Davies can’t contain Franco, Phils

April 23, 2016

> A day after getting embarrassed by Ricky Nolasco and the Twins, the Brewers dropped their second straight game, losing to the Phillies 5-2. Zach Davies (0-2, 9.72 ERA) improved upon his atrocious season debut against the Pirates earlier this week, but it wasn’t enough as Philadelphia’s lineup teed off against him the second through the order.

The Brewers got on the board right away in the first inning on Chris Carter’s RBI single. That appeared to be all Davies would need, as he cruised through the the first three innings without any trouble. However, in the fourth, Cameron Rupp hit a one-out double, and then Darin Ruf tied the game with an RBI single two batters later. The Phils continued to pour it on in the fifth inning: Odubel Herrera started the rally with a one-out single, and he was promptly driven in on a Freddy Galvis triple. Maikel Franco then put the nail in the coffin with a two-run shot to left field, extending the Phillies’ lead to 4-1. They would tack on another in the seventh inning when Franco hit his second bomb of the game, this one coming off reliever Chris Capuano.

After their first inning run, the Brewers couldn’t get anything going against Phillies starter Aaron Nola. He allowed just that run on four hits over seven innings. Nola walked two and struck out seven. Milwaukee did get one more run in the ninth inning thanks to Aaron Hill’s RBI double off reliever Jeanmar Gomez but couldn’t sustain the rally.

Davies wasn’t terrible on this night; his performance was better than the average Taylor Jungmann or Wily Peralta start so far this season. However, the Phillies evidently caught onto him the second time around. Davies went six innings while giving up four runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out five in his second loss of the season.

> A lot has happened since I last wrote in July of 2013 (which was, ironically, the day Ryan Braun received his 65-game suspension). There’s far too much between then and now for me to detail, but here’s a quick recap of the major events that have taken place.

> The Brewers finished 2013 a dismal 74-88. That was to be expected as Braun was banished from the field for a better part of the second half of the season, and beyond him there wasn’t much offense. However, it was during 2013 that Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy began their respective rises to stardom; Jean Segura also had his lone All-Star appearance in a Brewers uniform.

> Towards the end of the 2013-14 offseason, the Brewers hadn’t done much of anything, and appeared to be headed for another down year. However, shortly before the 2014 season, they stunned the baseball world and signed Matt Garza to a four-year, $52 million deal, the largest free agent signing in franchise history. All of a sudden, Milwaukee didn’t look half bad on paper, and that translated to the field, at least for most of the season. The expected 3-4 combo of Braun and Aramis Ramirez actually didn’t contribute as much as expected, but Gomez and Lucroy led the way and helped the Brewers remain in first place in the National League Central for a majority of the year. Peralta also had a career year, going 17-11 with a 3.53 ERA and establishing himself as the new ace of the rotation. However, what appeared to be a sure playoff berth descended into one of the most disappointing finishes in recent history. What could have been a decent season for Garza got cut short with an injury, the rest of the rotation struggled to find consistency, the bats went cold, and the bullpen– which had been spectacular for most of the year thanks to finds such as lefties Zach Duke and Will Smith– fell off a cliff in the season’s final months. All of this led to a 3-16 stretch between Aug. 20 and Sept. 9 that completely killed the team’s chances at making the postseason. A resurgent Mike Fiers, who returned to his dominant form from mid-2012, was the only bright spot the team had down the stretch. The Brewers finished 82-80– even worse than in 2012 when they went 83-79 despite one of the worst bullpens they’ve had in recent history– good for third place behind the Cardinals and Pirates.

> The promise heading into 2015 was that the Brewers had put their awful finish in 2014 behind them and were ready to contend again. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Milwaukee started 2-10, tying their worst start in franchise history. Things didn’t get much better, and when they were 7-18, Doug Melvin finally pulled the plug on manager Ron Roenicke, a move that felt long overdue. He brought in former fan favorite Craig Counsell, who had been working in the Brewers’ front office since his retirement after 2011, as the interim manager.

The Brewers were nowhere near contention come summer, and with a few impending free agents, moves had to be made. Melvin started the fire sale by trading Ramirez to Pittsburgh– the team that originally signed him as an amateur free agent back in 1994– in exchange for Double-A reliever Yhonathan Barrios. A shortstop-turned-pitcher, Barrios can reach triple digits, and he impressed the Brewers when rosters expanded last September. He likely would have made the team out of spring training this year, but an injury has derailed him for the time being.

The next trade was no doubt the biggest and showed fans that the Brewers are truly trying to turn over their minor league system. Melvin sent Gomez and Fiers to the Astros for a package of four prospects: outfielders Brett Phillips and Domingo Santana, left-handed starter Josh Hader, and right-hander Adrian Houser. Phillips, Santana, and Hader were all in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects at the time; Phillips and Hader still are, while Santana is proving a mainstay at the major league level in 2016.

The Brewers also scammed the Orioles out of one of their top prospects. In dire need of an outfielder, Baltimore sent the Brewers their #3 prospect, the right-handed starter Davies, in exchange for Gerardo Parra. Don’t get me wrong: Parra was hitting around .330 at the time and appeared to be a good acquisition on paper for the Orioles. However, the ended up only getting him for half a season, as he signed a free agent deal with the Rockies this past offseason. Basically, the O’s traded Davies– one of their best prospects– for a short-term outfielder who didn’t even help them make the postseason.

Milwaukee made another small trade before the deadline last season, trading Jonathan Broxton to the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Malik Collymore, who is still in Rookie ball. But the fact that the Brewers got anything of value in return for Broxton is a success in my book.

Fast-forward to the end of 2016: the Brewers finished 68-94, their worst record since 2004, when they went 67-94. However, they at least got what they could have out of a terrible season on the field by completely re-stocking their minor league system, which had been considered among the worst in baseball since they went all in back in 2011. Melvin also announced near the end of the season that he would be stepping down as general manager; this allowed the Brewers to hire the young David Stearns, formerly the assistant GM for Houston.

Stearns completely turned over the Brewers’ roster prior to the 2016 season. He brought in players he was familiar with, such as first baseman Carter and shortstop Jonathan Villar, from his days with the Astros. He also made a blockbuster deal with the Diamondbacks, sending Segura and top pitching prospect Tyler Wagner to the desert in exchange for right-handed starter Chase Anderson, second baseman Hill, and minor league shortstop Isan Diaz.

At just 30 years of age, Stearns is very young to be a general manager, but he’s already served as assistant GM for both the Indians and Astros, so he has experience. He’s also had the opportunity to watch the Astros go from nothing to a contender in just a few years by efficiently building up their farm system through the draft and trades, and he seems to be using the same process with the Brewers. Who knows what 2016 will bring, but, whether it be good or bad, I feel much more comfortable with Stearns at the helm than I ever did with Melvin.

> I guess this turned into a pretty long-winded article after all, which I hoped to avoid in my first post returning, but I might as well finish it. I thought I was deserting BWI for good after I could no longer find time to write it; my last post on here would have been the summer before my junior year of high school, and now I’m finishing up my freshman year of college. To be honest, though, I’ve had the itch to bring it back ever since I quit: in 2014, I started writing an article about how the second Wild Card was ruining baseball and making non-contenders think that they were contenders; I used the Royals as my prime example (the irony is still killing me). However, I never finished that article, which was probably for the best. Then, around the Trade Deadline in 2015, I started writing one about the speculation of why the original Gomez trade, in which the Brewers would have acquired Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores from the Mets, never happened. Both of those articles are still sitting in the drafts of this website, and I’ll probably never publish them, but they’re proof that I’ve wanted to come back all this time.

If I want to keep it up, I’ll have to balance it with schoolwork and my job, among other things, but I think I can do that. I go to a small liberal arts school in southern Wisconsin, where I’m majoring in Business Economics with a minor in Journalism. I chose the school primarily because it gave me the best scholarship, but also because of an interesting job opportunity in the area with a minor league baseball team. I’ve been doing stat-stringing– essentially relaying the play-by-play as it happens to Minor League Baseball, which allows them to post it to their website– as well as writing game recaps and other articles for the team (so it isn’t like I haven’t written a sports article in three years).

I intend to keep using this blog as a means of practice for (hopeful) future jobs in journalism, but developing a fan base/network using BWI would be cool as well. I’ve done that with this site in the past, though my Twitter account definitely helped out with that. However, ever since I left Reviewing the Brew, I haven’t used my Twitter account much at all, and at this point I’d say I’m probably never going to actively use it again. In any case, if you happen to be scrolling through, feel free to drop a comment or something. I’m looking forward to getting back to this.

 

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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.


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.


Late-inning heroics from Gomez, Braun give Crew sweep

August 8, 2012

Postgame

> I don’t think any Brewers fan was expecting a sweep coming into this series, but that’s exactly what we got. The Brewers took down the Reds today, 3-2, in yet another low-scoring affair that was interesting until the final out.

I was glad the Brewers won the first two games, because Randy Wolf was going today, and my confidence in him has waned over his past few starts. But, I forgot he was 11-4 in his career against the Reds, and that sort of showed today. Wolf threw six solid innings while giving up two runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out seven.

But, he was being opposed by the red-hot Mat Latos today, who has been on fire ever since his 13-strikeout complete game against the Brewers back in June. After Dioner Navarro’s two-run shot in the third inning, it appeared that was all the support Latos was going to need. He went seven innings while giving up a run on just three hits. He walked one and struck out eight. The one run he gave up was a home run to another guy who has been on fire recently, Carlos Gomez. His homer cut the Reds’ lead in half in the sixth inning.

Going into the eighth inning, the Reds still held that 2-1 lead. Latos was at just 97 pitches and could have probably gone at least one more inning, but Dusty Baker went all Ron Roenicke on him and removed him in favor of the bullpen. (The only difference there is the Reds actually have a good bullpen.) Anyway, Baker opted to go to setup man Jonathan Broxton, who was acquired by the Reds at the deadline and has been dominant since. But, with the Brewers having faced the Royals in Interleague this year, they had already seen Broxton, which may have given them the advantage today.

Broxton started the inning fine, inducing fly-outs from Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy. But, Norichika Aoki got an infield single with two outs, and he was helped a bit by Broxton, who slowed it down and didn’t give third baseman Todd Frazier much of a chance at a play. After that, things just went downhill for the Reds. Aoki attempted to steal second base with Gomez batting, but the catcher Navarro fired it into center field, allowing Aoki to reach third. Gomez took advantage and hit a jam-shot RBI single to tie the game. After Gomez stole second, Ryan Braun hit a soft line drive into the left field gap, but Chris Heisey couldn’t make what would have been a highlight reel play, and it turned into a go-ahead double for Braun.

Jim Henderson came on for the ninth and recorded the save. Hopefully he has that job locked down at least for the time being.

Anyway, even though it may not look like much at the moment, I’m pumped that the Brewers swept the Reds. I’m particularly happy they jammed it down that obnoxious Reds fanbase’s throat. You can bet their excuse for losing this game was Braun being on steroids, even though it was a soft line drive. Those are the sort of fans I’ve ran into on Twitter lately, at least.

The News

> Manny Parra threw to live hitters for the first time since his injury. Parra never officially went on the disabled list, but has been sidelined for a few days with a shoulder impingement.

> George Kottaras hit a home run off Zack Greinke today. Wait, what?

> In the same inning Greinke gave up the home run to Kottaras, he walked five batters. All in one inning. That is not the Greinke we saw in Milwaukee through his year-and-a-half tenure, even when he struggled in the first half of 2011. Greinke’s overall ERA escalated to 3.74 today against the Athletics.

> I haven’t mentioned anything about Ben Sheets yet, but he’s having a heck of a comeback with the Braves. He’s 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts with them. The Brewers could certainly use that right now.

If he can stay healthy for once in his life, he could help the Braves go deep into the postseason.

> Here’s my latest article at Reviewing the Brew. It’s basically me talking about Henderson, his story, his stats, and so on. I also mention the always-popular Brewers closer curse.

The Numbers Game

> Henderson notched his second save in a row today, which is also the second save in his Major League career. He also lowered his ERA to 1.29.

> The two other relievers who threw today, Jose Veras and John Axford, didn’t do bad either. Both had scoreless innings. But do I trust either of them yet? No way.

> Segura notched his first Major League hit today, a fifth-inning single off Latos. With that out of the way, let’s see if he can become a productive force in the Brewers’ lineup.

> The Brewers’ comeback win today was just the second time in 2012 that, after trailing going into the seventh inning, they came back and took the lead. That makes them 2-43 in those games. I suppose that stat explains what’s happened this season.

> Braun’s double in the eighth snapped an 0-for-18 slump prior to that. His last hit had come on August 1st against the Astros. That slump dropped his season average to .304. Keep in mind Braun has only hit below .300 only once in his career.

> Speaking of the Astros, that’s who the Brewers play next after an off-day tomorrow. The Brewers then play the Rockies after that. So don’t look now, but they could start a long winning streak.

Anyway, I leave you with the probables for the Astros series in Houston. Apparently it’s become so bad for them that they don’t even know who’s starting until the day of.

Mark Rogers (0-1, 5.91 ERA) vs. ???

Marco Estrada (0-5, 4.13 ERA) vs. ???

Yovani Gallardo (10-8, 3.79 ERA) vs. ???


Brewers spoil late scoring chances in loss to KC

June 13, 2012

> I thought the Brewers would be able to sweep the Royals in this three-game series. Well, you can scratch that.

> The Brewers fell to the Royals tonight, 2-1, in a game that was pretty embarrassing on many different levels. The headline was Zack Greinke’s return to Kansas City for the first time since being traded to the Brewers in December of 2010. But, by the late innings, that was merely a side-note after all of the other things that took place.

Alex Gordon hit a lead-off homerun off Greinke in the first inning on a 3-2 pitch. And this was no cheap shot, considering it sailed into the waterfall of Kauffman Stadium.

After that, though, Royals starter Luis Mendoza stole the show. Of course, Mendoza was a starter who was making his first start since returning from the bullpen, so naturally he had to dominate the Brewers. And he did just that, firing six no-hit innings to start the game. The Brewers broke up the no-hit bid in the seventh on what would have been an infield single for Ryan Braun, but he wound up reaching third base, courtesy of some little league work by the Royals’ infield. Mendoza then walked Aramis Ramirez, which prompted the sometimes quick hook of ex-Brewer manager Ned Yost. So Mendoza was pulled after 6+ innings, giving up just one hit- the infield single to Braun- while walking two and striking out four.

But the Brewers nearly left that inning without scoring. Taylor Green flew out to the left fielder Gordon for the first out, but Braun tried to tag up, and was thrown out at home by Gordon. Ramirez advanced to third on the play. Then, Rickie Weeks came through against reliever Aaron Crow with a game-tying, RBI single.

That was all the Brewers would get. They eventually lost the lead in the eighth inning, and I shouldn’t even need to tell you who gave it up. Francisco Rodriguez gave up the go-ahead RBI single to Billy Butler.

The Brewers had runners on third in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, but failed to drive in any of those runners. Royals closer Jonathan Broxton made it interesting in the ninth, giving up a lead-off single to Ramirez. After that, he struck out Green, but then gave up an infield single to Weeks. Broxton struck out George Kottaras, and induced a Brooks Conrad groundout to end the game.

> This game was an example of some classic Ron Roenicke management. He removed Greinke after seven nice innings, despite the fact his pitch count was only 105. After Greinke was removed, announcer Brian Anderson said that “pitch count got him tonight.” No, Brian. Ron Roenicke management got him. Roenicke needs to learn that a 105 pitch count really isn’t that high, even in this day and age. If Greinke was at 110 pitches or higher after seven, then sure, I could understand not putting him back out for the eighth. But you see all of these pitchers (from other teams) nowadays going the distance using 120-130 pitches. Roenicke barely lets our guys touch 100 pitches, and it’s driving me insane. By the way, it’s worth noting that a Brewer pitcher hasn’t thrown a complete game since April of 2011- the first win of the 2011 season.

Next up is Ron’s pinch-hitting selection in the ninth inning. I’m not going to blame him for using Kottaras, but, in reality, he hasn’t done crap since April. So he isn’t that “reliable, clutch bat off the bench” anymore. But I AM going to blame him for using Conrad as the last batter of the game with a man on third. Conrad was batting .081 going into the at-bat, so the game was obviously over before he even stepped in the batter’s box. Anybody would have been better than Conrad in that situation.

Lastly, the use of the bullpen, which sort of ties in to the Greinke situation. Not only did Roenicke remove Greinke, he removed Greinke in favor of Rodriguez. At this point, every time K-Rod enters a game, you can just consider it a loss, whether it’s tied or the Brewers have the lead. His 0-4 record should tell the story of how bad he’s been, although he’s actually blown more games than that.

> And that’s about it. The Brewers will play the second game of this series tomorrow at 7:10 PM CT. They’ll send Randy Wolf (2-5, 5.45 ERA) to the mound, who has been pretty bad overall this year, but is coming off a nice start against the Cubs. The Royals are one of the few teams he’s never faced in his career.

The Royals will counter with Luke Hochevar (3-7, 6.57 ERA). If the Brewers can’t beat this guy, we might as well call it a season. However, I predicted today that the Brewers would hammer Mendoza, and he nearly no-hit them. So I’m done making predictions for now.

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


Brewers, Axford working on deal

March 1, 2012

> The Brewers have reportedly been trying to negotiate a multi-year deal with closer John Axford, according to a few sources. Axford is the only member of the 40-man roster to not sign a deal for the 2012 season, as he said that he’s “holding out for billions.” Obviously, that’s a joke (hopefully), but I kind of wonder if now’s the time for a multi-year deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d like the Brewers to lock him up for a few years. But, he isn’t a free agent for the first time until 2017. And, the Brewers have other players that they should try locking up first (Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum).

I’m not saying this is going to happen, because I doubt it will, but it can sometimes be dangerous to sign closers to multi-year deals. Closers can sometimes lose it overnight- just look at Trevor Hoffman, Derrick Turnbow, Jonathan Broxton and so on. If the Brewers go any further than three years, I might get a little worried.

But hopefully that won’t happen to Axford, and he can be the Brewers closer for a long time. If he keeps it up, he could be the next Rollie Fingers- he’s already got the mustache for it. (Link to article on Axford)

> The talks about a possible Wild Card expansion for the postseason are still alive, and will hopefully come to a close soon. If it does get done, then, starting with the 2012 postseason, there would be a one-game playoff between two Wild Card teams. The winner would then go onto the division series.

Unlike many other baseball matters, I’m actually taking a neutral position on this. If it gets done, great. Then we’d have an action-packed, dramatic one game playoff between the Wild Card teams, which would be pretty cool. But, if it doesn’t get done, that’s fine too. I like the way the playoffs are set up now, and if they stay this way, that’s fine. Let’s just hope it doesn’t become like the NBA, where it feels like every team makes the playoffs every year. I’m never going to forget last year when the Bucks were 26-40, and ESPN (or some other sports anchor) claimed that they were still “in the hunt” for a playoff spot. That’s when I realized the NBA was extremely flawed. I’d prefer baseball not go down that road, but, even if it did, I would still watch it, because it’s just fundamentally better than basketball in general.

In any case, we’ll see if this thing gets done. (Link to article on WC expansion)

> The Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina have agreed to a five-year, $75 million deal, according to multiple sources. The Cards have yet to comment on the matter, but it sounds like it’s a done deal.

Molina did his best to become unpopular with Brewers fans last season by salivating all over an umpire after a called third strike (that appeared to be a strike). But, you can’t argue the fact that he’s a great catcher, who will probably make the Hall of Fame solely because of his unbelievable defense behind the plate. He also had a breakout season on the other side of the plate last year, leading the Cardinals with a .305 batting average. (Link to article on Molina)

> And that’s about it. Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.


Brewers probably won’t make big moves at Winter Meetings

November 30, 2011

> Sorry for such a late post. I’ve been busy today, but I’m just going to try and quickly go through the Brewers’ news released today.

> Doug Melvin announced earlier today that the Brewers won’t be major players at the Winter Meetings this year. I guess this was expected, although the Brewers do have a few holes to fill, such as a shortstop and relievers. Not nearly as many as they did in 2010, however.

By the way, if you don’t already know, the Winter Meetings are in Dallas this year from December 5-8.

> The Brewers just can’t get a break as far as Minor League pitching goes. Pitching prospect Santo Manzanillo separated his right shoulder in a car crash earlier today in the Dominican Republic. This came a few days after Manzanillo was put on the 40-man roster for protection from being plucked away in the Rule 5 Draft.

Anyway, who knows what this injury is going to do to his arm. It could affect him a lot because he’s a power pitcher, shown by his numbers- 1.75 ERA and 17 saves between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville.

Notice how this occurred in the Dominican Republic. At this point, I’m starting to get shaky about Major League players leaving the country to return to their native countries for offseason exercising or winter ball, because it seems like bad things continue to happen. Wilson Ramos, Greg Halman, and now this. I hope this is the end of it.

> And that’s about all the Brewers news. There were some major signings around the rest of the MLB, however.

> The Red Sox may have finally found a new manager in Bobby Valentine. Reports are saying that both sides are close to a deal. Plus, it was reported that Gene Lamont is no longer a contender for their managerial position, leaving Valentine as the only choice.

> The Royals signed former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton to a one-year deal today. Broxton, typically a closer, is probably going to set up for All-Star closer Joakim Soria.

I’m always tempted to make jokes about Broxton’s weight (he weighs 300 pounds) even though I know I shouldn’t; then I remember his insanely high strikeouts per innings pitched. He has struck out 503 batters in just 382 innings, which is 11.55 strikeouts per nine innings.

> The Cubs are apparently interested in both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Hopefully they’re smart enough to know they can only sign one.

> And that’s all I’ve got right now. Again, sorry for such a late post; I’ll probably update this with more links tomorrow. But thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.