Comparing the mega-teams from LA

December 17, 2012

> Following the 2011 season, Los Angeles was not in a good state as far as the sport of baseball goes. The Angels and Dodgers hadn’t reached the postseason in 2010 or 2011, posting some of their worst seasons in decades (by their standards). The Angels were struggling to find any offensive consistency to back their decent starting pitching. The Dodgers were having similar issues, but their problems extended off the field as well, as Frank McCourt left them bankrupt.

I don’t think the Dodgers were expecting to contend in 2012 (at least early on) because of where they were financially, but their one huge move was giving Matt Kemp an eight-year, $160 million deal following his MVP-caliber campaign in 2011. The Angels, however, made themselves early favorites for the World Series by signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $254 million deal, and C.J. Wilson to a five-year, $77.5 million deal.

Fast-forward to the 2012 offseason- following yet another season in which neither of these teams made the postseason- and a lot has changed. The Dodgers are nowhere near bankrupt; in fact, they’re the polar opposite, thanks to Magic Johnson and Co. The Angels are in the same position they were last year, but if they don’t make the postseason this time around, there’s something very wrong.

Anyway, let’s take a look at each of these teams from every angle- the lineup, the rotation, the bullpen, and so on. Both of them are considered near locks for the playoffs, but one has to be better than the other, right?

THE LINEUPS

Angels: 

1. Mike Trout, CF
2. Erick Aybar, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Josh Hamilton, RF
5. Mark Trumbo, LF
6. Kendrys Morales, DH
7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
9. Chris Iannetta, C

Dodgers: 

1. Mark Ellis, 2B
2. Luis Cruz, 3B
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Hanley Ramirez, SS
6. Andre Ethier, RF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., LF
8. A.J. Ellis, C
9. Pitcher

OK, first off, Hairston isn’t going to start the entire season. Once Carl Crawford returns from the disabled list, he’ll take Hairston’s spot, and that’ll change the whole culture of the lineup (many project Crawford to hit second). But, until Crawford comes back- which will probably sometime in late May- that’s what I’m guessing the Dodgers’ lineup will look like.

Anyway, those are both powerhouse lineups. The each feature possibly the best 3-4-5-6 combos in their respective league in Pujols-Hamilton-Trumbo-Morales and Kemp-Gonzalez-Ramirez-Ethier. It’s hard to say which is really better than the other; both are going to be very exciting to watch. While I think the Angels’ lineup might be the more exciting with three perennial MVP candidates in Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton, I think the Dodgers have the overall better lineup. The reason I say this is because there are more experienced hitters in the Dodgers lineup, and by experienced, I mean hitters that you know what you’re going to get from them. Kemp, A-Gon, Ramirez, and Ethier aren’t necessarily “veterans” yet, but they’ve certainly been around the block a few times and have shown they can produce consistently at the big league level from year to year. The Angels definitely have that experience in Pujols and Hamilton, but they have a lot of younger, inexperienced hitters who I think we need to see more from. There’s no denying that Trout had the best offensive rookie season in quite some time, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be susceptible to a sophomore slump. Trumbo hit over .300 for the most of the season last year, but then flamed out for the last two months and fell to a .268 average.

I think if everyone in the Angels’ lineup performs to their ability (and that includes Kendrick, who everyone thought was going to be a batting champion one day), then they’ll have the better lineup. But until that happens, I’d put my money on the Dodgers’ lineup, especially once Crawford gets back.

Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp

THE ROTATIONS

Angels: 

1. Jered Weaver
2. C.J. Wilson
3. Tommy Hanson
4. Joe Blanton
5. Garrett Richards

Dodgers

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Zack Greinke
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu
5. Josh Beckett

Coming into this offseason, both teams wanted to improve their starting rotations, and I think each did. However, I think the Angels losing Greinke really hurt them. I also wasn’t in complete agreement with them just giving up on Dan Haren and Ervin Santana; I really wonder if they’re going to get what they could have gotten from those two from Hanson and Blanton. And Richards is going to be good somewhere down the road, but I’m not so sure he’s ready for a full-time rotation spot. There are even some question marks surrounding Wilson, who had a terrible second half for the Angels in 2012. Weaver is no doubt the ace, but health is a bit of a concern with him; same goes for Hanson.

To me, the Dodgers obviously have the better rotation, even though there are a few enigmas in theirs as well. Kershaw/Greinke is one- if not the best- 1-2 punches in baseball, and they get to throw half of their games at the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. After Kershaw and Greinke, however, there are a few questions. Billingsley can be an All-Star caliber pitcher when he’s on, but that isn’t always the case. Perhaps not having the pressure of being a #2 starter will help him. Anyway, the 4-5 spots in the Dodgers’ rotation should go to Ryu and Beckett, in my opinion. The Dodgers also have veterans Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang, all of whom are capable of starting, but I think Ryu and Beckett will give them better results than any of the other two.

Clayton Kershaw

It’s evident that both of these teams will have to back up their rotations with those huge lineups, but I think the Dodgers are better off starter-wise.

THE ‘PENS 

(NOTE: I only put the six guys who I thought were guaranteed spots. There are probably going to be a few other long relievers in each bullpen>)

Angels: 

Ryan Madson
Ernesto Frieri
Scott Downs
Sean Burnett
Kevin Jepsen
Jerome Williams

Dodgers: 

Brandon League
Kenley Jansen
Ronald Belisario
Scott Elbert
Matt Guerrier
Javy Guerra

This is actually the one category in which I think the Angels are better off. There’s only one guy that I think the Dodgers can count on to be consistent, and that’s Jansen. The rest of the guys- including League, who they named their closer and threw $22 million at- have had up-and-down careers.

The Angels, on the other hand, have a nice mix of young flamethrowers and veteran guys who know how to pitch. I loved the Madson pick-up; I expect him to have a good year even though he missed all of 2012. Frieri can also close if need be. Then they have a great tandem of lefties in Downs and Burnett. This has the makings of a great bullpen for the Angels.

Frieri

These are both going to be very exciting teams to watch, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we saw an LA vs. LA World Series (though it never seems to work out that way). I think the Dodgers have the slight edge, but that’s not to put a damper on the team the Angels are going to field.

> The Phillies signed Mike Adams to a two-year, $12 million deal (plus a vesting option for a third year), so that puts to bed any rumors that spoke of his possible return to Milwaukee. But Doug Melvin probably wouldn’t have been willing to give him $6 million a year anyway.

> The Mets are being the Mets once again, as they have a deal in place to send the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner- R.A. Dickey- to the Blue Jays in a seven-player deal. The deal also includes Josh Thole and another prospect going to the Jays along with Dickey, while the Mets are getting back Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck, and a prospect.

I’m starting to wonder why the Mets gave an extension to David Wright if this is what they intended to do all along, but that’s their screwed-up organization for you. But I like the deal for the Blue Jays. They may have hurt themselves in the long run, but they’re making themselves favorites for the AL East next year. They’ve assembled a pretty nice rotation in Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Brandon Morrow, and Ricky Romero, all of whom have been considered aces at some point in their careers.

> Minor moves: 

Phillies: Signed John Lannan to a one-year deal.
Marlins: Signed Jonathan Albaladejo and Ed Lucas to minor league deals.
Giants: Signed Javier Herrera to a minor league deal.
Twins: Signed Mike Pelfrey to a one-year deal.

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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.


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.


Brewers embarrased by Padres’ bullpen

June 10, 2012

> Today was an embarrassing day for the Brewers’ offense, to say the least. They lost to the Padres, 5-2, and gave up 13 hits to the worst offense in the National League. And the Brewers could barely get any hits for themselves, despite the fact Padres starter Andrew Cashner left after just 2 1/3 innings. I thought the Brewers would start hitting after that, since Cashner was coming at them with a huge fastball- topping out at 101 MPH- and a 90 MPH change up that complimented the fastball nicely.

The Brewers got one run off Cashner, which was an RBI double by Rickie Weeks in the first inning. After he left the game, the Brewers could only get one more run: an RBI single by Martin Maldonado that gave them a temporary 2-1 lead. But the Padres jumped on Michael Fiers in the sixth inning for three runs, and a lead they wouldn’t again lose.

> I wouldn’t be as mad about the Brewers getting shut down by the Padres’ bullpen if we were still in 2011. Last year, the Pads actually had a bullpen they could brag about, with guys like Heath Bell, Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson, and so on. But that isn’t necessarily the case this year. Today, the Padres used Ross Ohlendorf (who went 4 1/3 innings of long relief), Gregerson, Joe Thatcher, Dale Thayer, and Huston Street. The Brewers should have been able to hammer Ohlendorf, like they did back in his days with the Pirates. Same goes for Street, whose save percentage against the Brewers is hovering around 60%. Other than Gregerson, none of these guys should have been too tough for the Brewers to handle. But I guess I can’t expect too much out of the Brewers’ offense with all the injuries. Regardless, though, it’s embarrassing.

> The only positive that came out of today’s game is that the Brewers only needed to use three pitchers. The enigma that is Fiers went six innings while giving up four runs on ten hits. He walked one and struck out six. Then, Manny Parra went two innings, and Francisco Rodriguez handled the ninth.

> And that’s already about it; really not much to talk about today. The Brewers will play a rubber game of this series tomorrow at 1:10 PM CT. They’ll send Yovani Gallardo (4-5, 4.50 ERA) to the mound, who will hope to come back from a sub-par outing against the Cubs his last time out. It was an odd start- he had good stuff, as shown by his ten strikeouts, but gave up five runs in six innings.

The Padres will counter with Anthony Bass (2-5, 4.21 ERA), who has shown flashes of being a decent pitcher at times this year. But, his ERA has escalated over his past few starts. Bass has never faced the Brewers.

> Anyway, I’ll have up the box score later. But for now, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave your thoughts.

> Box Score

AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Corey Hart, 1B 5 0 0 0 0 3 5 .258
Norichika Aoki, RF 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 .297
Ryan Braun, LF 5 0 1 0 0 2 1 .306
Aramis Ramirez, 3B 4 0 2 0 1 0 0 .259
Rickie Weeks, 2B 4 0 1 1 0 0 3 .159
Cody Ransom, SS 2 1 0 0 2 2 2 .226
Nyjer Morgan, CF 3 0 1 0 0 2 1 .230
Martin Maldonado, C 2 0 1 1 1 0 1 .233
b-George Kottaras, PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .241
Michael Fiers, P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
a-Brooks Conrad, PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .081
c- Taylor Green, PH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .245
d-Carlos Gomez, PH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .258
Totals 33 2 8 2 4 11 15

a-Struck out for Fiers in the 6th.

b-Struck out for Maldonado in 8th.

c-Batted for Parra in the 8th.

d-Singled for Green in the 8th.

BATTING

2B: Weeks (9), Ramirez (17).

TB: Maldonado, Braun, Ramirez 3, Weeks 2, Aoki, Morgan, Gomez.

RBI: Weeks (15), Maldonado (7).

Team RISP: 2-for-8.

Team LOB: 11.

BASERUNNING

SB: Aoki (4).

FIELDING

DP: (Ransom-Weeks-Hart), Hart.

IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Michael Fiers (L, 1-2) 6.0 10 4 4 1 6 0 4.50
Manny Parra 2.0 2 1 1 1 2 0 4.30
Francisco Rodriguez 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 4.50
Totals 9.0 13 5 5 2 10 0

WP: Fiers, Rodriguez.

Pitches-strikes: Fiers 91-62, Parra 32-19, Rodriguez 14-10.

Groundouts-flyouts: Fiers 2-4, Parra 2-0, Rodriguez 0-0.

Batters faced: Fiers 27, Parra 9, Rodriguez 4.


Why Verlander deserved his MVP award

November 22, 2011

> The AL MVP was handed out today, and, as I predicted, Justin Verlander won.

> But, there are a lot of people out there who think Verlander shouldn’t have won- because he’s a pitcher. Sure, the Cy Young Award is there for the best overall pitcher in each league. And they don’t need to play for a contending team. Felix Hernandez (Mariners) and Zack Greinke (while he was on the Royals) are the two most recent pitchers to take home the Cy Young Award while sulking on last place teams.

>  A lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I think the MVP should play for a contending team. If the player couldn’t get his team into the playoffs, then was he truly that valuable?

> Anyway, regardless of my policy on the MVP, Verlander deserved the award. Let’s start with the numbers- he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, becoming the 11th AL pitcher in history to win the pitching Triple Crown. I know some are saying, “What’s so special about a 2.40 ERA?”  I guess there isn’t much. There were two pitchers with ERAs lower than 2.40, both in the NL- Clayton Kershaw (2.28), who won the NL Cy Young, and Roy Halladay (2.35). Verlander’s 2.40 ERA did lead the AL, however. And, he threw 250 innings and had a .920 WHIP, both of which also led the AL.

> And was there anyone more valuable to their team than Verlander? Try imagining the Tigers without Verlander and his 24 wins. Their rotation would look somewhat like this: Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Brad Penny, Phil Coke, and who knows who the fifth would have been. (I didn’t put Doug Fister in there because, with that rotation, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contending at the Trade Deadline, hence not being buyers and probably not acquiring Fister.) As I said, the Tigers wouldn’t have been contenders- maybe not even a .500 team.

> Anyhow, this is just my theory that I’ve believed in for awhile now. I can see why some disagree with it, but again- it’s my opinion; you don’t have to agree with it if you don’t want to.

> There was no Brewers news again today. Hopefully, there will be news tomorrow about Ryan Braun winning the NL MVP…

> Greg Halman has been on my mind all day, and if you know what happened to him, he’s probably been on yours as well.

Halman, who had been an outfielder for the Mariners, was stabbed to death early this morning in his native country, the Netherlands.

Sometimes, I don’t understand why our world is like this.

Halman, who was just 24 years old, had played seven Minor League seasons with the Mariners, being drafted when he was 16. This past season, he played in 33 Major League games with the Mariners, and probably had a shot at being a full-time outfielder with them next year. In fact, he was in the Netherlands preparing for that possibility.

But no. Everything- everything he worked for, everything he dreamed of- was taken away from him in an instant, because of the blade of a knife.

> This has been a scary offseason so far. First, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in his native Venezuela, but was rescued. Now, this. I hope nothing else like this happens for the rest of the offseason; I’ve had enough already.

But, this is my message to Major League players- don’t return to your native country. According to the events early this offseason, it can only bring bad things.

> The Rangers signed Joe Nathan to a two-year deal today. They’ve announced that they’re moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, so this probably means that either Nathan or Mike Adams will be their new closer. But I don’t know about this- it appears Nathan is past his prime.

> The Pirates officially announced today that they signed shortstop Clint Barmes to a two-year deal. This makes the Brewers out of the running for the above-average defensive shortstop.

> Anyway, that’s all I’ve got. Feel free to leave comments, if you’ve got them.


A few trade rumors…

July 26, 2011

4:42p Well, since the Brewers have an off-day today, there isn’t much for me to write about in a post today. But, the idea came to me earlier today that I should put up a few possible trade rumors surrounding the Brewers. Some of these are surprising, but some actually make sense.

Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers

This is one that somewhat surprises me. The Brewers supposedly have a mild interest in Hiroki Kuroda, a starting pitcher for the Dodgers, who is currently there on a one-year deal.

Now, there are many teams who are reportedly interested in Kuroda, and most of them are more interested than the Brewers. A few teams drawing interest towards Kuroda are the Tigers, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers, and Cardinals. All of those teams could use a starter to fill in a hole in the back-end of their rotation.

But, Kuroda has a full no-trade clause, meaning he can decline any trade offers. The Dodgers claim he can persuaded to waive that clause, however. In fact, Kuroda recently said that he would consider waiving the clause if he were to be traded to the Yankees or Red Sox (big surprise there).

Anyway, the three hottest teams pursuing Kuroda are the Tigers, Indians, and Rangers. So I’m guessing the Brewers aren’t really trying too hard to get him, and I can see why. We already have five established starters in Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson. Not to mention a few guys in Triple-A who can be called up to help the rotation, if needed. That’s why I was surprised to even see the Brewers on the list of teams pursuing Kuroda.

Kuroda is 6-12 with a 3.19 ERA this season. His ERA is actually lower than every member of our starting rotation, yet all of our guys have more wins than him. That’s why I’m surprised Kuroda isn’t more eager to get traded so he can actually get some run support.

Carlos Beltran, Mets

Carlos Beltran is obviously rumored to go to a lot of different teams, with the Giants and Phillies among the top suitors for him. But, the Brewers and Reds, both of the NL Central, have slight interest in him, and could make a surprise move to acquire him.

But, there are a few things that don’t make sense to me about the Brewers going after him. We have Corey Hart under control for the next few years as our right fielder, and Beltran said that he doesn’t want to move back to center field, his former position. Beltran is more of a consistent hitter than Hart, obviously, but, if the Brewers traded for him, it would be a half-season rental, because Beltran automatically becomes a free agent at season’s end. This, like the Kuroda rumor, doesn’t make much sense for the Brewers.

Center field depth

This isn’t exactly a rumor, but something the Brewers may be looking for before the trade deadline.

Carlos Gomez recently went down with an injury that may have very well ended his season last week in Arizona. Ron Roenicke claimed that he would be back on the field before season’s end, but, until then, the Brewers need a decent right-handed center fielder to platoon with the left-handed Nyjer Morgan. Brett Carroll has taken over for Gomez for the time being, but I don’t know how long he’s going to last with us, considering his career .205 average.

Search for a versatile infielder

The Brewers are reportedly looking for a versatile veteran infielder. They had been going after Jeff Keppinger and Wilson Betemit, but the Astros dealt Keppinger to the Giants, and the Royals dealt Betemit to the Tigers. And, even before talks with those two began, the Brewers were talking to the Dodgers about Jamey Carroll. But, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said that talks didn’t really advance further than the Brewers just expressing interest in Carroll. So the Brewers could still be on the search for an infielder.

Possible search for another reliever

The Brewers could also search for another reliever, which I wouldn’t mind at all. They obviously have already acquired Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets, but they may go for a left-handed reliever, as the Brewers’ bullpen is currently dominated by all right-handers. Zack Braddock, Mitch Stetter, and Manny Parra, all of the Brewers left handers with Major League experience, have endured serious setbacks. Braddock was optioned once again to the Minors because he was extremely ineffective this season. He is apparently being bothered by something that the Brewers refuse to say publicly. At the beginning of the year, it was a sleeping issue (based off a disorder similar to that of Zack Greinke), but it appears to be something different this time. Stetter is trying to fight his way back from a hip injury, but you can imagine that a hip injury is tough to overcome due to the way he throws. Lastly, Parra keeps having setback after setback during his rehab appearances and probably won’t even throw again this season.

Anyway, that’s the situation for the Brewers, as far as lefties out of the ‘pen go. I don’t know who they’ll try to acquire to fix the situation, or if they even will at all.

Also, Mike Adams has come up in rumors surrounding the Brewers. Adams, currently with the Padres, came up through the Brewers system and pitched for us from 2004-06. He is having a great year with the Padres right now and has a 1.20 ERA. He would be a great addition to our bullpen (I wouldn’t mind him replacing Kameron Loe).

Anyway, that’s about all the rumors I know of right now. The deadline is the 31st, so it’s coming up fast. The only big move they’ve made so far is the trade for Rodriguez, but Doug Melvin doesn’t screw around when it comes to making blockbuster trades, so we could expect more.