Sunday, January 27, 2008

In the News

Brewers Well-Armed
Tom Haudricourt feels about the same as I do about the battle for spots in the rotation. Sheets, Gallardo and Suppan are locks, Villanueva has a leg up on the fourth spot and Capuano is a good bet for the last spot since the Brewers expect him to bounce back and he's left-handed.

Haudricourt's Sunday piece also mentions third base prospect Mat Gamel, who had 53 errors at the hot corner in 113 Class-A games with West Virginia last year. The elite hitting prospect is getting one more shot this season at third and if he does not improve significantly, the Brewers will have to find another position for him.

The Brewers have less pitching than last year?
Sometimes I'm surprised at how little some sports columnists know and how much they pretend to know.

Chicago sports columnist Mike Nadel has this to say about the 2008 Brewers and why "even the flawed Cubs will have trouble choking away this division":
Milwaukee was a fashionable pick last season but had too little pitching to hold off an 85-win Cubs team. The Brewers again will hit, but they have even less pitching now. David Riske might be their closer . . . need I really say more? No, but I will: They’re counting on Jason Kendall to be their everyday catcher.
The Brewers starting five will all but certainly be better than last season. The team has to expect more from Sheets, Gallardo will be up a full season, Suppan is a solid #3, Villanueva, who has been very successful as a starter, should lock down a spot in the rotation for the whole season and Capuano would be among the best #5 pitchers in baseball. It seems like he might be talking more about the bullpen though, the bullpen that went through a major overhaul and added several arms (Gagne, Mota, Torres and Riske), not the "even less pitching" Nadel alludes to. Sure, they lost a reliable closer in Cordero, but most feel the bullpen as a whole will be improved in 2008 because of the depth. And Riske as the closer? He's probably the fourth or fifth option at closer with Gagne and Turnbow definitely getting shots before him and Mota and Torres likely also getting chances. If Bush is pushed to the bullpen, he could even get a shot at closing before Riske depending on how that transition works. Bush was a closer in college.

Yes, the Brewers are counting on Jason Kendall to be their regular catcher. Coincidentally, he's the catcher the Cubs relied on as their regular catcher at the end of last season when they went to the playoffs. And who is the new Cubs backstop? 25-year-old Geovany Soto, who has all of 80 major-league at bats and is all but a complete unknown as a major-league player. And Soto's back-up as he likely goes through struggles adjusting to MLB? Henry freakin' Blanco.

Need Mike Nadel say more? Please, no...

Koskie's goal: A normal life
Former Brewers third baseman Corey Koskie is still battling post-concussion syndrome related to his attempted catch on July 5, 2006. He has started light workouts again and is hoping for a comeback at some point, but it sounds like he's still many months away from taking the field. It'll probably be an uphill battle since he's not over the effects yet and is almost 35 now. I wish him the best of the luck.

Nunez willing to start season in AAA
From the
Brewers GM Doug Melvin said Nunez didn't receive other offers and is willing to open the season in Class AAA.
Nunez signed a minor-league contract with the Brewers, but I had not heard he had already said he'd start the year at AAA. I assumed his signing was along the lines of a tryout for the big-league club and if it didn't work out, the Brewers would let him go try to win a spot on someone else's team. I like the signing even more now because Nunez will be good insurance for injuries and won't take up a spot on the 25-man roster.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brewers should have a nice starting rotation, but I don't think Nadal's far off in his assessment of the catching situation. Kendall doesn't provide much anymore, and while he had a great August for the Cubs, he hit .183 with a .513 OPS in September. Soto hit .426 with a 1.206 OPS in September. Also, Soto has it all over Kendall defensively.

Soto obviously has to prove it over the course of a season, but I'd much rather have him than Kendall.

January 29, 2008 12:08 AM  

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