Potential relief options for the Brewers

November 25, 2012

> As I stated the other day, relievers could be hard to come by this offseason, largely in part to the multi-year deals that Jeremy Affeldt and Brandon League have already signed with the Giants and Dodgers, respectively. But the Brewers are certainly going to need at least one relatively-known name in the bullpen by the end of the offseason in order to shore up what proved to be the anchor of the team in 2012.

Here’s a list of potential closers who are on the market this offseason. Some of them are far out of the Brewers’ reach because they won’t fit financially, some are middle-of-the-pack (the most likely for the Brewers to sign), and some should be stayed away from for other reasons.

Jonathan Broxton
Matt Capps
Francisco Cordero
Kyle Farnsworth
Ryan Madson
Juan Carlos Oviedo
J.J. Putz
Mariano Rivera
Francisco Rodriguez
Joakim Soria
Jose Valverde

You can probably immediately tell who the Brewers are interested in and who they aren’t. In my opinion, the Brewers’ best bet would be Farnsworth, because he’d come relatively cheap and showed huge potential as the Rays’ closer in 2011. It’s doubtful that he’d close for the Brewers, since they seem pretty intent on keeping John Axford in the role, but Farnsworth could fill a gaping hole in the eighth inning if the Brewers fail to sign another setup man (which I’ll get to later). Oviedo- or Leo Nunez, who most probably still know him as- might not be a bad option for that role either, but he hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2011 because of identity issues and injuries. Soria and Madson also haven’t pitched in a big league game since 2011. Capps, Valverde, Cordero, and obviously K-Rod were all flat-out ineffective in 2012. I suppose I wouldn’t mind Broxton after the 2012 he had, but I have to wonder where his asking price would be.

So, of that group, Farnsworth would be the most logical signing for the Brewers. I’ll admit my confidence in him wavered after his 2012, but what more do the Brewers have to lose?

Next is a list of free agent right-handed pitchers, ranging from guys with previous closing experience to near no-names. There are far more names on this list that I wouldn’t mind the Brewers bringing aboard.

Jeremy Accardo
Mike Adams
Luis Ayala
Miguel Batista
Todd Coffey
Jose Contreras
Juan Cruz
Chad Durbin
Jason Frasor
Kevin Gregg
LaTroy Hawkins
Clay Hensley
Bobby Jenks
Brad Lidge
Matt Lindstrom
Mark Lowe
Brandon Lyon
Mike MacDougal
Guillermo Mota
Micah Owings
Vicente Padilla
Chad Qualls
Ramon Ramirez
Jon Rauch
Fernando Rodney
Takashi Saito
Rafael Soriano
Yoshinori Tateyama
Carlos Villanueva
Dan Wheeler
Jamey Wright
Jason Grilli

My wish list from this series of names (while trying to stay within the Brewers’ budget) would be Adams, Frasor, Lindstrom, Grilli, and/0r Padilla. Adams, a former Brewer, has become a different pitcher since he left, featuring a nice cutter to go along with nasty breaking stuff. He would slot perfectly into the eighth inning role. Grilli, Frasor, Lindstrom, and Padilla are all power arms, which is what the Brewers are looking for this offseason.

Anyway, Rodney is by far the best name on the list, but he’s going to draw far too many suitors for the Brewers to compete with; same goes for Soriano. I wouldn’t be completely opposed to bringing Hawkins or Saito back on one-year deals, but health is obviously an issue for both of them at this point in their careers. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Villanueva in a Brewers uniform again, but he’s reportedly looking for a job as a full-time starter.

If it weren’t already obvious, the guys the Brewers need to stay away from include Durbin, Jenks, and Qualls.

Lastly, here is the list of lefty relievers on the market. Seeing as Manny Parra might not be back next year (and he wasn’t effective as the only lefty in the bullpen anyway), I’d like to see the Brewers pick up at least one of these guys.

Sean Burnett
Tim Byrdak
Randy Choate
Pedro Feliciano
J.P. Howell
Will Ohman
J.C. Romero
Hisanori Takahashi

Two of these lefties- Burnett and Choate- would be nice additions for the Brewers, but both are more than likely going to re-sign with their current teams. I’d love for the Brewers to sign Howell- which they are probably capable of doing- but the market for him is reportedly at least eight teams. Feliciano, however, could be a very interesting option. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2010 with the Mets due to injuries. But, before that, he was one of the best lefty specialists in the game, and led the league in appearances from 2008-2010. Even though there are some question marks surrounding him, he might be the best option for the Brewers.

The bottom line is the Brewers need to add at least one or two of these relievers, but there are certainly more than enough to choose from.

(Note: these free agent lists are courtesy of SportsCity)

> Minor moves: 

Indians: Signed Nate Spears and Jose Flores to minor league deals.

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Miley snubbed in NL RoY voting

November 13, 2012

> The AL and NL Rookie of the Year Awards were handed out today. The AL recipient was who we expected: Mike Trout. Pretty sure we all knew that one in August.

But there is a lot of debate around the NL winner, who, of course, had to be Bryce Harper. He edged Wade Miley by a mere seven points- Harper received 16 first place votes, while Miley got 12.

I thought Miley was the clear-cut winner. He went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA and was the unexpected ace of the Diamondbacks’ staff. Harper and the other finalist for the NL RoY, Todd Frazier, both had decent rookie seasons, but were WAY too overhyped. Harper hit .270, and received more hype than Ryan Braun did in 2007 when he hit .324 in his rookie season.

Again, I’m not denying that Harper had a good season, but to say he had a better season than Miley- which is what giving Harper the NL RoY is doing- isn’t right.

Also, if you didn’t see it, I went on a Twitter rant about how Wilin Rosario had just as good of a season- if not better- than Harper. Rosario had the same batting average, and more home runs and RBIs in less at-bats. That would have been fun to write, but I was stupid and forgot to take Coors Field into effect. Oops.

> Props to the two writers who gave Norichika Aoki second-place votes in the RoY. Aoki came in fifth place overall, and also received five third-place votes.

This is how the placing went:

1. Harper
2. Miley
3. Frazier
4. Rosario
5. Aoki
6. Yonder Alonso
7. Matt Carpenter
8. Jordan Pacheco

As you can see, Mike Fiers was left completely off the ballot. Apparently everyone forgot about him after he fell of a cliff from August on.

> Doug Melvin shot down the rumors that the Brewers were talking to Corey Hart and his camp about a possible contract extension. Not to worry; we’ll probably see the extension come eventually. It’s worth noting Hart will probably be open to talks midseason as well, as he signed his three-year extension (which he’ll be in the last year of in 2013) in August of 2010.

> Minor moves from the past few days: 

Red Sox: Signed David Ross to a two-year deal.
Twins: Signed Tim Wood and Eric Fryer to minor league deals.
Giants: Outrighted Emmanuel Burriss, who elected free agency; re-signed Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year deal.
Rangers: Signed Neal Cotts, Juan Apodaca, Yonata Ortega, Jim Adduci, Zach Simons, and Aaron Cunningham to minor league deals.
Royals: Outrighted Jason Bourgeois, who elected free agency.
Tigers: Signed Shawn Hill to a minor league deal.
Orioles: Signed Daniel McCutchen and Dan Meyer to minor league deals.


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.