Seven Brewers to participate in WBC

January 17, 2013

> It seems like the list just keeps getting larger. As of right now, seven Brewers are on their respective countries World Baseball Classic rosters: Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, John Axford, Jim Henderson, Taylor Green, Yovani Gallardo, and Martin Maldonado.

Braun and Luc will play for Team USA (Braun also played for them in 2009). Axford, Henderson, and Green were all selected to Team Canada. Gallardo will play for Team Mexico, and Maldonado for Puerto Rico.

I’m happy for all of these guys, but the one issue with the Classic is that it interferes with Spring Training. I typically don’t have an issue with that, but, as someone on Twitter pointed out earlier today, both of the Brewers’ big league catchers will be participating in the WBC, so the new Brewers pitchers (particularly the relievers) won’t have much time to get familiar with them. That shouldn’t be an issue, but it is something to think about.

Also, the fact that Gallardo will be throwing extra innings due the WBC will probably try and prompt Ron Roenicke to give him some sort of innings limit, knowing his shenanigans. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

> The Brewers added righty reliever Rob Wooten to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. The Brewers’ list of non-roster invitees now stands at 18: pitchers Wooten, Jairo Asencio, Jed Bradley, Darren Byrd, Kelvim Escobar, Donovan Hand, Taylor Jungmann, Arcenio Leon, Travis Webb, catchers Dayton Buller, Anderson De La Rosa, Blake Lalli, Rafael Nada, Adam Weisenburger, infielders Hector Gomez, Hunter Morris, Donnie Murphy, and outfielder Kentrail Davis.

> Four Brewers filed for salary arbitration today: Axford, Burke Badenhop, Marco Estrada, and Carlos Gomez. Axford projects to get the largest contract. The Brewers already avoided arbitration with one of their eligibles, Chris Narveson.

> Minor moves: 

Blue Jays: Signed ex-Brewer Henry Blanco and Adam Loewen to minor league deals; designated Tommy Hottovy for assignment; re-signed Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal; signed Denis Villatora to a five-year deal.
Orioles: Re-signed Nolan Reimold and Tommy Hunter to one-year deals.
Phillies: Signed Rodrigo Lopez, Juan Cruz, and Aaron Cook to minor league deals.
Yankees: Released ex-Brewer Chris Dickerson; re-signed Phil Hughes to a one-year deal.
Angels: Signed Fernando Cabrera to a minor league deal; re-signed Jerome Williams to a one-year deal.
Indians: Released Thomas Neal.
Reds: Signed ex-Brewer Cesar Izturis to a minor league deal.
Pirates: Re-signed Jeff Karstens to a one-year deal.
Diamondbacks: Re-signed J.J. Putz to a one-year deal.
Nationals: Signed Delwyn Young to a minor league deal; signed Rafael Soriano to a two-year deal.
Dodgers: Signed Peter Moylan, Jesus Flores, Deivy Castillo, Ariel Sandoval, Ravel Hernandez, and Miguel Urena to minor league deals.
Mariners: Signed Luis Liberato to a minor league deal.
Rangers: Signed Kyle McClellan to a minor league deal.
Marlins: Signed Michael Wuertz, Nick Green, and Austin Kearns to minor league deals.
Tigers: Signed Don Kelly to a minor league deal.
Rockies: Re-signed Wilton Lopez and Josh Outman to one-year deals.

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

October 31, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Braves

Alex Gonzalez, SS

Scott Linebrink, RP

Nate McLouth, OF

George Sherrill, RP

Jack Wilson, SS

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jason Marquis, SP

John McDonald, SS

Xavier Nady, OF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Baltimore Orioles

Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Cesar Izturis, SS

Boston Red Sox

Erik Bedard, SP

J.D. Drew, OF

Conor Jackson, OF

Trever Miller, RP

David Ortiz, DH

Jonathan Papelbon, RP

Jason Varitek, C

Tim Wakefield, P

Chicago Cubs

John Grabow, RP

Reed Johnson, OF

Rodrigo Lopez, SP

Ramon Ortiz, RP

Carlos Pena, 1B

Kerry Wood, RP

Cincinnati Reds

Ramon Hernandez, C

Edgar Renteria, SS

Dontrelle Willis, SP

Cleveland Indians

Chad Durbin, RP

Kosuke Fukudome, OF

Jim Thome, DH

Colorado Rockies

Aaron Cook, SP

Mark Ellis, 2B

Kevin Millwood, SP

J.C. Romero, RP

Chicago White Sox

Mark Buehrle, SP

Ramon Castro, C

Juan Pierre, OF

Omar Vizquel, SS

Detroit Tigers

Wilson Betemit, SS

Carlos Guillen, 2B

Magglio Ordonez, OF

Brad Penny, SP

Ramon Santiago, 2B

Joel Zumaya, RP

Florida Marlins

Greg Dobbs, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Javier Vasquez, SP

Houston Astros

Clint Barmes, SS

Jason Michaels, OF

Kansas City Royals

Bruce Chen, SP

Jeff Francis, SP

Jason Kendall, C

Los Angeles Angels

Russell Branyan, OF

Joel Pineiro, SP

Horacio Ramirez, RP

Fernando Rodney, RP

Los Angeles Dodgers

Rod Barajas, C

Casey Blake, 2B

Jonathan Broxton, RP

Jamey Carroll, SS

Jon Garland, SP

Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Mike MacDougal, RP

Aaron Miles, 2B

Vicente Padilla, SP

Juan Rivera, 1B

Milwaukee Brewers

Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Craig Counsell, SS

Prince Fielder, 1B

Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B

LaTroy Hawkins, RP

Mark Kotsay, OF

Francisco Rodriguez, RP

Takashi Saito, RP

Minnesota Twins

Matt Capps, RP

Michael Cuddyer, OF

Jason Kubel, OF

Joe Nathan, RP

New York Mets

Miguel Batista, RP

Chris Capuano, SP

Scott Hairston, OF

Willie Harris, 2B

Jason Isringhausen, RP

Jose Reyes, SS

Chris Young, SP

New York Yankees

Luis Ayala, RP

Eric Chavez, 3B

Bartolo Colon, SP

Freddy Garcia, SP

Andruw Jones, OF

Damaso Marte, RP

Sergio Mitre, RP

Jorge Posada, DH

Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp, OF

David DeJesus, OF

Rich Harden, SP

Hideki Matsui, DH

Josh Willingham, OF

Philadelphia Phillies

Ross Gload, OF

Raul Ibanez, OF

Brad Lidge, RP

Ryan Madson, RP

Roy Oswalt, SP

Jimmy Rollins, SS

Brian Schneider, C

Pittsburgh Pirates

Derrek Lee, 1B

Ryan Ludwick, OF

San Diego Padres

Heath Bell, RP

Aaron Harang, SP

Brad Hawpe, 1B

Chad Qualls, RP

Seattle Mariners

Josh Bard, C

Adam Kennedy, 2B

Wily Mo Pena, OF

Jamey Wright, RP

San Francisco Giants

Carlos Beltran, OF

Pat Burrell, OF

Orlando Cabrera, SS

Mark De Rosa, 2B

Guillermo Mota, RP

Cody Ross, OF

St. Louis Cardinals

Edwin Jackson, SP

Gerald Laird, C

Albert Pujols, 1B

Nick Punto, 2B

Arthur Rhodes, RP

Tampa Bay Rays

Juan Cruz, RP

Johnny Damon, DH

Casey Kotchman, 1B

Texas Rangers

Endy Chavez, OF

Michael Gonzalez, RP

Darren Oliver, RP

Matt Treanor, C

Brandon Webb, SP

C.J. Wilson, SP

Toronto Blue Jays

Shawn Camp, RP

Frank Francisco, RP

Kelly Johnson, 2B

Jose Molina, C

Washington Nationals

Rick Ankiel, OF

Todd Coffey, RP

Alex Cora, 3B

Jonny Gomes, OF

Livan Hernandez, SP

Laynce Nix, OF

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Chien-Ming Wang, SP


Braun, Wolf push Brewers past Cubs

August 27, 2011

When the Cardinals win, the Brewers win. When the Cardinals lose, the Brewers win. That’s just the way things seem to work nowadays. And it’s led to a 9.5 game lead in the NL Central for the Brewers.

Cubs-Brewers Wrap-Up

The Brewers beat the Cubs today, 5-2. The Brewers’ seemingly dormant offense finally broke through in the fourth inning after having been shut out for 12 consecutive innings (going back to them being shut out by the Pirates the day before yesterday). The Cardinals also defeated the Pirates today, so the distance between them and the Brewers remains 9.5 games.

Randy Wolf had a decent start and won his 11th game of the year. He went 6 2/3 innings while giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits. He struck out three and walked two. Wolf also lowered his ERA to 3.37, which is now the lowest out of the five starters in the Brewers’ rotation.

George Kottaras got the Brewers on the board in the fourth inning with a solo shot off Cubs starter Rodrigo Lopez. That cut the Cubs’ lead in half, who had gotten two runs off Wolf courtesy of a lead-off solo homer by Starlin Castro and a RBI double by Jeff Baker.

Ryan Braun and the Brewers broke the game open and took the lead in the fifth inning on a RBI double. Two more runs scored after that thanks to an embarrassing throwing error by second baseman Darwin Barney. The Brewers also tacked on one more run in the seventh inning on a Prince Fielder RBI single.

Anyway, here’s a pretty big roster move for the Brewers: they’ve sent reliever Tim Dillard down to Triple-A, and brought up third baseman Taylor Green. This was somewhat of a surprise move, since Green was expected to join the team when rosters expand on September 1st. But I guess the Brewers wanted him up right now.

Green was putting up monster numbers in the Minors this year- he was batting .334 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs, so I guess he was due for callup at some point. But, I don’t know what kind of role he’s going to play for the Brewers right now. He could occasionally (or more than that) fill in for struggling third baseman Casey McGehee, who’s just been having a downright awful season from the start. Maybe that was the strategy behind this move, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I’m excited to see Green in action in the Majors, nonetheless.

As far as the DL for the Brewers goes, center fielder Carlos Gomez and second baseman are both making progress. Gomez said today that he’s ready for a rehab assignment, and that assignment would probably be for Class A Timber Rattlers. Weeks isn’t quite ready for a rehab assignment yet, and is pretty much just working on defense at this point, but he shouldn’t be far behind Gomez.

The Brewers will be going for a series win against the Cubs tomorrow in another night game. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a decent start against the Mets in which he gave up two runs in seven innings. Gallardo has dominated the Cubs in his career, going 3-1 with a 3.31 ERA against them.

The Cubs will counter with Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60 ERA), unfortunately. The reason I say unfortunately is because this guy is the definition of a Brewers-killer. He’s 15-4 with a 2.56 ERA against the Brewers in his career.


Recap of Brewers-Pirates series

August 25, 2011

I’m back. Sorry for not getting up posts for a few days, but I was out of town. Anyway, I should probably reflect a bit on the Brewers-Pirates series in Pittsburgh that took place while I was away.

The Brewers split that four-game series. That’s alright, I guess, but when the Brewers are playing the Pirates, you’d expect an easy four wins for the Brewers. But, the law of averages had to come into play eventually, meaning the Pirates couldn’t do this horrible against the Brewers forever.

Anyway, the offense for the Brewers was on and off all series. In the first game of the double-header, they made a mockery of the Pirates’ bullpen by scoring six runs off them in an 8-1 victory. But, the Pirates countered in the night game of the double-header, tagging Zack Greinke for seven runs in a 9-2 loss for the Brewers. Seven of their nine runs came in a never-ending seventh inning off Greinke and reliever Frankie De La Cruz.

But, the Brewers had a seven run inning of their own the next day. They crushed Ross Ohlendorf, who was making his return from the DL, for seven runs in the second inning, which was part of an 11-4 blowout win.

During the final game of the series, the offense pretty much disappeared. The Pirates won, 2-0. Pirates starter Aaron Thompson was making his Major League debut, and he did alright, I guess. He lasted just 4 1/3 innings, but didn’t give up a run. He allowed a lot of baserunners, but the Brewers weren’t executing with runners in scoring position at all. That was their 11th shutout loss of the year- all of which have come on the road.

Anyway, here are a few more things that took place while I was away.

Narveson moves to bullpen for the time being

Chris Narveson will be in the bullpen for the next two series or so. He’s typically the No. 5 guy in the Brewers’ rotation, but, due to scheduled off-days during the next stretch, they won’t need a fifth starter. That means they’ll be working with a four-man rotation (Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, and Randy Wolf). This move also gives the bullpen a lefty, something the Brewers’ bullpen has been lacking nearly all season.

But, I don’t know how much I like this move. It’s true that Narveson is only an average starter- he’s 9-6 with a 4.31 ERA- and isn’t a superstar ace, meaning they can go without him for awhile. But, during the next two series, the Brewers will be playing the Cubs and Cardinals- two teams that Narveson has had a ton of success against in his career. In my opinion, a more logical move would have been to move Wolf to the bullpen for a little while, because Wolf hasn’t had nearly the success against the Cubs and Cardinals that Narveson has. But, Narveson is the only guy in the rotation with recent bullpen experience (Greinke was in the Royals bullpen a few years back), so I guess that’s what this move was based off of.

Parra has ANOTHER setback…

Brewers pitcher Manny Parra had yet another setback yesterday. He’s going to need to undergo surgery to replace a screw in his elbow that’s been giving him some trouble recently.

Parra has been having setbacks all year, though. He probably would have made the Opening Day roster as a lefty out of the bullpen, but had back problems in Spring Training that kept him from that. Since then, he’s had simultaneous issues with both his back and elbow, and definitely won’t pitch again this year, not even in the Minors. But, if he can avoid undergoing major surgery (such as Tommy John Surgery), he could be ready to go by Spring Training in 2012.

In 2010, Parra had a disappointing season as a starter, and went 3-10 with a 5.02 ERA overall. But, he had success out of the bullpen that year, putting up a 2.93 ERA during appearances out of the ‘pen. And, since the Brewers already have five capable starters, Parra would have fit perfectly into the bullpen, being a lefty.

Parra will be arbitration eligible for the second time in his career this offseason, but, if he has yet another setback, I can’t imagine the Brewers will offer him arbitration. I’m even surprised with the patience they’re giving him at this point.

Anyway, that’s about all I have right now. The only other thing I missed was that Marco Estrada will be moving back to the bullpen after making his last start on Tuesday, and De La Cruz is probably going to be sent down, but that’s a pretty minor situation. The Brewers have an off-day today and will begin a series with the Cubs tomorrow, so, before I finish, here are the probable pitching matchups for the series:

Rodrigo Lopez (4-4, 4.97 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (10-8, 3.45 ERA)

Ryan Dempster (10-9, 4.60 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (14-8, 3.51 ERA)

Casey Coleman (2-6, 7.59 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (12-5, 4.22 ERA)