Brew here.

> On another catching note, the Brewers signed former Astro Humberto Quintero to a Minor League deal today. Quintero was traded from the Astros to the Royals this past offseason, but was released before the All-Star break after hitting .232 in 43 games with them. He’ll go to Triple-A Nashville and give the Brewers some catching depth in the system with Kottaras likely gone.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will go for a series split tomorrow, sending Mark Rogers to the mound. He’s making his season debut, and his first Major League appearance since late 2010. He made four appearances (three starts, one relief appearance) that season: a relief appearance against the Cubs, a start against the Marlins, and two starts against the Reds. And I have to admit he didn’t look too bad then. Rogers is just 6-6 with a 4.74 ERA at Triple-A this year, but is pitching better lately.

The Nats will counter with Gio Gonzalez (13-5, 3.13 ERA), another starter who has had success with them this year. But, since the start of June, he has an ERA over 4.00.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

 


Fielder helps Brewers seal series win against Astros

August 7, 2011

9:23p It looks like the Astros have pretty much given up hope on this season, and it’s really starting to show now. Looks like the Brewers came to Houston at the right time.

Brewers-Astros Wrap-Up

The Brewers defeated the Astros today, 7-5, in a game that became somewhat of a thriller at the end. Prince Fielder and Yuniesky Betancourt both had great games, with Fielder going 3-for-3 and Betancourt going 4-for-5.

The Brewers jumped on the Astros with three runs in the first inning for the second consecutive day on Fielder’s three-run homer off Astros starter Brett Myers, who would end up taking his 12th loss of the season.

The Astros got on the board in the second inning, when Carlos Lee hit a solo shot off Brewers starter Chris Narveson. But, the Brewers immediately answered in the third on a pair of questionable calls that led to two runs. Betancourt hit an RBI double down the left field line, but the ball appeared to land in foul territory. Third base umpire Lance Barksdale called the ball fair, however, and the Brewers took a 4-1 lead. Astros manager Brad Mills came out to argue, and it wouldn’t be the last time he had to do that. On the very next play, Felipe Lopez hit a grounder to first baseman Carlos Lee. Lee threw home and it appeared that catcher Humberto Quintero had applied the tag on Fielder, who had been at third, but home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom called him safe.

Those two runs would prove costly for the Astros, because J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning to make the game 5-4. But, Fielder added to the Brewers lead in the sixth inning with an RBI double. Jonathan Lucroy also hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to give the Brewers some insurance.

Anyway, Narveson exited after just 5 1/3 innings. He definitely didn’t have his best stuff, but it was good enough to get him his eighth win of the season. He gave up four runs on five hits while walking two and striking out four. The bullpen bailed him out, however, with Takashi Saito, LaTroy Hawkins, and Francisco Rodriguez combining for 2 2/3 scoreless innings before John Axford entered for the save.

It was a pretty shaky save for Axford, as he gave up a one-out solo homer to Clint Barmes. And, the last out of the game was crazy, but got it done. J.B. Shuck hit a line drive off the leg of Axford. Then, Axford tried to throw Shuck out at first, but completely botched it and the ball rolled into right field.

After that, it was Tony Plush to the rescue.

Nyjer Morgan, who was playing right field, jogged over to the ball and picked it up. Then, he noticed that Shuck was trying to get all the way to third, so he threw it all the way across the diamond to Casey McGehee. McGehee applied the tag, and that was game over for the Astros, thanks to a rookie mistake by Shuck.

I think Fielder can hit Myers.

Coming into today, Fielder was hitting .308 against Myers with three home runs and six RBI. He’s shown those numbers are no fluke twice this year. The second one was his mammoth homer earlier today, which hit the foul pole. But his huge homer against Myers came earlier this year, when Fielder hit a 486-footer off him. That home run was the longest this year until Jim Thome of the Twins hit a 490-footer to break the record.

Hart exits with bruised hand

This definitely isn’t good. Corey Hart left today’s game in the seventh inning after getting hit in the left hand by Astros reliever David Carpenter. Nyjer Morgan shifted from center field to right field to take over his position in the field, and Jerry Hairston Jr. took Morgan’s place in center field.

Hart had been on a hot streak coming into today, including a hitting streak spanning over the last eight games. If he has to miss any time, it wouldn’t be good for the Brewers, who have already lost two key players in Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez. This is probably the worst part of the year to be losing good players since the Brewers are in the middle of a pennant race.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers will go for a series sweep against the Astros tomorrow in an afternoon game. The Brewers will send Zack Greinke (9-4, 4.41 ERA) to the mound, who currently has a string of five straight quality starts going, including a win in his last time out against the Cardinals. This will be Greinke’s first start against the Astros as a Brewers. He is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his career against the Astros.

The Astros will counter with Bud Norris (5-7, 3.47 ERA), who has pretty much dominated the Brewers in his career. That’s shown by his 3-0 mark and 2.32 ERA against them. He has one start against them this year, and he went 7 2/3 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cubs continued to be hot and blew out the Reds, 11-4. They are 15 and 9.5 games out, respectively.
  • The Pirates just continued to fall apart today, losing to the Padres 13-2. They are now nine games out, and are also riding a nine-game losing streak that started when they were tied for first place in the division.
  • The Cardinals are just refusing to lose, as the beat the Marlins again, 2-1. They remain three games back.

Brewers offense backs Gallardo’s great start

August 6, 2011

10:04p It wasn’t until this year that I realized how much Yovani Gallardo had dominated the Astros over his career. Tonight, he reminded me once again that he absolutely demolishes them.

Brewers-Astros Wrap-Up

The Brewers pretty much blew out the Astros today, 8-1, and got their road trip started on a good note. Gallardo, as I mentioned earlier, had a stellar performance to notch his 13th win of the season, and the Brewers offense helped him out a bit.

In the first inning, the Brewers, like so many other teams, took advantage of the awful season that J.A. Happ is having. Ryan Braun hit an RBI double off him in the first, followed by a Casey McGehee two-run single.

Gallardo, who breezed through the first inning, ran into trouble in the second. Humberto Quintero hit an RBI single with the bases loaded, but Gallardo got out of it after that. That would be the only run he allowed all night.

But the Brewers, unlike the Astros, actually scored a few more runs. In the third inning, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy both had RBI singles, and Felipe Lopez hit a sacrifice fly to give the Brewers a 6-1 lead.

Then, in the sixth inning, Corey Hart hit yet another mammoth home run for his 16th blast of the year. The Brewers tacked on one more in the ninth when Astros reliever Enerio Del Rosario, who had absolutely no control and was painful to watch, walked Lucroy with the bases loaded to give the Brewers an 8-1 lead, which would end being the final score.

Counsell breaks out of his slump!

We’ve all been waiting for a long time to hear this. Craig Counsell, who had an 0-for-45 slump going into today, was called upon to pinch-hit for Betancourt in the ninth. I, and probably all other Brewers fans, was watching his at-bat nervously. Why? If he recorded one more at-bat in which he was retired, he would have tied the Major League record for the longest slump in history, which is 0-for-46. But Counsell did all Brewers fans a favor and got his first hit in about two months. So he didn’t break or tie the MLB record, but, unfortunately, he currently holds the longest slump in Brewers history. He passed Doug Davis, who previously held it at 0-for-42.

Dillard was actually used in a game?

Yes. For the first time since June 18th, Ron Roenicke decided to bring in his long-neglected reliever, Tim Dillard. The Brewers have had a few blowouts since the 18th, so I have no idea why Roenicke waited so long to bring Dillard into a game. But, Dillard showed no signs of rust and tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to give Gallardo his 13th win of the season. By the way, I didn’t mention this earlier, but Gallardo went eight innings while giving up one run on four hits. He struck out six and walked one. His Astros counterpart, Happ, continued his disappointing season. He went just four innings while giving up six runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out two.

Up next for the Crew…

The Brewers play the second game of this three-game series in Houston tomorrow night. The Brewers will send Chris Narveson (7-6, 4.39 ERA) to the mound. He faced the Astros in his last start and went 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs, but had to settle for a no-decision. Narvy is 0-2 with a 4.01 ERA against the Astros in his career.

The Astros will counter with Brett Myers (3-11, 4.65 ERA), who also faced the Brewers his last time out, but took a no-decision as well. Myers is 5-4 with a 3.76 ERA against the Crew in his career.

Elsewhere around the division…

  • The Cardinals beat the Marlins, 3-2, even though the Marlins had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. Not even Mike Stanton could come through… Anyway, the Cards remain three games back. But I wonder what Tony La Russa had to complain about tonight?
  • The Cubs defeated the Reds, 4-3. They are 15 games and 8.t games back, respectively. Also, the Cubs are choosing the right time to go on a winning streak, as they’re helping the Brewers by keeping the Reds back in the standings.
  • The Pirates were murdered by the worst offense in the National League (that’s the Padres, if you don’t know). They fall to eight games back, and are on an eight game losing streak. It’s amazing how quickly things fell apart for them.

Box Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Milwaukee Brewers 3 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 8 11 0
Houston Astros 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 1

Milwaukee Brewers

Player AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, RF 4 2 1 1 1 1 3 .277
Jerry Hairston, CF 5 1 1 0 0 0 1 .265
Ryan Braun, LF 4 2 3 1 1 0 0 .329
Prince Fielder, 1B 5 1 1 0 0 1 4 .294
Casey McGehee, 3B-1B 4 2 1 2 1 1 2 .240
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 .257
a-Craig Counsell, PH-SS 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .153
Felipe Lopez, 2B 3 0 1 1 1 0 1 .227
Jonathan Lucroy, C 3 0 1 2 2 0 3 .284
Yovani Gallardo, P 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .235
b-Mark Kotsay, PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .242
Total 36 8 11 8 6 4 19

a-Singled for Betancourt in the 9th.

b-Grounded out for Gallardo in the 9th.

BATTING

2B: Braun (28), Fielder (26).

HR: Hart (16).

RBI: Braun (74), McGehee 2 (50), Betancourt (44), Lopez (9), Lucroy 2 (46), Hart (39).

Team RISP: 4-for-12.

Team LOB: 10.

BASERUNNING

SB: Braun (20), Betancourt (4).

Milwaukee Brewers

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Yovani Gallardo (W, 13-7) 8.0 4 1 1 1 6 0 3.56
Tim Dillard 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4.58

Pitches-strikes: Gallardo 105-74, Dillard 9-6.

Groundouts-flyouts: Gallardo 7-10, Dillard 0-1.

Batters faced: Gallardo 29, Dillard 3.