Archive for January, 2010

Hart (seemingly) Heading To Arbi’s

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Corey wants 4.8 Mil, the Crew wants to give him 4.15 Mil and both sides are at a standstill (according to Adam McCalvy). Let’s check out Corey Hart’s arguement:

  1. I was totally an All-Star (that was voted in by the fans I later dissed)
  2. I’m a 20/20 guy (once in 08)
  3. I have to put up with fans asking me how many outs there are every freakin’ inning. I mean, geez, can’t these people read the ribbon board?
  4. I lost at bats to offensive powerhouses like Jody Gerut and Frank Catalonotto last year
  5. It takes a lot of money to change my hair as much as I do
  6. I hit .173 and had an OBP of .192 during our September postseason chase in 08.
  7. J.J. Hardy and Jason Kendall were the only opening day starters to have a worse OBP and SLG % than me last year.
  8. Even though fans noticed that I didn’t go after as many fly balls very hard in 2009, I had the worst fielding percentage out of every outfielder on the team (including bench players)
  9. I got kids to feed
  10. I heard Melvin has never been to arbitration yet so I’m figuring he knows he’s gonna lose.

Melvin Discusses Parra, Edmonds

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Following up on some topics of recent posts here, Brewers GM Doug Melvin discussed expectations for Manny Parra for this season and the Jim Edmonds signing on 540 ESPN Milwaukee yesterday.

Here are his quotes on Manny:

“Manny is still young in experience. Again, when you talk about young pitchers, you do have to talk about being patient. We sent Manny out to the minor leagues last year. When he came back, he was 8-3. After he came back from the minor leagues, he did have a high ERA. So, he’s going to have to get deeper into the ballgames, give us a chance to pitch in the games.”

“He’s so talented. He’s got such good stuff, he’s a good arm, he’s big, he’s physical. He reminds me in some sense of a left-handed pitcher that we had here in our system and we grew a little impatient with him. We gave up on him. We were in the early stages of his development. He went to Colorado last year and won 16 ball games. That was Jorge De La Rosa, and that. So, you never want to give up on a young pitcher that has good stuff, especially being left handed, being physical.”

“And we recognize that this is a big year for Manny and I think he does too. So, we’re hoping that he and Rick Peterson will get together and put all that ability on the right path to success.”

He didn’t come out and say it, but I think it’s pretty obvious Melvin expects Parra to be in the rotation next season. That would leave the battle for the last rotation spot between Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan. Bush should win if it’s based on performance alone, but, unfortunately, Suppan’s hefty contract might have the final word there…

And here are Melvin’s quotes on Edmonds:

“Well, I talked to Jim Edmonds’ agent at the end of last year and he told me just to keep him in mind. He said that he expressed interest in getting back in the game and playing after sitting out a year. He has the same agent that represented Gabe Kapler. With Gabe Kapler that worked well for us. We took Gabe after a year of retirement, he came back and performed very well for us. He’s now in his second year with Tampa Bay.”

“So, you know, Jim Edmonds is an individual with a lot of experience, 15 years of experience. He has a number of Gold Gloves. He’s a .290 career hitter with 380-some home runs. But as the offseason went on, his agent said that he continued to work out. He continued to show a desire and an interest to play. He had the fires burning. And we were one of the teams that were on his short list of teams to play for. And if we had interest, he would be interested. So, we were able to convince Jim that this is a good place to play. He wants to stay in this division, the National League. He is familiar with the Cubs, where he had a year, with the Cardinals for most of his career.”

“He’ll come to camp and try to win a job. It’s not a lot of money. That wasn’t the issue with him. The fires were burning. He wants to get back in and play the game and play it at a level with a team that he can compete.”

“So, we’re looking forward to it. I think that it’s an opportunity that brings experience to our line-up, to our ball club and to the clubhouse because our outfield is all right handed with Hart, Gomez and Ryan Braun. So, there could be some playing time here for Jim Edmonds if he’s able to play.”

It sounds like Melvin feels Edmonds could be a valuable left-handed bat off the bench with the chance to spell all three outfielders at times. That’s the pinnacle of what I’d expect Edmonds to be able to contribute. I think the idea that he would be able to start regularly against right handers is a pipe dream for Edmonds. I hope he’s OK with a fourth or fifth outfielder role if he makes the team.

“Check Me Out on Your TV-Radio”

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Best. Song. Ever.

“GO GOMEZ GO!”

Edmonds a Regular Starter? Please No…

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The Brewers have promised Edmonds everyday starts against righties?

OK, I think I hate the Edmonds signing now.

Via Tim McKernan’s (InsideSTL.com) Twitter:

Edmonds: Brewers told me I’d get a chance to play everyday against right-handers, and I’d get a chance to play when corner OF get days off.

I’m trying to make sense of this and I’m having a hard time…

Maybe the Brewers don’t believe in Carlos Gomez or Corey Hart. There are much better ways to upgrade than relying on a 40-year-old who didn’t play last year to pick up starts three or four out of every five games though.

Maybe Melvin did tell Edmonds he’d have a “chance” to play everyday against right-handers. I mean, there’s a “chance” I could play every day against righties. Melvin could’ve just gave him the old “every player has to earn his starting position” line to sell Edmonds on the Brewers. The idea that the Brewers would have to sell a player on the chance to play on the team after no teams were even interested in adding him to their rosters last season is pretty depressing though…

Maybe the Brewers are working on a trade of Corey Hart. While there’s a part of me that would love to not have to watch Corey suck at baseball in a Brewers uniform anymore, the thought of watching the elderly Edmonds as a regular starter for a whole season is much less appealing. And Hart was an all-star just a few years ago. There’s at least some hope he could figure it out and return to form. Edmonds is not going to suddenly get younger. And, again, there are still better options than Edmonds available on the free agent market if you’re looking for corner outfielders who might have to start more than a couple games a week.

Maybe Edmonds just made the whole starting against right handers thing up. Unlikely, but there’s a chance…

I’m guessing it’s closest to the second guess. Melvin probably promised Edmonds they’d let him compete for playing time in spring training, go in with an open mind, blah, blah, blah…

All I know is that if Edmonds is a regular starter for the Brewers in 2010, it’s probably going to be a long season…

ESPN’s Law Ranks Prospects for the Brewers

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

This is Keith Law’s prospect rankings for the Brewers Organization

1. Brett Lawrie, 2B
2. Alcides Escobar, SS
3. Eric Arnett, RHP
4. Kyle Heckathorn, RHP
5. Jon Lucroy, C
6. Wily Peralta, RHP
7. Lorenzo Cain, CF
8. Jake Odorizzi, RHP
9. Kentrail Davis, LF
10. Zach Braddock, LHP

A couple things I find interesting:

  1. Brett Lawrie is ranked ahead of Alcides. This was surprising and when reading why he chose this order, he seemed to downgrade Escobar because of the lack of pop in his bat. This might be why more people choose Baseball America
  2. No Chronic-Crazed RHP by the name of Jeremy Jeffress on the list…man, how his stock has fallen.
  3. Speaking of falling stock, no Angel Salome either
  4. I’m excited for the possibility of a Heckathorn and Arnett in the rotation
  5. I think it’s funny how some people LOVE Kentrail Davis and some people think he’s overrated. This year will be more telling.
  6. Wait…wait…fans of the T-Rats will be wondering where Cody Scarpetta is…You have to love the Appleton fans love of Scarpface.

Jim Edmonds? Ehh, Whatever…

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

I dismissed the rumor out of St. Louis when travwood81 posted it on Brew Crew Ball this morning.

But it’s true. The Brewers have signed Jim Edmonds…

My initial reaction was something like: “Jim Freaking Edmonds? Why? The guy didn’t even play last year. He’s 40. And I hate him. He’s a Cardinal. Or at least an older, less-talented version of a dude that was once a Cardinal.”

But an hour or so has passed and I’ve convinced myself to try to withhold my disgust for the move. At least for now.

First of all, I thought Doug Melvin was drunk when he signed an aging Gabe Kapler away from a managing gig in the Red Sox minor-league system a couple of offseasons ago. And that worked out better than even Melvin could’ve dreamed. So, I’ll cut him some slack.

Secondly, it sounds like it’s a minor-league contract with a chance to win a major-league job at a contract under $1 million plus incentives. There’s really no risk. If he sucks in spring training, the team cuts ties and the team is no worse off. If he legitimately wins a spot and can still play, the team will be better off.

But does Edmonds have anything left in the tank? Hard to say. He was actually a good reserve on the Cubs in his last go-around, hitting .256 with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs in 85 games. But that was 2008. He sat out all of last season. So, who knows how good of shape he’s in or if his body can withstand another season of baseball? At the least though, we do know Edmonds will be motivated to earn an opportunity to stack up some at bats. He’s just 18 home runs shy of 400 for his career and 119 hits short of 2,000. And if he can stick it to the Cardinals a few times for not giving him another shot, all the better, right? *Still holding back disgust while thinking of Edmonds in a Brewers uniform*

It wasn’t like the Brewers passed up great free-agent options to get him. Aside from Gabe Gross, who I would’ve like to have seen back in Milwaukee, the remaining back-up outfield options are pretty uninspiring. Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye (who teams seem to be looking at as more of a DH than an outfielder) are looking for starting roles. Eric Byrnes, Reed Johnson and Marcus Thames would be options, but none of them stand out as head and shoulders above Edmonds. And Edmonds bats lefthanded and plays centerfield, two qualities that I’m sure weren’t lost on Melvin.

So, I withhold the right to hate this move in a couple months, but for now, I’ll live with it.

Jim Edmonds? Ehh, whatever…

Peterson Raising the Bar for Brewers Pitching

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

As soon as Rick Peterson agreed to come to Milwaukee, Brewers fans heaped expectations on the pitching coach to vastly improve a staff that was among the worst in all of baseball last year. Despite the additions of Randy Wolf, Doug Davis and LaTroy Hawkins, transforming the Brewers pitching staff into an above average group still seems to be a very tall task given how poorly they performed last season.

Peterson doesn’t appear to be interested in tempering the expectations of Brewers fans, however.

“When you take a ball club that won 80 games last year and had one of the worst starting pitching statistical numbers in all of baseball, you realize that it is time to make some changes at that particular time, and ultimately that’s going to make a huge difference,” Peterson said in an interview with 1250 WSSP.

He added that fans should be confident in this team going into the 2010 season.

“I think this is a really exciting time for Milwaukee because with the kind of fanbase that they have with the team that was on the field last year and the run production in the middle of that lineup with Prince and Braun, you’re talking about the potential of a really special team,” Peterson said. “If the pitching can come together and match what the players on the field did last year, this could be some exciting times for Milwaukee Brewers fans.”

There’s a part of me that’s wary of buying into the Peterson factor. We’re officially past the “Hot Stove” season and into the period of boundless optimism that preludes each baseball season. Nearly every story we read, every interview we hear and every bit of news that comes across the computer screen over the next two plus months will be positive. Some veteran will be in the best shape of his life. Another guy will have made an adjustment at the plate and be on the verge of his best season ever. One of the pitchers will add a pitch that will suddenly make him dominant. We’ll overanalyze every Spring Training pitch and at bat. And we’ll fall in love with the Brad Nelsons and Gary Glovers of the world. As a Brewers fan, I’ve bought into a lot of false hope over the years and it usually wears off well before the calendar turns from April to May.

That said, I can’t help but get excited whenever I listen to this guy talk pitching. He is fully immersed in the art of pitching — the advanced statistical analysis, breaking down deliveries, forming detailed individual strategies tailored to each pitcher’s strengths and weaknesses, developing confidence and mental toughness in the pitchers… He says exactly what I want my team’s pitching coach to say and his past results back him up. He seems to be the mentor young pitchers like Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra need and the foundation veterans like Wolf, Davis and Hawkins can thrive with.

The additions Doug Melvin brought in this offseason will no doubt help the Brewers improve their pitching staff in 2010, but if Peterson delivers on the expectations the fans and organization are placing on his shoulders, he could be the most important offseason addition.

Recap of Braun’s Interview With Rome

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Here’s the video:

And some of the highlights:

  • “I feel like we’ve made some moves to head in the right direction.”
  • “I’m really looking forward to the season starting.”
  • Can the Brewers compete with the Cardinals this season? ”I hope so.” Talked about optimism that builds in offseason, ready to get season started.
  • Feels pitching is more important in post season — “It’s extremely difficult to win if you don’t have that legitimate no. 1-type starter.”
  • Worried about losing Prince in a year or two? “I think the reality is that he’s earned the right to go out and make as much money as he can. Realistically, I’d love to keep him, but we’ll see what happens.”
  • Sense of urgency is there to win now.
  • Does the team need more? “I kind of learned my lesson last year in not playing GM.” Management puts team in best position to win that they can.
  • On rift with Melvin last year — “We’ve moved on. We’ve moved past that.” “Doug is my boy.”
  • Is Yo a legitimate no. 1? “I think he’s well on his way.” “I really look for him to take a step forward this year and be the guy.”
  • Is the team upset Macha is back? “Having played for him a year, I think everybody knows what to expect this year. It’ll be a much more comfortable atmosphere and comfortable environment.”
  • Did the “The Bachelor” ask him to be on the show? There were “preliminary discussions,” but he’s “not too big on the whole reality show idea.” Focus is on baseball.

A Letter from Ben Sheets’ Ugly Swing

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Hi Brewer fans,

Well, as you know, me and the Sheeter are heading to M.C. Hammer’s old stomping ground. Big ol’ Ben actually made $10 Million from the Moneyball guys! Yeah, I can’t believe it either. Anywho, you may have noticed Benny wasn’t that interested in coming back to Milwaukee. First, you have to be fair, Milwaukee wasn’t that interested in him either, but I’m here to set the record straight. Ben Sheets really wanted to go to the AL. Yep. The teams that kept coming up in rumors we’re mostly AL teams: Rangers, Boston, and Oakland. The Mets and Dodgers were interested and have good pitching stadiums, but we barely listened to them. Would you like to know why he wanted to go to the AL with the DH? It’s because of me! His ugly ass swing!

You see, Benny and I know this might be his last shot to prove he’s an ace. He doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that, which means not using me. You remember me…wild, unruly, scary, horrid, wretched, laughable, etc… You also know that Ben Sheets gets hurt in the most unlikely of ways. I could have really hurt Ben’s arm…elbow…shoulder…head…spine…kneecap…ACL…MCL…hamstring…ankle…and foot. Not to mention, any crazy pitch could end his career (and with the Rockies and Diamondbacks looking at Turnbow, the chance was there). Now Ben doesn’t have to worry about using me or my kid brother, the bunt. This takes out a big, unnecessary risk for Ben’s return to baseball.

So as you can see, Ben meant no ill-will. He honestly enjoyed his time as a Brewer, but you weren’t interested in him and he wasn’t interested in the NL. You can feel free to blame me!

Sincerely,
Ben Sheets’ Ugly Swing

Big Ben Finds a Home

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Ben Sheets is an Oakland Athletic.

The former Brewers ace signed a one-year deal worth $8 million, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Sheets passed a physical and the deal is done.

It would’ve been nice to see Sheets in a Brewers uniform on a low-risk contract, but after it became evident Sheets was looking for bigger bucks, it was a good idea for the Brewers to move on. Sheets is obviously an injury risk and the Brewers can’t gamble too much on an arm as they have a lot of wasted dollars in the rotation already (Thanks, Suppan).

And, luckily, Sheets can’t hurt the Brewers too much now even if he remains healthy and pitches well this year (barring a World Series match up). How bad would it have stung if Big Ben signed with the Cubs, started 30 plus games and posted Cy Young-caliber numbers? I hope he puts together a nice season out West.

Congrats, Ben. Thanks for some great memories as a Brewer. And good luck.

Insomniac Ink