Posts Tagged ‘Doug Melvin’

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.

There’s Smoke on Halladay

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I’m not saying Doug Melvin is about to lock in a trade for Roy Halladay, but it is clear the Brewers are very serious about trying to land the ace. And it’s Melvin’s increasing levels of vagueness that are tipping his hand.

Does anyone else recall last season when Brewers GM Doug Melvin repeatedly denied the Brewers and Indians were closing in on a deal for CC Sabathia? For a little refresher, here’s a blurb from an article that was printed less than a week before Melvin finalized that trade last year:

Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin laughed Monday when asked if his team really was the leader in the C.C. Sabathia Sweepstakes.

“Just the same old rumors,” Melvin said.

Sound familiar?

Most Brewers fans should know by now that Melvin is the master of deception on trade dealings. He won’t lie, but to truly get to the bottom of trade discussions, you have to read between the lines of what he’s saying.

First off, if there is no possibility of a trade or no interest in a trade on the Brewers part, Melvin will flat out say that. In this case, he has actually admitted there is interest.

Melvin will also indicate whether he’s had discussions with a certain team, which usually helps determine the Brewers interest. He has admitted the Brewers and Blue Jays are discussing Halladay.

But the most telling characteristics seem to be that the closer Melvin gets to a deal, the more he shoots down the possibilities of trades in the media and the more he speaks in generalities. In this case, he’s been noticeably vague and less than optimistic, especially this week:

  • July 8: “When a general manager says he is listening to offers, yeah, I’ll call,” said Melvin. “I haven’t called yet.”
  • July 17: “We’ve had a conversation with them. I don’t want to get into the details. I don’t want to characterize it at this point.”
  • July 17: “I’ve said it would be highly unlikely (to trade either Alcides Escobar or Mat Gamel),” Melvin said. “They are as ‘untouchable’ as any player can be. I don’t want to say anything more.”
  • July 19: “I know what their expectations are and I don’t know if I want to meet them,” said Melvin, who has said he does not want to trade Gamel of shortstop prospect Alcides Escobar. “Teams are asking a lot for pitching.”

Another sign that this is more than a passing interest on the Brewers part is how Journal-Sentinel Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt is covering the rumors. There might not be anyone closer to the team (without being employed by them) than Haudricourt. Earlier this season, he basically said there was absolutely no chance of the Brewers pulling off a deal for Halladay. Take a look at how quickly he’s changed his mind over the past couple weeks:

  • July 8: “Melvin said Wednesday he would make a call to Toronto’s J.P. Ricciardi, who announced he will listen to offers for ace Roy Halladay.”
  • July 11: “If Brewers general manager Doug Melvin holds true to his promise of not trading top prospects Mat Gameland Escobar, don’t look for Roy Halladay to be wearing a Milwaukee uniform in the second half.”
  • July 17: “Melvin has said he considered Gamel and Escobar “untouchables” in any trade talks but hedged ever so slightly on that characterization Friday.”
  • July 17: “Because I knew what Toronto would want in exchange for right-hander Roy Halladay, I initially thought the Brewers had no chance of jumping into the bidding. But, after speaking with general manager Doug Melvin today about Halladay, I’m not so sure.”
  • July 17: “So, it’s obvious the Brewers are looking at all the angles regarding Halladay, which indicates more than casual interest. Whether they would pony up what it would take to get him, much less outbid other serious suitors, remains to be seen. But it seems as if they are kicking the tires pretty hard.”
  • July 18: “The Brewers see themselves as a perennial contender in the NL Central. Let’s see if they can convince Halladay of that and come up with an acceptable package for the Blue Jays.”
  • July 19 via Twitter: “Dick Groch, the top scouting asst. to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, is in Toronto today, watching Halladay pitch. Brewers definitely interested.”
  • July 19: “When Groch is around, the Brewers have serious interest.”

The national media has even started to notice the Brewers as serious suitors for Halladay. Within just the last couple days, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has said, “The Brewers are one of the teams flying under the radar for Roy Halladay” and  Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has said, “The latest news is that the Brewers were set to have two high-level emissaries at the Rogers Centre Sunday, when Halladay faced (and beat) the Red Sox.”

I don’t know that a deal will get made (in fact, I’d still say it’s unlikely), but there is definitely “smoke” on these trade talks. The Brewers are more than a casual suitor here. They are most likely preparing an offer for Toronto, if they haven’t already made one. And we’ll know within the next 10 days or so if it’ll be enough.

In the meantime, the debate will rage among Brewers fans (much like with CC last year) if Halladay is worth the high price he’ll command in a trade…

Brewers Reportedly Looking at Javier Vasquez..Or Not

Monday, July 6th, 2009

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Brewers have inquired about the Braves’ Javier Vasquez. Vasquez is known as a strike out pitcher that doesn’t walk many batters and has been good for over 200 innings for the last 4 years.

I was actually going to write how the Brewers should look at this guy, since he is a workhorse and is a strike out pitcher, which the Brewers need. He also is signed through next year so it wouldn’t be a half-year rental.

UPDATE: Nevermind

Braun’s Comments

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

By now, I’m sure you’ve all read them, but here’s a recap of some of what Braun said today after the game (cut out of the JSOnline article and the article):

“We’re at the point right now where it would be important for us to go out there and acquire somebody.”

“I know (Melvin) is trying to make our ballclub better. I know he recognizes the importance of making a move and making it soon, but at the same time I think everybody’s recognized there’s a lot of teams that are still in the race.”

“With that being said, it would be nice to make a move to help us out for the time being. The sooner we do it, the better.”

“It’s always important to have some momentum going into the second half and to show everybody that we’re for real so we can go out there and make a move and improve our ballclub. We want to be headed in the right direction, not the wrong direction to go out and do that.”

“(The Cubs) threw the ball a lot better than our starters did. They certainly swung the bats better than we did as well. Clearly, they were the better team.”

“Their starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours in this series. All four guys we saw in this series are No. 1, worst-case, No. 2-type starters. They make big pitches in big situations. You’re not always going to get hits in those situations.”

“We need to find a way to throw the ball a little better to have success. When you’re constantly behind in games, it’s not easy. It’s not fun. Their starting pitching was clearly a lot better than ours this series.”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with anything Braun said. I don’t think his comments will make him any tighter with Seth McClung or Mike Burns, the players he seems to be calling out, but McClung seems like the kind of firey guy that will react positively to comments like this (although he’s likely ticketed for a return to the bullpen) and Burns, well, he’s really just a warm body they can throw on the mound right now anyway… Melvin probably isn’t too keen on being called out by his own players, but I’m sure he respects Braun’s intensity. Afterall, they both are after the same thing — winning.

What I think has been lost a bit in the comments is that they should work to rally the team too. Braun has done this before. Remember the Red Sox series at Fenway last year and the “I almost felt like this series, we didn’t expect to win” comments? The Brewers aren’t nearly as bad off now as they were then, but Braun’s comments can serve the same purpose: To unite the team, refocus them a bit and get them fighting together again. The Brewers turned things around after Braun called his teammates out last year. Why not this year too?

Dave Bush and Manny Parra should return in the coming weeks and that will help. Plus I think we all believe Melvin will do something before the trade deadline, and whatever players he does acquire will serve as an additional boost to the team. The Brewers are a game out of first place and have the first place team coming to town. It’s time to rally, not panic. Braun’s comments could help push the Brewers to a strong finish to the first half of the season and give them some momentum before they get to the stretch run.

A Day with the Rattlers: A Tale of Celebrity, Between-Inning Novelty and Sickening Fonts

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

How I spent my Monday afternoon.

Being that I had yet to witness Milwaukee’s newest affilaite in action this season and that I had nothing better to do on a Monday at noon, I escaped the concrete jungle of 2 to 6 story Lutheran Insurance buildings high rises surrounding my downtown Appleton, WI apartment to make the daunting 4.9 miles trek to see the Timber Rattlers square off against the Lancing Lugnuts yesterday.

With a friend at my side, we embarked on the near 10-minute jaunt - fighting hunger and death at every turn (of six total turns). Finally, we arrived at Fox Cities Stadium and fought our way through the 900 other fans to obtain a ticket. I opted to sit on the first base line - a rarity in my minor league viewing experience by chance. Unbeknownst to me was the sheer magnitude that - at the time - simple decision would have on my afternoon.

Walking to our seats I was surprised to see none other than Doug Melvin in my midst. At that moment, in the near vacant corridor I shared with the Brewers GM that lead to my seats, there was so much I wanted to say to him… “Dude, that Lyle Overbay trade was - in retrospect - very good.”, “I once Photoshopped your head on the body of Jamie Moyer’s wife.” , “Would you like a free ‘Melvin: The Man, the Myth, the Moustache’ shirt (with purchase of a Papi Seeds shirt)?” But he was seemingly engaged in what seemed to be serious discussion with some hair gelled suit, and I didn’t  actually have anything to say to him.

I didn’t really want to be that one douche who drools over some middle-aged Canadian, so I passed with a knowing smile and proceeded to my seats… until I rose again minutes later to obtain the encounter I’ve dreamed about for so long - cheesy helmet fries encountering my taste buds. It was the only money I spent all day, and might I say $5 well spent.

Play ball!
For those lacking a Low-A baseball team in their vicinity, I’ll just say that the level of play leaves something to be desired. In all, it’s error-ridden, sloppy baseball complete with erratic pitchers, free swinging hitters and almost no defense to speak of. That said, I’ll just touch on some of the major happenings during the game:

• If I thought there was any chance of Brett Lawrie flying through the minors in a rapid ascent to the Brewers clubhouse, it died Monday. His O-fer aside, he has one of the strangest and worst stances I’ve ever seen. He looks utterly akward at second base and neglected to dive to stop a ball he easily could have. He’s still a teenager, so he has time to develop into his assumed greatness, but I was (more so) not buying the hype after seeing him play in person.

• Cutter Dykstra was even less impressive. He did a Scott Podsednik-style spin/backpedal to narrowly catch every ball hit to him. He looked lost at the plate too… his .225 AVG supports that. Again, he was getting ready for prom not but a year ago, so I’m not declaring him a bust, but it looks as if the two “stars” of the team will be staying in the Fox Cities much longer than they expect or want to.

The 1995 Toronto Raptors called, they want their shitty font back.

• Christ on a cracker, does the Lansing Lugnuts numeral font annoy me. Its sans serif lameness hearkens back to the Toronto Raptors’ inaugural font combined with a preschool drawing. Between being based in Lansing, having a team named after a part used in the construction of automobiles, a former product of Michigan, and possessing numbers looking like Mr. McDade’s (left), the Lugnuts don’t have much to be proud of. Seriously, I almost puked when I saw a No. 6.

• Corey Kemp and Brock Kjeldgaard both looked pretty good. I don’t know either of their ceilings, as far as big league potential, but they’ll likely provide some organizational depth or trade fodder as they progress through the system. Both players are huge, Kjeldgaard vertically, Kemp in the short but could definitely kick my ass kind of way.

• I was most impressed by Erik Miller, whose stats I’ve been keeping an eye on since last season. He got a late break on one ball, but looked good out there otherwise, and he homered as part of a 2 for 4, 3 RBI day. Of the Rattlers, I feel he, fellow OF Erik Komatsu and pitcher Cody Scarpetta will probably get to the bigs first.

• Between innings in the late going, a cute brunette girl in oversized sunglasses walked down to where I was sitting and tapped me on the shoulder. Expecting to hear something like “Hey, you kind of look like Dave Grohl and Tim Curry’s lovechild that eats a lot of pizza and rarely works out.” or “I saw you licking cheese off your fingers before. May I buy you more fries and watch you eat them seductively for me?” … I was disappointed her visit was of the business variety. Waivers in hand, she asked whether my friend and I wanted to compete in “big gloves boxing” on the field after the next half inning. I said I didn’t and she left. 

The default big glove boxers fought dorkishly for all, including Melvin, to see. One guy fell down and a bunch of people booed. They won nothing for their embarrassing two minutes of whaling on each other for the sake of promoting some local company. I made the right choice… but still said “Man, I’ve always wanted to do that!” when they started, which made some eavsdropping lady lose her shit laughing. 

The Rattlers lost, but it was still a cheap and fun game on a gorgeous Grand Chute day. If anything, it beats my usual activities on a Monday off - wishing I had Saturday off instead and waiting to work Tuesday between crying jags.

RFB Offseason Roundtable

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

This week’s topic: Now that the numbers have been submitted: What do you think Hart, Fielder, and Weeks’ salaries are going to be and Is anyone going to go into arbitration hearings?

Jared -

I actually don’t think any of the players will go to arbitration. I felt that Prince would go, but obviously he seems to have worked a deal out with the Brewers. With just Weeks and Hart left as players that are due arbitration that haven’t signed a deal, I think the Brewers will be able to knock out agreements before the hearings. They’ll probably agree to deals at close to the middle point of the numbers submitted, though I think Hart’s number was a bit high. I think Hart will settle for around $3 million and Weeks will settle for around $2.5 million.

Tyler -

Though Doug Melvin has never attended and arbitration hearing in his tenure as Brewers GM, it looks as if he won’t be so fortunate this year. Of Milwaukee’s six arbitration eligible players, three players – Dave Bush ($4M), J.J. Hardy ($4.65M) and Seth McClung ($1.6625M) – have agreed to very reasonable deals. I don’t feel as confident of the other three signings going as painless and favorably as those did.
I’m just speculating here, but I see at least one hearing in Melvin’s near future, with the strong possibility of a second.
I do not imagine Rickie Weeks will opt to go to a hearing. If his less-than-impressive play and injury-riddled past aren’t enough to keep him from pleading his case, the fact that (unlike the other five arbi-eligible players) he’s only up for a slight raise from last season’s pay might help sway him to sign soon. With just an $800K difference in submitted figures, I expect the two sides to avoid a hearing and agree to a $2.4M deal – the exact middle of the two salaries.
I don’t know what to think about Corey Hart. He had another 20/20 season in 2008, a season where his own fans mistakenly willed him into an all-star gam e he had little part being in. I’ve heard that in such hearings, all-star appearances and certain numeric “milestones” are sometimes factored in – all things that occurred before he flatlined over months of the season. That, mixed with Hart’s apparent obliviousness with, well, everything may lead him to test the waters of a hearing. Maybe he’ll realize he’s going to hear about his recent shittiness and put two and two together (seemingly difficult to do in the Hart family) and come to know that squeezing every last cent out of a team will only bold his name on many a Brewers’ fan shitlist. But I doubt it. Hearing or not, I’d assume Hart will get somewhere between $3 and $3.2M in 2009.
Prince Fielder will almost certainly waddle to an arbitration hearing. Blame his agent, his greed, his Hart-like obliviousness or his wrongfully inflated opinion of himself. He’s no longer a team leader, he’s not Ryan Howard and he’s not going to be a Brewer for too much longer. For these reasons, I think Milwaukee’s front office has no qualms with taking Fielder to a hearing in which he’ll probably get between $6 and $7M – and whine about it.

Jack -

Well, since I’m here for numbers, let’s take a look at some.

Corey Hart -
Last 2 years: 4.6 WAR, 1.3 WAR for an avg 2.9 WAR, worth approx. 12 million dollars open market. An average 1st-year arb player makes about 40% of that which comes to ~4.8 million.  However, Hart projects closer to a 1.8 or 2.0 win player based on last year mainly, so we’ll say 8M open market, which ocmes to 3.2M for arb1.  I expect, however, based on hi’s terrible end of the season and his hostility towards the fans, that the arbitrators will side with the club (2.7M).

Rickie Weeks -
Last 2 years: 3.1 WAR, 1.9 WAR for an avg. 2.5 WAR, worth approx 10 million dollars open market.  40% of that comes out to 4M.  Unlike Hart, Weeks projects a little higher than this at about 3 WAR, worth about 13 or 14 million.  40% of that comes out to 5.2-5.6M.  It’ll be hard to rule for the club on this one, so I say the arbitrators will award the 2.8M to Rickie, which is still a steal for Milwaukee.

Prince Fielder -
Last 2 years: 5.1 WAR, 2.7 WAR for an avg 4.1 WAR, worth approx 20 million dollars open market.  40% of that comes out to 8M.  Fielder projects to be worth closer to 3 WAR, so his figures come in at 15M open market/6M arb1.  The 7M/11M he’ll get for the next two years is slightly over his fair market value, but since his perceived skills are probably valued higher than they’re actually worth, this should really help his trade market if the Brewers feel it is necessary to trade him over the course of the next two years.

*This was supposed to be put up on Thursday night, but I wasn’t able to get to a computer due to and some circumstances (PF) may have changed.

Rosenthal’s Idea

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Ken Rosenthal stole my idea. He thinks Adam Dunn is a good fit for the Brewers too:

Here’s another idea:

Trade Prince Fielder for premium young pitching. Sign free agent Adam Dunn to replace Fielder. Secure cost certainty at first base instead of fretting over Fielder’s rising salaries through his arbitration years.

Melvin said Thursday that he is not trying to make such a play, but he showed interest in Dunn when the Brewers considered trading center fielder Mike Cameron, envisioning Dunn in right and Corey Hart in center.

Imagine if Melvin could trade Fielder to the Giants for Matt Cain, or to the Angels for Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana. Neither move is likely — Cain appears close to untouchable, and the Angels keep gushing over Kendry Morales at first base. But the concept is not without merit.

Rosenthal provides some more analysis of the proposed move, but that’s the basics.

Originally, my “plan” with Dunn, would have been for the Brewers to sign him, trade Cameron to the Yankees for pitching and have Dunn play right for now with Hart shifting to center. Once Fielder is traded or leaves in free agency, Dunn would shift to first.

Now, it appears Cameron is staying put (also from Rosenthal’s column):

With Mike Cameron due $10 million next season, the Yankees probably won’t go after the Brewers’ veteran outfielder.

The Brewers’ Melvin joked that he no longer can trade center fielder Mike Cameron, who turned out to be his best recruiter for Hoffman, his former Padres teammate.

Melvin will never say never, but the Yankees’ interest in Cameron seems to be waning.

That’s fine. Cameron is a nice player and there really is no need to replace him. If they can get a valuable piece for him that’s one thing, but if it’s a salary dump, I’d rather hold onto him.

I’ve said all along that I don’t see the Brewers trading Prince this offseason, but if the circumstances are right, it might be a prudent move. Frankly, I think Dunn is better and more consistent than Prince. If you can replace Prince’s production at a similar cost (and a locked in cost since Dunn would be under contract, not due arbitration) while also improving the rotation, why not?

The pitchers that Rosenthal mentioned (Cain, E. Santana and Saunders) are nice, young arms (though, without analyzing stats, Saunders is less appealing to me than the other two) and one of them would certainly improve the rotation. I’d think the Brewers might even be able to get another mid-level prospect in return in a Fielder swap for one of those guys.

I’m all for it. It would improve the team this year and push the Brewers one step closer to another postseason appearance. Of course, the Brewers would only be able to pull this off if the team they’re trading Fielder to thinks he’s better than Dunn because they could just sign Dunn if they wanted to. In fact, the team would have to think having Fielder is better than having Dunn and the pitcher they’d be trading. Probably a longshot…

Rosenthal also had this note about Trevor Hoffman in his column:

Hoffman’s 2008 season, Melvin says, was better than it appeared. Hoffman allowed more than one earned run in only three outings, and that his strikeout-to-walk ratio was 46-to-9. Hoffman’s strikeout rate was his best since 2002, his groundball rate his best since ‘05 …

And speaking of people stealing my ideas… Someone else actually used the term “slumbermetrics.” I knew I should have copyrighted the phrase when I used it in the comments in this post.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - 2008 Decisions

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

This Week’s Topic: Think back through the entire year of 2008. What were the best and worst decisions made in 2008?

Jared -

I’d say the worst decision of the year had to be the Eric Gagne signing. Melvin needed to bring in somebody to close out games. The team looked like it could be competitive and somebody needed to pitch in the ninth with the lead. The market for relief pitchers was through the roof and Gagne got $10 million despite some injury concerns, declining velocity and his ineffective pitching at the end of the year in Boston. Every Brewers fan (and Doug Melvin too, I’m sure) prayed that Gagne could recapture the momentum he had in Texas previous to the Boston trade in 2007 and we all dreamed of him being as dominate as he was in his prime in LA. No such luck… Gagne struggled from the get go. He came back strong in a lesser role as the season progressed, but he was not worth anywhere close to $10 million. That said, the guy can pitch and he proved to be a class act. I’d be happy to see him in a Milwaukee uniform again in 2009, just not for $10 million…

An under-the-radar move that came back to haunt the Brewers was trading away Gabe Gross. Gabe is not a world beater, but he’s a decent player offensively and defensively. The team could have used a left-handed hitting outfielder many times during the season and Gross’ patient approach at the plate would have been nice off the bench or in spot starts, especially on a team full of free swingers. How nice would it have been to have that Gabe after our other Gabe (Kapler) got hurt and couldn’t play late in the season? Gross could have given Hart a few days off and maybe Corey would have shook out of that horrible funk he was in. The Brewers basically gave Gross away too…

I think the best decisions the Brewers management made in 2008 were the little ones. They filled the roster with veterans and role players and it worked out beautifully. Jason Kendall played outstanding behind the plate. Gabe Kapler came out of retirement to play a huge role as a reserve and spot starter. Russell Branyan provided a much-needed offensive spark as the Brewers were struggling in May. Salomon Torres filled in admirable as the closer. Ray Durham and Craig Counsell were important reserves and got plenty of starts too. Even Todd Coffey and Mike Lamb contributed down the stretch. Melvin and company did an outstanding job filling in the gaps on the roster and it was the difference between reaching the playoffs and watching them from home.

It’d be blasphemous not to mention the CC Sabathia trade as a great decision too. The big man put the Brewers on his back and carried them into the playoffs. The package Milwaukee gave Cleveland is impressive and one or more of LaPorta, Brantley or Bryson could easily turn into good Major Leaguers, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. The moments CC and the 2008 Brewers gave us will be among some of my fondest Brewer memories for the rest of my life.

Jack -

I could go with the obvious answer here and say that the greatest move of 2008 was the CC Sabathia trade, but I think I’ll take the high road and find something a little more under the radar. My personal favorite move was the signing of Russell Branyan, who in his short time on the Milwaukee 25-man roster was worth 1.2 wins. Next, I’d go with the decision to put Gagne on the DL. Easily.

As I’ve already mentioned, the potential move of 2009 for me would be the signing of Joe Crede. However, hopefully that’s unnecessary, and Mat Gamel’s promotion to the ML level will turn out to be the big move of 2009.

On the other side of the spectrum, we again have an obvious pick for the worst move of 2008 – namely, the signing of Eric Gagne. But I think that clearly worse was the multi-year signing of David Riske, a player who was below replacement level last year and will likely continue to hover around that level.

The move going into the new year that I fear most is a possible signing of either Oliver Perez or Jon Garland. These are two players who have terrible peripheral stats but have nice and pretty W-L records and ERAs. I think that signings of these two could turn out as bad as the Suppan signing, and I hope we stay away.

Bryan -

There are two decisions that were the best this year: The first was signing Ryan Braun to a long term deal. The second was trading for C.C. Sabathia.

Ryan Braun is now the face of the team. I know big Prince is still a great leader, but the fans have this feeling that we know he’s going to chase the money in a bigger city so it limits our love for the big man. With Ryan, we have a young All-Star who says all the right things and is a complete team player. How many amazing moments has Braun already given Milwaukee? It’s amazing to think that I’ll be in my 30’s when Ryan Braun’s contract runs out.

The C.C. trade ultimately brought the Brewers to the playoffs. The Brewers were going to do their September collapse again, but C.C. wouldn’t let them. Yes he was costly and yes, we don’t even get a first round pick anymore, but for 4 months, C.C. was the biggest star in Milwaukee and the main reason the Brewers didn’t completely collapse again.

There were many more, such as the Kapler signing and Torres trade (which is still underrated by fans), but those two were the best.

As far as worst decisions go, Gagne was a rough one, so was Julian Tavares, perhaps it was batting the pitcher 8th, or using Cameron in the leadoff role, but one thing stands out in my mind as the worst decision.

This summer, we saw gas prices rise massively. It almost reached 4 and a half dollars a gallon. It became financially hard for many fans to make it to the game. Once fans were finally in the stadium, what did we see? A HUGE gas pump with numbers that kept going up, up, up all summer long! What an awful move by Citgo. I understand they put the thing up in 2007, but the decision to keep it was awful. Were they trying to find a silver lining to the gas price crisis? There are soooooooo many ways to tally home runs. There are soooooooo many ways for Citgo to promote themselves. But to have a gas pump rise all summer while real prices were rising causing fans to sweat more than ever was the worst decision of 2008.

Thankfully gas prices have fallen for now, but if they start climbing again Citgo should think about maybe sponsoring a concession stand instead of a giant gas pump. What would be smart would be for an investment company to put something out there so even though stocks are falling right now, the Brewers home run totals are up, up, up!

Tyler -

I’m probably not the only one who will mention this, but I view Eric Gagne’s one-year/$10 M contract to be Milwaukee’s most siazable front office error. As easy as it is to jump on Gagne, Doug Melvin and anyone else with bearing to this occurance now, I - as I know many others were - was happy with the transaction initially. Yeah, the price tag was a bit hefty, and Gagne’s directly preceeding bout with the injury bug and ineffectiveness in Arlington and Boston carried a great deal of uncertainty, but Milwaukee felt it needed to address the closer situation and went out and nabbed a player a few years removed from legendary closer status.

But alas, every legitimate worry of failure that accompanied Seth Rogen reincarnate was almost immediately realized, his mention in the Mitchell Report left Milwaukee’s brand new (ironically very old) bullpen with another PED-related black eye and the funds cherished by a mid-market franchise seemed sucked into an empty hole. Sure, he pulled it together to be a pretty good option for the 7th and 8th innings, but the price tag wasn’t fitting of a middle reliever. At the right price, I would welcome Eric back with open arms, and (as the current bullpen sits) even ponder letting him battle for the closer’s role in Spring Training. But you’d be hard pressed to find a fan who doesn’t feature Eric Gagne high on his or her (well hello, there) list of 2008 Brewers disappointments.

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.


Melvin, Moyer and Me: A Dream Realized

Friday, December 12th, 2008

I can see it now, and it's beautiful!

With CC Sabathia having signed elsewhere, Ben Sheets basically told to sign elsewhere and seemingly no immediate front of the rotation pitching help on the way to Milwaukee from the nearly completed Mike Cameron trade, it’s time for Doug Melvin to further submerge his toesies into the free agent pitching pool.

Luckily, the starting pitching options seem numerous and qualified, even with some of the class signing or approaching agreements in past week. And of the names that so elegantly made their way past Melvin’s brillowy lip piece and into the public ear, it seems The Man, The Myth has sized up Milwaukee’s pitching needs to be something in a 40.

Melvin told JS’s Tom Haudricourt yesterday that John Smoltz, Jamie Moyer, Randy Johnson and Randy Wolf are on his radar. And, though it might make our resident mathemagician die a little inside, I’m straight up pitching a tent over Douglas’ professed interest in one of my favorite pitchers, Jamie Moyer.

Yeah, I know the Phillies are heavily interested in re-signing him. And yes, I am aware that his interest to remain in Philadelphia is mutual on his belhalf. But if there is a way, if there is a chance of this happening, then I am all aboard the good ship seasoned vet – one Jamie Moyer my preferred team’s rotational Captain.

Oh Captain, my Captain! I pray he hoists the sturdy sails of his staunch 4.19 lifetime ERA, his World Series ring, 246 wins and 22 annuals of quality moundsmanship and allows those things carry him Westward to the shores to Lake Michigan for a period no shorter than two years ($15M plus performance bonuses?). And I hate old players, but I don’t know why… Jamie Moyer is my kind of pitcher. I want to grow old(er) with him.

I don’t care that he’s older than my dad. I could give half a shit if he was drafted before I was born or that he preceded the invention of saltwater taffy. I can almost guarantee that in his youth, Jamie Moyer would walk to school shoeless, uphill for 20 miles to get to the schoolhouse. But can’t you see, none of that matters anymore!

I can take the disappointment of losing Carsten; I can even force myself to recognize that Milwaukee is probably worse off sans broken ass Ben Sheets and manage to persevere. But I can’t imagine a scenario with Milwaukee neglecting to make a formal offer to Jamie Moyer that makes a lick of sense after the week that was. If Melvin can find 15 minutes to free his balls from the workbench vise of this Cameron trade to get Moyer on the (undoubtedly rotary) phone to talk Brewerhood, I suggest he does. And if Moyer knows what’s good for me him, he’ll come to Milwaukee.

Insomniac Ink