Archive for December, 2008

In the News (12/31)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Brewers News

- Winter League update from Brew Crew Ball.

- Matt Gamel had an interview last May while in Huntsville. Check it out. That channel on Youtube also has Angel Salome, Ryan Braun, and Jeremy Jeffress.

- Newly Drafted Brett Lawrie won Canada’s Langley Advance’s Sport Personality of the year.

- Bernie’s Crew profiles Lee Haydel. They see him as a C+ prospect.

Rumors and Speculation

- Brew Crew Ball says that the Brewers are paying close attention to Mark Mulder. I really hope if they’re paying attention to this injury prone pitcher, that they are still paying attention to a certain Ben Sheets.

- Are the Brewers getting a Sunday Night game on Fox? The Twins may have leaked the answer.

- We’re not sure how interested the Brewers were in him, but Brian Fuentes seems to be going to the Angels.

NL Central

- Cubs might send Jason Marquis for former Brewer Luis Vizcaino. Sean Marshall is predicted to step into his spot in the rotation. Fun stat note: Vizcaino has a 6.61 ERA in Wrigley.

Other News

- Orioles are considering Richie Sexson.

- Claudio Vargas was signed by the Dodgers for 400K.

The Milwaukee Brewers Should Sign Joe Crede

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

I realize that this is probably unlikely given the team’s signing of Mike Lamb as the platoon partner for Bill Hall, as well as the imminent rise of Mat Gamel to the Major League level as soon as this year. However, I think having those two players as potential replacements makes taking a risk on Joe Crede an even better idea.

With Russell Branyan leaving us for Seattle, it’s clear that we need another player to take on the role of platoon. One would expect that this replacement would have to be, like the muscle, left handed, such as Lamb or Gamel. However, there are two things that should be taken into consideration here. First, defense. A player that hits right handers better than Hall and plays solid (average or better) defense at third base would be worth platooning with hall. Secondly, and the reason that a Hall/Crede platoon would be viable, is reverse platoon splits. Although it is rare, occasionally a player comes around who hits same-handed pitchers as good or even a little bit better than he hits other pitchers. Crede certainly fits this mold over the last few years, having a better AVG, SLG, OPS, and wOBA against RHP over each of the last 3 years. This is pretty consistent with his overall career numbers. To see the complete numbers, see here

To see the actual value of a Crede/Hall platoon, I ran a Marcel-type analysis on Crede’s vs. RHP numbers, much like I did with Mike Lamb and Hall in this post. I’ll throw in the numbers from that one here for easy comparison.

Name VS. PA wOBA BRAA FRAA POSADJ REPADJ RAR WAR
Crede RHP 484 0.341 8 7.33 1.73 13.83 30.89 2.94
Lamb RHP 484 0.329 0 -8.94 1.73 13.83 6.62 0.63
Hall LHP 216 0.369 7.51 2.21 0.77 6.17 16.66 1.59
Hall/Crede Both 700 - 15.51 9.54 2.5 20 47.55 4.53
Hall Both 700 0.325 -2.43 -1.08 2.5 20 18.99 1.81
Hall/Lamb Both 700 - 7.51 -9.27 2.5 20 20.74 1.98

The difference between the Crede/Hall platoon and the Lamb/Hall platoon is 2.55 wins, and the Crede/Hall platoon is 2.72 wins better then just Hall alone. This adds up to somewhere around 10 million dollars or more for the Brewers, as well as increasing their current win expectation from the 83-85 win range to the 85-87 win range.  So we can see that a Crede/Hall platoon is potentially quite valuable for Milwaukee. The only question mark with this platoon is whether or not Crede can stay healthy enough to record the 450-500 PAs necessary to fulfill his duties with the platoon, and I feel that’s where most of the reprehension that Brewers fans (and more importantly, the Brewers front office) would have towards Crede would come in. This feeling, however, is likely spread across all of MLB, and could potentially drive his value down low enough where the risk would be worth offering a one year deal to. Personally, I feel like Joe Crede could be the Mike Cameron of 2009 if given the chance, and I think he would be perfect for the same type of deal that Cameron received in the winter of 2008. He could, ideally, be the bridge to Gamel in a year or two.

In the News (12/30)

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Brewers News

- For those worried that a slumping economy coupled with the Brewers loss of CC Sabathia and likely loss of Ben Sheets would leave the Brewers in a tough spot financially, there is good news. According to Brewers’ executive vice president for business operations, Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers’ organization is looking “very good” financially.

- The Brewers trade for CC Sabathia comes in at number 5 of this sites top 10 MLB stories of 2008. It’s number one on my list. Awww.

- You can watch game 7 of the 1982 World Series here. Not sure why you’d want to do that to yourself though.

Minor Leagues

- Brewers blogs Between the Green Pillars and Bernie’s Crew are in conjunction in releasing their list of top 25 Brewers’ prospects. Between the Green Pillars lists LHP Evan Frederickson at number 25. Jim at Bernie’s Crew has RHP Evan Anundsen as his 25th best prospect.

- Brew Crew Ball hooks us up with a Winter League update.

Rumors

- Buster Olney has a list of free agents on his blog worth taking a look at. Number 1 on his list is Mark Mulder. He has an interesting take on him. He had a couple monster seasons before being coached by Duncan in St. Louis, so I don’t think it’s completely irrational to think he could bounce back. Buster has Eric Gagne on his list as well. I’m interested to see what he’ll sign for. He also lists Guillermo Mota at the end of his blog.

NL Central

- This Pirates blog asks, “Are the Pirates losing on purpose?“

- Amongst the reports of other MLB owners “supporting” the Yankees and discounting Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio’s claim that baseball needs a salary cap, there is another NL Central owner who agrees that baseball may need a cap.

Other News

- Rattler Radio has a quick blog about Wisconsin bred actor Tom Wopat (you know…Luke Duke from the Dukes of Hazzard) and his disappointment that Sabathia didn’t resign with the Brewers.

- MinorLeagueBall.com lists the Cleveland Indians’ top 20 prospects. They list Matt LaPorta at number 2, Michael Brantley at number 11 and Rob Bryson at number 19. No offense Taylor Green, but I wish Brantley was still in the Brewers system. No regrets though!

- Are the Pirates going to sign Derrick Turnbow? I’m for it.

- The Dodgers are reportedly looking into free agent Adam Dunn. Apparently the interest is mutual. Jared will lose sleep tonight.

In the News (12/29)

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Brewers News

- Adam McCalvy and Dave Fultz did a season-in-review piece on the 2008 Brewers.

- The Brewers are ranked dead last in the Baseball Digest Daily Hot Stove Power Rankings. The Brewers have lost Sabathia, will likely lose Sheets, their closer retired, other bullpen arms are on their way out, a hotly speculated trade has fallen through, their top scout left the organization for a GM job and the team has made no significant moves… The ranking makes sense. I’m not down on Melvin or his staff for anything they’ve done, but I am very hungry for some good news.

- The Brewers hitters are third best in the NL Central with their current roster based on WAR. The roster obviously isn’t complete yet and I’d like to think they can catch the Cardinals with a few moves before the season begins.

- Keith Law says Doug Melvin is right, the compensation system is broken. More from Melvin on the subject in Buster Olney’s blog.

- The Brewers reportedly had significant interest in knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, but Dickey signed with the Twins. He felt he had the best opportunity to pitch in the Majors there. Dickey pitched in the Brewers system in Nashville, his hometown, in 2007.

- Brewers Bar thinks the Teixeira signing could be good news for Brewers fans because with Big Tex at first, the Yankees won’t look to sign Prince when he becomes a free agent. Unfortunately, I don’t think it matters. If the Yankees want Prince, they’d probably sign him to play at DH anyway. And Prince is going to go for top dollar regardless of where he ends up. Some team will pay him more than the Brewers should. That’s why I think he’ll be traded before he hits free agency.

Rumors and Speculation

- Two of the more affordable starting pitching options are now off the market. Brad Penny signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox and Randy Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Giants. Penny’s deal reportedly includes a $5 million base salary with up to an additional $3 million in incentives. Johnson’s deal is for $8 million. I would have been thrilled if the Brewers could have lured either to Milwaukee with similar offers, but it looks like they’ll have to look to ink lesser arms like Braden Looper or (hopefully) get in touch with Ben Sheets and bring him back to Beer Town.

- Speaking of Sheets, he hasn’t received an offer from the Rangers yet, though they are still reportedly interested in him.

- Now that the Giants have signed Johnson, they will listen to offers for Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez is a nice young pitcher that the Brewers would certainly be interested in. The Giants need offense and the Brewers could seemingly spare a bat for a pitcher. I’m sure Doug Melvin has been on the phone with Brian Sabean, but the Giants aren’t going to move Sanchez unless they get a big offer.

- Buster Olney says the Brewers have no interest in Manny Ramirez. Good.

- Now that the Yankees have a crowded outfield after the Teixeira signing pushed Nick Swisher to the outfield, they might be looking to trade an outfielder. Matsui will likely DH most of the time. Nady will probably play one corner. Swisher or Damon will likely play the other corner. Centerfield is where it gets interesting. Swisher or Damon can play center, but neither is ideal there defensively. And Cabrera underperformed offensively last year so the NY brass might not feel comfortable with him there in 2009 (hence the Cameron trade discussions). If the Yankees were willing to swap Swisher for Cameron, would the Brewers be interested? It would create a defensive hole at center (Swisher is not a natural centerfielder and Hart and Braun aren’t either, but are young enough and athletic enough to be groomed there), but Swisher is the kind of player the Brewers could use, a high OBP guy. He had a down year last year, but much of that could be credited to the fact that he was hitting in a unnatural spot (leadoff) and playing out of position (center). He’d fit well in the #2 spot in the batting order in Milwaukee, taking pitches so Weeks can steal more and getting on base so Braun and Fielder can drive him in. He could also move to first if Prince is traded at some point. Swisher is signed for three years for a total of $22 million. It’s an interesting idea and one I wouldn’t mind the Brewers exploring. Are there some burned bridges between these two teams now though?

- Former Rangers reliever Akinori Otsuka will reportedly try out for all 30 teams next month. He didn’t pitch last year and is 37 so he’ll probably come pretty cheap. He was a very good reliever before he was slowed by injury. The Mariners and Padres appear to be the teams Otsuka would like to pitch for, but the Brewers could try to lure him to Milwaukee for the right price if he proves he’s healthy.

Minor Leagues

- Brett Christopherson of the Appleton Post-Crescent penned a Timber Rattlers-themed version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

NL Central

- The Reds signed Willy Taveras. Taveras is overvalued because of his speed (much like Juan Pierre). I guess it’s nice that he provided 68 stolen bases last year, but that .308 OBP is pretty brutal for a top-of-the-order guy…

Other News

- Former Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn has been brought back to manage the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Class-A Northwest League’s Western Division.

My Spreadsheet Spits Out Something Ridiculous

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

I’ve finally figured out everything I need to show the results for this post, and the results kind of surprised me.

You can see everything in this spreadsheet.

Here are the lineups that it came up with:

Lineup Slot POS BestLHP Runs POS BestRHP Runs
1 LF Braun 37.37 2B Counsell 55.01
2 2B Durham 62.28 1B Fielder 90.75
3 1B Fielder 27.15 CF Cameron 57.4
4 RF Kapler 48.03 3B Branyan 90.26
5 SS Hardy 44.21 LF Braun 75.03
6 CF Cameron 41.65 RF Kapler 53.85
7 3B Hall 35.75 SS Hardy 52.92
8 SP/PH SP/PH 9.77 SP/PH SP/PH 19.54
9 C Kendall 20.5 C Kendall 38.44
. TOTAL 326.71 TOTAL 533.2
PER GAME 6.05 PER GAME 4.94

Obviously this isn’t realistic at all, but I think it’s kind of interesting to see what these role players could have done in a perfect world.  Clearly, these lineups aren’t the kind of lineups that would hold up over the course of the season.  However, I think it does show something interesting - the importance of OBP.  The guys with the higher OBPs are the guys that you see higher in the lineup - and are the guys that are just plain better overall.  That’s one of the problems with the Brewers lineup as it is - when players are getting on base, the high SLG guys will knock them in consistently, but when guys aren’t getting on in front of them, they can go completely anemic.

The best lineup posted in the comments was Jared’s, and the worst was Kevin’s.  Kendall’s OBP only looks good compared to his SLG, Kevin.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Christmas Edition

Friday, December 26th, 2008

This Week’s Topic - Let’s get into the giving mood: What presents would you give members of the Milwaukee Brewers?

Bryan -

First of all, Santa Bryan wants to thank the entire team for getting to the playoffs and the entire city of Milwaukee for getting behind them.

Now the real presents:

For Yovani Gallardo, I would give a coat of armor for those run-ins with Prince Fielder.

For Corey Hart, I would give him a doctor’s check up. If he thought the fans weren’t behind him last year, he obviously needs his eyes, ears, and heart checked out.

For Dale Sveum, I would give him his kick ass 80’s stache again and a thank you card for not letting the team completely implode.

For Mike Cameron, I would give a calendar in which every month is August.

For David Riske who is missing his friend in C.C. Sabathia, I would give a Snuggie (It’s a blanket with arm holes and pockets!!! Holy Crap!!!! It’s like a bathrobe in reverse!!!!! I’m running out of exclamation points to talk about this life altering product)

For Jason Kendall, I would give overtime pay.

For Mike Rivera, I would give a warming massage chair…I mean the guy sits there all the time, might as well be relaxed.

For Seth McClung, I would give another beer to shotgun.

Bill Castro already received his Christmas gift.

For Chris Capuano, I would give tape of the first half of the 2006 season.

To Salomon Torres, a retirement gift, a Shamwow for all the messes he mopped up and for some he created.

For J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder, I would offer just a sincere request to look into a long term deal. I know it won’t happen, but it is the season for giving…

Jack -

Ho ho ho!  I would give Doug Melvin a loophole that let’s him burn up Jeff Suppan’s contract.  And I’d give CC Sabathia a higher rank than Mark Teixeira in the Elias Rankings!

For Bill Hall, a pink bat to use every game of the year.

For Mike Rivera, a plate appearance.  He never gets these any more!

For Ken Macha, a suitable platoon partner for Hall.

For Rickie Weeks, an outfielder’s glove.  Because you just never know.

For Jeff Suppan, a lump of coal.  Grr!

Joe -

When Bryan e-mailed us the topic for this week, my first thought was, “These dudes are rich. What do they need?” I soon realized that is not the attitude to have. Professional athletes are people too. They have feelings, and even though they can pretty much buy themselves anything they want, they probably still like receiving gifts. With that said, this is a list of what I would give Brewers players for Christmas:

Rickie Weeks - I would hook Rickie up phatty with his favorite bat from college. I would couple this with a new MLB rule that allows only Rickie Weeks to use aluminum bats. Also, there would be a new rule (also in place only for Rickie) that disallows pitchers to throw him any off-speed pitches. Nice.

JJ Hardy - Hardy’s an all-star, millionaire, and a sexy stud. What does he need? I’d get him the same thing I get everyone else that I don’t know what to buy. A Target Gift Card.

Ryan Braun - I’d provide Ryan with an endless amount of young, gorgeous virgins!

Prince Fielder - Boxing gloves and a sweet new butterfly tattoo for the other side of his neck. B.A.

Corey Hart - I’d give Corey Hart an ITunes Gift Card. That way maybe he’d broaden his musical horizons and spare us all of that horrible fricking AB song.

Mike Cameron - I’d just give Mike a hug. What a good guy.

Bill Hall - An “I Love Mom” coffee mug.

Jason Kendall - I’d resort to the good ol’ coupon book Christmas gift. Included would be a “free off day” coupon, “free beard trim” coupon, and a coupon for a free game of bowling. Good anywhere.

Yovani Gallardo - The realization that he shouldn’t play in the World Baseball Classic.

David Bush - A puppy. British Bulldog to be exact.

Jeff Suppan - I wouldn’t give Jeff anything. Take that back. On behalf of the Brewers, I’d issue him a bill for $8.25 million. Due immediately.

Manny Parra - Attitude.

That’s all I can afford. Hopefully the other guys would get the rest of the players and the coaches something.

In the News (12/24)

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

 

...had just settled down for a long winter's nap

Brewers News

- The Brewers made Yahoo’s Offseasons to forget list. Wow…let’s let the offseason get close to finishing, ok guys?

- Well, it does add insult to injury that the Brewers no longer get the Yankees top pick because of the Teixeira signing.

- Melvin and Co. are taking a break for the holidays. So…this means no Christmas Surprise this year?

- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio believes baseball needs a salary cap. He said he wanted this before and especially after the Yankees got Tex. Interesting quoteable:

“I paid $220 million for my team; now they get three players for $420 million.”

 

Rumors and Speculation

- Ken Rosenthal said the Brewers were looking into Adam Dunn if they traded Cameron. I know he whiffs alot, but imagine a line up with Braun, Fielder, Dunn in the middle. Nice, isn’t it? I still don’t believe it will happen though. I honestly believe the Brewers are going to keep the outfielders they have now (maybe still trade Cam, but probably won’t since the Yankees are re-warming up to Melky Cabrera and the Brewers won’t pay for Cam and Igawa). If they do anything, it will be pitching or infield (namely 3rd and 2nd base options) related.

Other News

- Our Jared participated in a roundtable on Bernie’s Crew’s website. Ch-Check it out.

- Beyond the Box Score talks Turnbow. Basically comes up with the conclusion that Brewer fans knew: He has some nasty stuff when he’s focused, but even then if hitters are patient, he will rarely go inside and they will find something to hit.

- ESPN’s Page 2 sent Wisconsin a card care of C.C. and Brett.

 

In the News (12/23)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

Brewers News

- Kind of a slow day today. Sorry I don’t have more. The hot story in the world of the Milwaukee Brewers in the past couple days has been the reported interest in signing Braden Looper. Doug Melvin mentioned in yesterday’s JSOnline article that he expected to touch base with Looper’s agent in the next few days, but there hasn’t been anything new on that front as of late Monday.

- This weeks mailbag at Brewers.com focuses on free agent pitchers, specifically the possibility of resigning Ben Sheets. The article also talks about Sabathia’s comments about the Brewers not being competitive.

- Check out the Brewers ‘08 season in this slide show at BleacherReport.com.

- Bernies Crew interviews Baseball Musings David Pinto. Mr Pinto talks about what he believes to be the Brewers off season plans.

Minor Leagues

- The sale of the Nashville Sounds to New York business man Frank Ward makes Nashville’s CityPaper’s top stories of ‘08. Nothing new here, but it can’t hurt to read again. Right?

NL Central

- The Pirates signed Denny Bautista as well as some other dudes to minor league contracts.

Other News

- The Oakland Athletics named former Brewers hitting coach Jim Skaalen as their new hitting coach today. Good luck Jim.

- Fan Graphs discusses Adam Dunn’s stats in breaking down what he’s worth. It will be interesting to see what happens with Dunn. I don’t see him becoming a Brewer, though I wouldn’t mind it. We’ll see just how badly he wants to be a Cub. Or for that matter, how badly the Cubs want Dunn.

- Should caffeine be banned in baseball? An interesting read.

- Apparently the Nationals are considering uping their offer to free agent Mark Teixeira. Do you think he’d sign with the Nationals if they offer him 9-10 years at $20 million a year? I really doubt it. If the Red Sox are really ready to offer at least $165 million over any length of time, he has to accept. Though, you can never underestimate the pull of Satan himself, Scott Boras. I just hope he signs soon so we can get a move on with this whole free agent phenomenon. On a quick side note, thanks for trying to ruin the game I love, Scott. You’re super!

- The Packers are horribly pathetic. Tonight’s game was embarrassing.

Think you’re better than Yost or Sveum? Try it! Make a lineup!

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

So to go along with my lineup analysis post, I’ve calculated the run value for every brewer player with over 100 ABs for every lineup slot, as well as some platoon values for selected players.  So now I can find the optimal lineup for the Brewers 2008 season.

But now I ask you - can you?

We’re assuming that every player listed below can finish a full season (or in the case of Branyan, a full season as the lefty half of a platoon).  I want to see how well you guys can make a lineup.  You might be surprised at what the optimal lineup actually is.

RULES -
1.  You must fill each position.
2.  You will have some platoon options.  If you use a platoon, you must post two SEPARATE lineups for vs. RHP and vs. LHP.
3. Platoons will be counted as vs. RHP 2/3 of the time, vs. LHP 1/3.  This is crude but it tends to work well for platoons.
4. Each lineup must include a pitcher.  The pitcher’s spot is counted at 65% pitcher batting, 35% league average pinch hitter batting.

OPTIONS FOR EACH POSITION.
C: Kendall
1B: Fielder, Fielder/Branyan Platoon
2B: Durham, Hall, Weeks, Counsell, any platoon of those.
SS: Hardy, Counsell, Hall, any platoon.
3B: Hall, Counsell, Hall/Branyan, Hall/Counsell, Counsell/Branyan.
OF: Kapler, Hart, Cameron, Braun, any platoon.

Whoever makes the best lineup wins some pride.  Sorry,  I don’t have anything to offer!

In the News (12/22)

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Brewers News

- CC Sabathia wants Cameron with him in New York. He speaks very highly of Cameron’s play and clubhouse presence:

“Cameron’s awesome. That clubhouse we had in Milwaukee, a big reason it was the way it was, was because of Cameron. He’s a guy [who's] never had a bad day in his life. He comes in every day with the same attitude and plays hard and has fun, and I think that rubs off.”

Jeff Cirillo said very similar things about Cameron in an interview with Right Field Bleachers last season:

Mike Cameron is by far the best teammate I’ve ever played with. Last year when I was in Milwaukee with Doug Melvin, I told him he’s the best player I ever played with because rain or shine, good or bad, Mike Cameron still shows up every day with the reflection of he’s appreciative of where he’s at, and that’s playing big league baseball.

The loss of Cameron the player would be tough to overcome if he was traded, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that his off-field contributions at least as difficult to replace.

- Chris Capuano continues to make progress in his recovery from his second Tommy John surgery. He says he chose to sign with the Brewers again for two reasons:

“They’re a classy organization, and I didn’t want to be sitting around until some time in February, looking for a team.”

-  Scott Thorman, who plays the corner infield and outfield spots, is dedicated to getting back to the big leagues and contributing, so much so that he says he’d even decline an invitation to participate on the Canadian team in the World Baseball Classic:

The change of scenery has Thorman pumped. He’s running and lifting weights daily and hitting the batting cage sooner and harder than usual. He has played both hot corners and patrolled the outfield in his career with the Braves. But he realizes he won’t be displacing all-star first baseman Prince Fielder with the Brew Crew.

“For me I would be looking to make the team as a pinch hitter or backup first base, third base or left field,” the former Preston High School student said. “Hopefully it’s somewhere I can make the big league club if not out of spring training, then some point through the year.”

- Brew City Sports has some fun with the Brewers offseason thus far.

- Ken Macha says his passion is more understated than that of more over-the-top managers like Lou Piniella.

- There are some comments from Josh Kusnick, the agent for several Brewer minor leaguers, in the above article as well. Josh’s blog and his openness in general is a refreshing change of pace from baseball agents.

Rumors and Speculation

- The Brewers are interested in Braden Looper. This is not surprising since the Brewers need starting pitching and Looper is a decent option that would come cheaper than any of the frontline free agents. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe said this deal was “close,” but Melvin told the Journal-Sentinel he hasn’t spoke with Looper’s agent in days. I think adding Looper would be like bringing in another Dave Bush, which, while not being a headline-grabbing move, would help improve the back end of the rotation, likely at an affordable price. My biggest concern would be the dropoff Looper would experience from having Bill Castro as his pitching coach instead of Dave Duncan. This is not to say I think Castro is a bad coach. Duncan is just notorious for taking mid-level starters and bumping their game up to the next level.

- Cheesehead Sports takes a deeper look at Looper.

- The Yankees reportedly want nothing to do with Ben Sheets. And I continue to wait for a report that the Brewers do want something to do with him…

- Brian Fuentes’ price is going down and the Brewers remained connected to him in rumors. I don’t get the impression the Brewers are hard after him, but they’ve probably indicated they would be interested if the price is right. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have reportedly gone after Fuentes hard, but the team is apparently now considering to dropping out of the Fuentes sweepstakes. I don’t expect to see Fuentes in Milwaukee. He’ll get good money from the Cardinals, Angels or another team looking for a closer. Remember too that he’s a Type A free agent so the Crew would have to give up a first-round draft pick to sign him.

- A Mariners blog suggests a trade of Fielder/Hardy for Erik Bedard/Adrian Beltre/Ryan Rowland-Smith. Uh, yeah… One of the best young powerhitters in the game and one of the best young shortstops for a starter coming off an injury in the last year of his contract, an overpaid third baseman in the last year of his contract and a young lefty that projects as a middle-to-end-of-the-rotation guy. I think Bedard and Beltre could both have value for Milwaukee, but if the Brewers trade Prince or Hardy, it will be for players they could keep on their team for a while. The only reason they’d trade them is if they don’t think they’ll be able to sign them when they become free agents (three more seasons away for Prince and two for Hardy). Trading two key pieces of the team for one-year rentals would make no sense at all.

- Another Mariner’s blog, Bleeding Blue and Teal, more accurately sums up Brewer/Mariner rumors and speculation: “Brewers Don’t Need Washburn.” Washburn’s name seems to come up in Brewer rumors every offseason, seemingly because he’s from Wisconsin. That’s nice and all, but he’s an average pitcher at best and is overpaid. The Brewers can find another guy to plug in to the rotation without giving up players, or if they do give up players, get a frontline starter in return.

NL Central

- Headline of the year: “Wilson: Pirates need ‘more players’ to compete.” You think so, Jack? And, come on, Pirates, just go out and sign some guys so the Pirates can be competitive! Maybe they should start with a better shortstop. The grotesquely ugly, light-hitting infielder taking up that spot now has a career .269 batting average and .312 OBP.

- The Cubs are reportedly Adam Dunn’s first choice for his free-agent destination. The Cubs, meanwhile, seem to be more interested in Milton Bradley, probably because an outfield of Soriano, Fukudome and Dunn would be among the worst in the history of baseball.

- The Pirates signed catcher Ryan Doumit to an extension.

- The Cardinals signed Japanese pitcher Katsuhiko Maekawa to a minor-league deal.

Other News

- Former Brewer pitcher Graeme Lloyd, an Australian native, is now an assistant coach for the Perth Heat (an Australian baseball team). He reflects on his MLB career in the linked story from the Illawarra Mercury.

- Former Brewers AAA manager Frank Kremblas will manage the Brewers former AAA franchise, the Indianapolis Indians, which is now a Pirates affiliate.

- A Phillies blog had this to say about the possibility of the Phillies adding Derrick Turnbow:

“A healthy Turnbow would be an excellent addition to already one of the National League’s best bullpens.”

And this:

“Should he be willing to accept a role as a seventh inning reliever, the City of Brotherly Love would welcome him with open arms.”

Uh, OK… I’m pretty sure Turnbow would “accept a role as a seventh inning reliever” seeing as how he failed in the role of “please just eat an inning in this blowout so we can all go home” for the Brewers over the last couple of years and was jettisoned to the minor leagues.

Insomniac Ink