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

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Fielder, Rodriguez starting to stir up distractions at wrong time

September 15, 2011

The Brewers aren’t acting like they’re in a pennant race right now. Well, at least two players on the team aren’t. Those two are already complaining, and looking forward to next year- something you just don’t do in sports.

The Brewers fell to the Rockies today, 6-2. The offense was again a no-show, as the mustered just two runs. But, with the Brewers having not scored more than three runs since September 5th, you start to get used to that. And Shaun Marcum got shelled again at home, because he’s the rare good pitcher on the road. Just another thing you get used to. Marcum gave up six runs (five earned) in five innings for his second straight bad start.

Normally, I’d be mad about this loss. And I am. But, there are a couple things that are making me more mad, and could mess up the Brewers for the rest of the season. Those things are the two players I mentioned earlier are the cause.

It was Prince Fielder and Francisco Rodriguez- two key pieces if the Brewers make the postseason (I didn’t imagine I’d being saying “if” at this point). So here’s what Fielder said to TBS earlier today:

“I’m signed for this year, but being real about it, it is probably the last year.”

Unbelievable. I’m sorry, but that’s just an inexcusable comment to make during a pennant race, of all times. Maybe he was questioned about it (which I actually think he was), but he’s been being questioned about it all year, and didn’t say anything. And he chooses now to say it? That means he’s already looking forward to next year and signing with a big-market team for more money, something the Brewers probably can’t offer him.

But at least Fielder didn’t say it in a complaining way, unlike Rodriguez. Here’s what K-Rod had to say about the bullpen situation:

“There’s been plenty of save opportunities, and I’ve only pitched once in the ninth inning, and it was not even a save opportunity. I’m not happy. It’s simple. That’s the bottom line. They told me one thing, they haven’t done it, and that’s pretty much what I said. I stand by what I said. Don’t tell me something if you’re not going to do it. That’s what irritates me most. They told me they were going to do something, and they didn’t. Simple as that. I’m trying to pretty much come in every day ready to pitch and get my job done where they need me. At the same time, I had an expectation, like every other player. They told me they were going to do something, and never did it. That’s why I can be a little disappointed by the situation.”

Here’s what I would say to K-Rod: SHUT UP. You’re lucky enough to be pitching forĀ  a contending team. Would you rather set up for a contender like the Brewers, or close for the pushover Mets? “It’s as simple as that.”

And John Axford is the better closer anyway! He had better numbers before K-Rod came over, and is 19-for-19 in save opportunities since K-Rod arrived. So he thinks that the Brewers are just going to yank out their lights out closer just so they can put in a guy that will whine if he doesn’t get to close? This is the Major Leagues, K-Rod. I thought he would have learned that by now, being in the Majors since 2002. Apparently not, though.

But here’s another crazy stat: Axford makes 4% of what Rodriguez makes. 4%. And Rodriguez is the one complaining? Unbelievable. But, I guess I should have expected it, considering the only two other teams K-Rod has pitched for are the Angels and the Mets (Los Angeles and New York have giant markets compared to Milwaukee). He just expects things to be given to him at this point.

Anyway, I’m done ranting about that now. But I just can’t believe Fielder and K-Rod are bringing out these distractions at this time of year. And maybe all this been going on for longer than we think, and that’s why the Brewers are slumping. That wouldn’t surprise me.

With all that aside, just a few more things: Mike Fiers made his Major League debut today. He pitched a scoreless ninth, and looked a little shaky, but had a decent pickoff move and struck out two. Also, reliever LaTroy Hawkins is the Brewers nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, an award given to a player who does something for their community off the field (it really has nothing to do with performacne on the field). If I remember correctly, Tim Wakefield of the Red Sox won it last year. But it would be cool for Hawkins to win it; he definitely deserves an award like that. Lastly, the 2012 schedules have been announced. The Brewers will open the season at home against the Cardinals, and will end the season at home against the Padres. The Interleague schedule consists of MUCH easier teams than we had this year- the Royals, White Sox, Twins, and Blue Jays. None of those teams have winning records right now.

The Brewers have an off-day tomorrow, but will start a series in Cincinnati on Friday. Randy Wolf (12-9, 3.44 ERA) will go for the Brewers, and he’s coming off a good start against the Phillies in which he went seven innings while giving up two runs, but took a no-decision. He’s 10-4 with a 3.40 ERA in his career against the Reds.

The Reds will counter with Bronson Arroyo (8-11, 5.28 ERA). The good news about him is he’s already given up 40 homers this year, but the bad news is that he always has the Brewers’ number. He’s 11-7 with a 3.66 ERA in his career against the Brewers.