Archive for October, 2008

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Reaction to Macha

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

This Week’s Topic: What is your initial reaction to the hiring of Ken Macha as Brewers Manager?

Joe -

I like the managerial signing of Ken Macha. I think he is an established guy and he has shown he can win (winning two division titles in four years and never finishing with less than 88 wins).

I like that the Brewers actually have signed a guy who: a) is not a first year manager and b) is not a home grown guy. I think it will do this team some good to have some “outside” perspective.

Many Brewers fans are highly concerned over his reportedly poor relationships with his players while in Oakland. Personally, I am not too worried about it. First and foremost, if anyone has read a thing about Billy Beane and the way he runs his team, I am not one bit surprised that an Oakland manager had rocky relations with anyone. Second, I don’t really care how good his relationships are with the players if they win division titles and play well.

Ken Macha will not face the type of pressure and stress from Doug Melvin that he endured with Billy Beane in Oakland, and frankly, I completely trust Doug Melvin’s decision.

Jared -

I’m very happy with the Ken Macha hiring. I think I’ve outlined what I like about him on the site pretty well over the last few weeks (especially in this post: http://www.rightfieldbleachers.com/?p=2805). He fits basically every requirement I was hoping the manager would have. And I think he’s a great addition for the team.

After hearing his press conference, I’m even more confident in him. Some have criticized him for not having much personality, but he was very personable in his press conference and the interview he did on 1250 WSSP following the announcement. He cracked a handful of jokes that went over well and he was very upfront when reporters asked repeatedly about the supposed “disconnect” in Oakland. One of the things I truly did not like about Ned was how he handled the media, especially with the tough questions. He would not have handled the questions today well at all. I can already tell Macha is an upgrade in that department.

It was also reassuring that several players, including Kendall, have come forward and said they’re happy with the hiring and that Macha is not a horrible, disconnected manager that won’t have their backs. In fact, he sounds quite competent and the term “players manager” was even thrown around. There’s two sides to every story.

I’m not saying Macha is going to come in and suddenly transform this club into a 100-win team, but he was very clearly the best candidate of any who even received mention and he’s heads and shoulders above Randolph, who has to be held at least partly responsible for that complete disaster of a clubhouse in New York, and Brenly, who is regarded as a mental midget when it comes to baseball strategy.

I think we’ll all be very happy with the decision next season. Good work, Doug.

Tyler -

The announcement of Ken Macha as the 17th, and most recent, Brewers skipper isn’t at all surprising and it isn’t incredibly exciting either. It pretty much just is what it is.

I’d seen what Whitey had done in Oakland and you can’t hate that. He seems a good enough manager and all, but he’s not one that will blow people away with amazement. Not trying to take away all importance of a manager, but essentially past win/loss totals, the possible existence of a “disconnect” and anything else that happened in Oakland means very little to me. It’s all a matter of what is done now, with this team, with this general manager breathing down his liver-spotted neck.

And because none of that can be known until the season begins, I’m just happy to have Macha in place. He seemed to be one of the better, if not the best, manager available for hire based on what he’s done – but I’m most concerned on what he’ll do. I’m glad to have him, but I guess my overlying sentiment through all this is a slightly sarcastic “yay” because I’m just mostly glad it’s over with and the Brewers can now start signing or trading for people that will at least occasionally get up off the bench and play – you know, non-managers.

Johnny -

Macha Macha Man, I’ve got to be a Macha Man. Hahahahahaha! I am kidding eye-eddy. No, but I am serious. Macha was my favorite option. I really didn’t see an upgrade going Yost to Randolph, or Brenly. There is no way to predict how it will pan out, but one thing I do like is - every picture that the major sports channels show of Macha show him squinting. Which tells me he is both wise, and honorable. And even if he leads us nowhere, our players should, at least, pick up on some of his many proverbs are parables. To become a better athlete, you must become a better person. The more I read about Macha’s baseball philosophy the more I liked it. Hopefully his stern attitude and performance based lineups will be a spark to massive disappointments Billy Hall and Rickie Weeks. It would be great to watch them turn into real ball players.  But like Tyler said, at least it’s over. Now we can prepare the boom box’s dance mixes, so we can rejoice about the Jeff Francouer deal with Macha-rena’s and Macha-ritas. I am done.

Bryan -

I believe Macha coming to the Brewers shows how much the culture of the team has changed. 6 years ago, the Brewers wanted Macha as the “successor” to Jerry Royster to manage the team. The A’s gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse to be their manager. He knew the team and the A’s just won 103 games the past season. The Brewers, at the time, were mostly full of unknowns and had just lost 106 games the previous season. Macha went on to have 4 good years as manager in Oakland while Ned Yost started taking to change the culture in Milwaukee. Interesting how things intertwine. Side note, both searches included Wille Randolph and I’m glad he was not chosen either time.

A couple things he said during his press conference that I truly liked: First of all, when the inevitable question about Jason Kendall’s comments in Oakland, Macha said it’s not his job to be friends. It’s his job to create a line-up that will win. The main problem I had with Yost was that he seemed to play favorites with players and it doesn’t seem that will be the case with this team anymore.

Something else I enjoyed was that he’s ready to lead the team even if they can’t retain C.C. and/or Sheets. His attitude seems to be “been there, done that”, which is an important attitude right now with many Brewer fans currently scared of a CC-less team. He said it was similar to losing two of “the big three” in Mulder and Hudson. Now, neither of them were Cy Young winners, but the confidence he exudes will be good for the team and the fans.

Another thing I liked was that Melvin and Macha are both interested in retaining Dale Sveum. Even though I give him a hard time about some of his choices, Sveum is “Brewer People” which I believe you need in this town. Ned Yost and Dale Sveum understood how important this team is to Milwaukee and helped the players understand what it means to be a Brewer too. We lost that with Lopes, Royster, and yes, even Garner.

Finally, I’m glad he sounds like he will balance the team’s power with some small ball. Contrary to buzzword loving casual fans, the Brewers have too much wonderful power to be a small-ball centered team. Small ball does not contain mystical powers, nor does it solve all the worlds problems. But there’s nothing wrong with using elements of small ball late in the game, like Macha said, to get runners closer to scoring or to keep rallies going instead of dying out due to someone overswinging. Milwaukee was 5th in the majors with 324 doubles last year. If Macha can get more runners on base and in scoring position those doubles will turn into runs. And if a batter starts the inning with a double, let’s hope that runner has a better chance to score next year than this past year.

As of 11 pm Thursday night 55% of fans polled on JSonline said they liked the pick and 44% of fans did not like the pick. We have 5 glowing reviews of Macha here. Let’s hear what you have to say in our comments.

Brewers to Name Ken Macha New Skipper Today

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

As Tom Haudricourt, our own Jared, and pretty much every other butterface in and around baseball has predicted, the Milwaukee Brewers are set to name Ken Macha the club’s newest manager in a 2 p.m. (CST) press conference Thursday.

Macha’s last gig came as manager of the Oakland Athletics where he led the team to a 368-280 regular season record over four seasons (2003-2006). The A’s also won two AL West titles under Macha during that period.

Congrats, Ken. I’m glad to have you aboard.

Now let the offseason begin!

Update: Tom Haudricourt is reporting Macha is signed for two years, or through 2010. No word on coin at this time.

Congrats Jenks!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Geoff Jenkins and the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series tonight. Jenks hit a double and scored a run in the abbreviated Game 5.

Of course we would have loved to see Geoff win a ring with the Brewers, but it’s nice to see him collect the hardware in Philadelphia. He’s a classy guy that played on a lot of really bad teams in Milwaukee. We couldn’t be happier for him.

Notes: Gamel Wins Award

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Folks around baseball, however, know just how accomplished a player Gamel is. To that end, it was not much of a surprise when it was announced on Wednesday that the former fourth-round selection was named as the 21st annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, emblematic of the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year.

Congrats to Gamel for the honor.

Nashville Sounds May Be Sold

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

The Sounds may have a long-term future in Nashville after all:

Sources: Deal to Sell Sounds Imminent

A deal to sell the embattled Nashville Sounds to a New York-based group appears to be imminent, The City Paper has learned. Should that happen, it is possible a new stadium will follow.

The Sounds’ lease at Greer Stadium expires at the end of the year and negotiations between the team and Mayor Karl Dean’s office for an extension reached an impasse last week.

Yet, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told The City Paper a deal to sell the team and keep it in Nashville is in the works. Sources said a New York group of investors was the likely buyer.

Sounds like good news to me.

Trade Post: Kevin Seitzer

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008


This installment of Trade Post proves a bit more difficult than others because this particular trade involves two of my favorite Brewers all-time. On August 31, 1996 the Milwaukee Brewers sent third baseman Kevin Seitzer to Cleveland for a fairly unknown outfielder named Jeromy Burnitz.

Before Leaving Town:
At age 34, Seitzer had been to two all-star games, including one as a Brewer in the preceding 1995 season. In 1987, as a member of the Royals, Seitzer led the American League with 207 hits. Including the partial (132 games) in ’96, he’d surpassed the .300 batting average mark in three straight seasons (.314, .311, .316) prior to being dealt.

The Return:
At 27, Jeromy Burnitz was on his second team and had yet to do anything significant at the big league level apart for hitting a respectable 13 homers in his rookie season. At the time of the waiver trade with Milwaukee, Burnitz was amid a decent, albeit abbreviated season in a part time role. The Indians were in the running for the AL Central title (which they eventually won) and the Brewers were… well, not. With the Brewers on the hook for Seitzer’s, at the time, crippling $1.25 M salary and Burnitz under-utilized and unproven at $190,000 – the deal made sense for both teams involved.

The Payoff:
Seitzer finished 1996 hitting .386 as an Indian (32 for 83) and was perfect in the field. He proved a quality component in Cleveland’s playoff run. However, in the 1997 season – the last of his 12-season career, he hit .268 in just 64 games with just 24 RBI.

As most Brewer fans know, Jeromy Burnitz blossomed in a Brewers uniform. He hit a total of 165 homers and thrice reached the 100 RBI plateau in Milwaukee. He played in one all-star game (1999) and co-starring with Richie Sexson and Geoff Jenkins in parts of his five-plus years as a Brewer. Burnitz’s career ended in 2006 with over 300 HR and just under 1000 RBI.

Turned Into:
Prior to the 2002 season, Jeromy was the gemstone of a three-team, 10-player trade between the Brewers, Rockies and Mets. The Brewers sent Burnitz and three other players to New York for (ugh) Alex Ochoa, Lenny Harris and Glendon Rusch.

The Winner:
Milwaukee - hands down. Beyond the extra playoff help in 1996, Kevin Seitzer did little to help the tribe, whereas Burnitz put together some great (and cheap) seasons for some terrible Brewer teams. His name will live on in Brewers lore, despite his only racking up some very impressive numbers in some of the teams’ worst chapters.

Welcome to Milwaukee, Ken Macha

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel says the manager job is going to Ken Macha. In an interview today on 540 ESPN Radio, Haudricourt said all of his sources are pointing to Macha and that he believes the Brewers will make the announcement before the end of the week. When a beat writer is that confident something is going to happen, he’s probably right.

Haudricourt added that Dale Sveum will likely be back as bench coach and Mike Maddux, Bill Castro and Ed Sedar will also be retained.

Congratulations, Ken. And welcome to Milwaukee!

This Is Really Pathetic…

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I thought the Eddie Veder Cubs song had to be the bottoming out for pathetic Cubs fans:

 

 

But this guy pushed it to epically horrible proportions:

 

 

Seriously?

I’m never going to try to get into the twisted mind of a Cubs fan so I guess I’ll never understand the strange, almost cult-like embracing of losing. Would Cubs fans even be happy if their team actually won the Series some time?

Of course nothing could ever be this brutal:

Will $100 Million Lure CC Back?

Monday, October 27th, 2008

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that the Brewers could offer CC Sabathia a four-year, $100 million contract:

The figure I’m hearing that Milwaukee might offer CC? $100 mill for four years. They’re hoping that by going with fewer years and more per year, they can keep him. He’s indicated to friends a serious interest in staying there, he liked it so much.

The Brewers might help their chances of signing him if they pick up the option on Cameron, who’s a good friend of CC’s.

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors weighs in:

With Cameron, the Brewers figure to have over $70MM committed (not including Chris Capuano).  It’s hard to see the Brewers backloading an already huge $25MM salary to Sabathia, so they’d probably have to take payroll to the mid $90MM range to fit him in.  Keeping Cameron and Sabathia would seem to limit roster construction - it could necessitate a Prince Fielder or J.J. Hardy trade, or leave little money for third base or the bullpen.

I was waiting to hear a rumor about the figures the Brewers would offer so we could start to figure out how serious the Brewers will be in their attempt to resign Sabathia. If these figures are true, or even close to true, (and remember, this is just a rumor from an Atlanta newspaper), the Brewers are very, very serious. Committing $25 million a year to one player will stretch the Brewers financially. That is a fact. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that they paid the whole team $25 million. If this rumor is true, it’s a clear sign that the Brewers have no intentions of sitting back for a year or two and letting the young team develop before pushing for another playoff run. Teams with $90-95 million payrolls expect to win now.

From CC’s perspective, this has to be attractive. He has made it no secret that he enjoyed his time with the Brewers and is close to several of his Brewer teammates. He’d be coming back to a clubhouse he is comfortable in and remain a part of a young team with a powerful offense that should continue to grow for the next several seasons. Sabathia would be leaving some money on the table since he’d be giving up two years, but he’d be getting more money per season. Plus, he’d be just 32 when he’d be hitting the open market again, likely for his last big contract. I’m guessing teams would pay a lot more for a 32-year-old pitcher than a 34-year-old.

There is little doubt the Yankees are going to set the price for Sabathia. If Sabathia wants top dollar, he’ll go there and I wouldn’t blame him a bit. But he has said that an environment that’s right for his family and personal happiness are also very important to him. Milwaukee can offer both, and apparently the Brewers won’t look too shabby from a financial standpoint either.

It’s probably still a long shot, but there’s reason to hope, Brewers fans.

Brewmors Update (10/26)

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Here are the Brewmors from the past week. Make sure to check the main Brewmors page for all the updates.

 

  • Will the Mariners trade Beltre? - Eli, Eli’s MLB Rumors (10/23/08)

The Giants, Diamondbacks, and Brewers are all possibilities for Beltre, who has one year and twelve million dollars remaining on his salary. A team like the Brewers could take a chance on him because not only will he be better than Bill Hall, but his numbers should improve entering a contract year.

 

If money were no object, the Brewers would have already handed Sabathia a blank check. But unless the team somehow negotiates a new television deal that pays like Miller Park is in Chicago, it becomes difficult to fit a player like Sabathia onto a realistic Brewers roster.

 

  • Finding a good fit - Tony Massarotti, Boston Globe (10/23/08)

For beginners, Sox officials generally have refrained from throwing silly dollars at starting pitchers on the open market, particularly ones in their 30s. (In Sabathia’s case, Sox officials privately have expressed concerns about his long-term durability.)

 

  • Yank’s Plans May Include Cameron - By George A. King III and Bart Hubbuch (10/23/08)

According to an industry source, the Yankees are waiting to see if the Brewers pick up a $10 million option on Cameron, who will be 36 in January.

If they don’t, the source said, the Yankees have targeted him because they consider him an upgrade at center field, where they have Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon.

Insomniac Ink