Posts Tagged ‘Eric Hinske’

Hump Day ReHeckler: The Reprised Rants of a Working Class Enemy of Lameness. A Spirit to Behold.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Shit, Brewers! How are you going to play me like that, girl?!?

As was the case with most other literate followers of the Brew Brew Dolls, that was – verbatim – my reaction in reading that Milwaukee was most likely done adding parts this offseason. But don’t mistake my sentiment here; my displeasure lies not in Milwaukee’s refusal to sign another recognizable name… quite the opposite in fact.

I’ve actually been largely impressed with the Brew Man Groups’ winter transactions. The Chris Capuano minor league deal was one hinged on pure upside and will undoubtedly see a more than worthy return. The bullpen moves straight up gave me wood – all of them, I’m literally pitching a sequoia over here. Shit mengala, even the arbitration figures (to date) and Fielder signing went over better than I expected.

I’ve been raised to suck the flabby, unimpressive teat of fiscal savvy. It didn’t take DM saying “absolutely not” to Oliver Perez to let me know Milwaukee was absolutely not in on him. Adam Dunn… doubtful. It’s simply in my nature as a fan of this organization to accept past-prime or pre-payday pieces to comprise one unified team that, when fully operational, can flirt with the prospect of being above average.

But sometimes I get greedy and expect my wasted years of emotional attachment to something that gives approximately zero shits about me to be rewarded with the employment of a sideshow, a representation of the proletariat – a fan favorite. And what do we get? Menasha’s own, badass, metalhead, salt of the Earth, gash-slamming, son of a bitch bastard Eric Hinske? No, assclowns, you must’ve forgot Craig “jailbait” Counsell was a free agent. Apparently $1M (plus incentives) is better served for employing a light-hitting tween than it is a left-handed masher with equal versatility. Now Hinske is probably signing with Pittsburgh as I write this, and will taunt me like 15 times this season.

Preseason predictions
Eric Hinske: 15 spuds, 50 ribs, 8 swipes, 6,000 beers, a legacy left.
Craig Counsell: Apt defense, unnecessary eyeblack, Nutcracker performance… and (if it’s a breakout year) maybe puberty.

You mean, I didn't make the team, Skip? (everyone else laughs)

 If anything, I guess this means Brad Nelson will make the team and Casey McGehee will hit the bricks, which shows there are at least glimmers of justice on this unforgiving rock from time to time. How can I be so sure Casey McGehee won’t make the team in January? Because he’s number 52 and is neither a relief pitcher nor CC Sabathia. The only way you’ll hear anything about McGehee come April is if the other four infinitely more capable hotcornermen competitively eat peanut butter, or you attend a Sounds game and Scott Thorman gets the shits for the better part of a month and/or kills someone.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Ben Sheets. As popular as this candle (sincerely lit) light vigil over the 5 percent chance Milwaukee is even interested in Ben Sheets, I am fucking sick of Ben Sheets. Yeah, he was a Brewer. OK, when going well, he can be considered above average. But how often do those two factors warrant a multi-year deal for a cat that makes Chris Carpenter seem durable? I think I know why Milwaukee only won a single playoff game in the past 26 years – 1. Dave Bush is tits city and won that game himself, and 2. The organization lets go of its greatest players too early (and, until somewhat recently, get too little in return) while letting hacks whose throwing arms resemble poorly-made spaghetti to milk a limited payroll and fashion undeserved pedestals to ward over a hardworking fan base brainwashed into thinking they’re top-tier players.

Let Sheets go everyone. You’ll be happy you did. I’d rather be allegedly married to Alcides Escobar than hold my breath for another 2004 from Ben Sheets.

And yeah, I know I misspelled “Deux.” DON’T EVER QUESTION MY ART!!! Oh, and have a good weekend.

- This Heckler brought to you by Tyson Any’tizers. Please don’t bring up our random apostrophe. Adam in marketing said it’d help sell in Santa Fe. Tyson - E’at some ‘’’’Now.’

Unpopular Opinions: Starting Rotation, Gagne, WBC, Hinske

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve heard more than enough about that plane crash in the Hudson River. I will admit that the pilots responsible for making a very difficult landing and saving everyone’s life should be commended for doing their job the right way. I’m glad everyone made it out relatively unscathed and tragedy was averted. What I’m not happy about is how much press this thing is getting.

This should’ve been a 30-second end of the newscast type thing, but to hear some fauxhawked choad’s prideful proclamation on Headline News that “this is the kind of thing you see in a movie!” as stock footage is incessantly looped – that’s too much. There have been so many more significant aviation incidents. Make a movie, for real? This Hudson River splashdown is like the “Corky Romano” of airline mishaps. It’s a cool soft news story, but let’s move on already.

Also, TGI Fridays (and all like franchises) sucks mandick. I’d honestly rather eat Tyson’s Any’tizers for the rest of my life than ever set foot in a Friday’s again. “Where every day is Friday!” More like, where every day is the food equivalent of your grandmother’s funeral.

Anyway, in unpopular baseball opinions –

McClung and/or Villanueva should be considered for the last spot in the rotation:
I’ve recently converted to the school Brewers fans who support a Braden Looper signing. For the money Milwaukee seems willing to spend on a starter, he’s about the best option out there. Jon Lieber would be a nice option to split time between the rotation and the pen based on need, but if neither of those are signed, I suggest Milwaukee just bump either Seth McClung or Carlos Villanueva into the No.5 spot and allocate the money set aside for a starter to bring in another bullpen arm. If either (or both, if alternated) of those two can string together a season even near what a low ceiling free agent would, it’d be worth it. A small sum of money can purchase a much better reliever than a starter.

Eric Gagne - Future past Brewer? It doesn’t have to be so:
After a season both he and most Brewer fans would like to forget, Eric Gagne has something to prove. Though he’s rumored to be close to a deal with the Twins, I wouldn’t be against Milwaukee making him a cheap, one-year offer to pitch in middle relief. He seemed to find his stride in the second half of last year, and could turn into a quality low-risk signing. Fans treated him like shit here (perhaps rightfully, I’m not the booing type), so I doubt he’d be interested, but why not dangle a line of redemption out there and see if he bites?

World Baseball Classic – It is what it is:
Not since Fidel Castro’s controversial nude scene on “Veronica’s Closet” has something that so few people watched inspired such controversy. If it’s not A-Rod playing for a country he’s never stepped foot in, it’s Brewers 25-man bubble-sitters opting to compete or Yovani Gallardo pitching for Mexico after missing most of 2008. My view is, it’s up the player. If Yo wants to risk injury and future earnings to will Mexico to a likely 3rd place finish, it’s his call. If Mark DiFelice, Rob Swindle, Vinny Rottino and Adam Stern want to punch their tickets to Nashville before Spring Training ends, let them. Trot Nixon will just take all of their spots.

Hinske Hintskes and a message to Tom:
I’m pretty sure Haudricourt has poached from us, among other evil blogs with our collective lack of access and, thus, knowledge. Whatever, meng… take what you want, misuse your MVP and Hall of Fame votes and continue to look like you’re on the verge of tears all you want, just do me this one solid. Drop some Hinske Hintskes to Doug Melvin and Gord Ash the next time you call them. Just slide in some comments during unrelated interviews or something…

TH: “Doug, do you think Trot Nixon has what it takes to be this year’s Eric Hinske – a versatile bench option that can hit 20 homers and steal 10 bases? Oh shit, Stash, now that I mention it… I just obtained a story from a blog I didn’t link to on my post that detailed how Hinske is available and is still the max tits. You should probably sign him now.”

DM: “That sounds a boot right!”

Make it happen.

Brewers “Not in” on Derek Lowe, Nobody Cares

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

So it looks like the Brewers “are not in on” Derek Lowe.

No shit. Lowe is 35, coming off the second best season of his career – and season he is unlikely to repeat – and (most importantly) demanding way too many years far too much money for any team, especially the Brewers, to feel remotely comfortable agreeing to. But rather than pile another speculative post about why some ancient ass hat won’t be a Brewer, I will again wet my quill in the ink of improbable optimism and scribe a simple request that Milwaukee look into bringing in a player with infinite upside.

Derek Lowe is a flashy name (when did Derek Lowe become a flashy name, by the way?!?!), but I desire a man whose reputation precedes him, a player who would undoubtedly…, uh, consider a minor league offer and strongly accept any semblance of a big league bench role if so offered.

Eric Hinske.

I don’t remember if I’ve ever written about Eric Hinske, but I kind of like the guy. I don’t know if it’s his grit, the fact that we both escaped the bowels of Menasha, WI to attain bigger and better things (I barely graduated from UW-Oshkosh in five years and live alone above a hotdog joint three miles from Menasha) or if it’s the way he symbolizes what we all could be if we didn’t love myfreepaysite and burritos so goddamn much. Whatever the reason(s) are, Hinske has always been on my radar.

Boston snapped him up from Toronto in 2007; the Devil Rays got a steal of a deal for him last offseason, and I sat idly by throughout… knowing that if planets appropriately aligned, the former Rookie of the Year I so covet would eventually return to the Badger State for 250 plate appearances to be immortalized on a shirt jersey I’ll wear for novelty affect for decades to follow (See: live alone above hotdog joint three miles from Menasha).

But with the high profile minor league signings of Trot Nixon and Chris Duffy, the (actually pretty cool) probability of Brad Nelson breaking camp and Tony Gwynn Jr.’s irritating knack for remaining alive – it appears that Eric Hinske’s ship to Milwaukee has again sailed.

“But isn’t this bordering on pathetic? Why are you wasting your time? And why now?” you might be asking yourself. The quick responses to all three are: 1. Don’t judge me. 2. Says the guy reading a marginally OK Brewers blog on a Saturday. 3. Because now is the point in each increasingly painful offseason when other teams (and countries) begin to show interest in this incredible player, man and spirit. And one of them will eventually swoop in, again dashing my already dwindling hopes for Milwaukee to land him.

This Mariners blog is assembling the second best case for his services I’ve ever seen. The Red Sox were considering bringing him in again before signing Baldelli. And even Japan is drinking his Kool-Aid.

I know he won’t be a Brewer in 2009. But as long as he’s not part of another team, he’s not… not a Brewer quite yet.

So screw Derek Lowe. There’s plenty of badass players out there who have something to contribute and just want to be part of a team, without holding a payroll for ransom.

Even if that team is in Japan.

Projecting Selected Free Agents

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

To bring everything together with the projection posts I’ve made this week, here are some projections for some selected Free Agents.  I took a look at everybody mentioned in this RFB Round Table post, as well as some other guys I think could be interesting.

First, position players.

This table works very similarly to the hitters projection table.  Average wOBA = .329.

wOBA comes from the Marcel projections, FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average) comes from Sean Smith’s defensive projections.

Players who play multiple positions have separate projections for each position.  Note that the market value given is for <b>650 PAs</b>.  I’ve also given a number for every 100 PAs.  This way, we can scale towards the amount of playing time that we’d expect and find the proper value.

3B Crede Joe 31 0.325 -2.26 10 2.5 10.24 0.98 2.83 13.71 2.11
CF Langerhans Ryan 29 0.310 -10.74 9 2.5 0.76 0.07 1.93 9.34 1.44
SS Everett Adam 32 0.28 -27.7 19 7.5 -1.2 -0.11 1.74 8.44 1.3
3B Mientkiewicz Doug 35 0.332 1.7 -6 2.5 -1.8 -0.17 1.69 8.16 1.25
1B Mientkiewicz Doug 35 0.332 1.7 7 -12.5 -3.8 -0.36 1.49 7.23 1.11
LF/RF Langerhans Ryan 29 0.310 -10.74 14 -7.5 -4.24 -0.4 1.45 7.03 1.08
LF/RF Kapler Gabe 34 0.337 4.52 -2 -7.5 -4.98 -0.47 1.38 6.69 1.03
SS Punto Nick 32 0.299 -16.96 3 7.5 -6.46 -0.61 1.24 6.01 0.92
3B Hinske Eric 32 0.330 0.57 -10 2.5 -6.93 -0.66 1.2 5.79 0.89
2B Everett Adam 32 0.28 -27.7 16 2.5 -9.2 -0.88 0.98 4.75 0.73
2B Loretta Mark 38 0.315 -7.91 -5 2.5 -10.41 -0.99 0.87 4.19 0.64
3B Punto Nick 32 0.299 -16.96 4 2.5 -10.46 -1 0.86 4.17 0.64
2B Durham Ray 38 0.325 -2.26 -11 2.5 -10.76 -1.02 0.83 4.03 0.62
1B Hinske Eric 32 0.330 0.57 -2 -12.5 -13.93 -1.33 0.53 2.57 0.39
2B Punto Nick 32 0.299 -16.96 -1 2.5 -15.46 -1.47 0.39 1.86 0.29
LF/RF Hinske Eric 32 0.330 0.57 -11 -7.5 -17.93 -1.71 0.15 0.72 0.11

Here we see our needs: a backup MIF, a backup OF, and a starting/platoon 3B.  I personally like Ryan Langerhans a lot because he’s an absolute stud in CF, and similarly I like Joe Crede a lot at 3B.  Langerhans will be cheap, but I’m not entirely sure what kind of contract we can expect for Crede.  He’s performed well in his time with the White Sox, but he’s been riddled with injuries, so we’ll have to see.

Eric Hinske was mentioned a lot here.  I don’t think he would work very well as a starter, but he could be an interesting platoon partner for Bill Hall.  Hinske has massive platoon splits (career .805 OPS vs. RHP against a .685 OPS vs. LHP) and could work well.  This would also leverage Hall’s platoon splits (.741/.847 R/L career).

I think Adam Everett would be a steal to put on the bench as our new Craig Counsell type player.  He’s a godawful hitter, but he could spell Hardy or Escobar once or twice a week and provide great defense, and he could play 2B in a pinch (but he’s wasted there).

Now some SPs

Average ERA = Average FIP = 4.34.  Replacement level for SPs = 5.65.

nameLast nameFirst Age ERA mFIP ERARAA/160 IP FIPRAA/160 ERAWAA/160 FIPWAA/160 WAR/160 Value/160 Value/10 IP
Sabathia C.C. 29 3.22 3.23 19.91 19.73 1.9 1.88 4.1 19.83 1.24
Sheets Ben 31 3.59 3.66 13.33 12.09 1.27 1.15 3.37 16.31 1.02
Lowe Derek 36 3.65 3.7 12.27 11.38 1.17 1.08 3.3 15.98 1
Burnett A.J. 32 3.97 3.85 6.58 8.71 0.63 0.83 3.05 14.75 0.92
Johnson Randy 46 4.33 4.12 0.18 3.91 0.02 0.37 2.59 12.54 0.78
Penny Brad 31 4.25 4.17 1.6 3.02 0.15 0.29 2.51 12.13 0.76
Wolf Randy 33 4.5 4.22 -2.84 2.06 -0.27 0.2 2.41 11.69 0.73
Garland Jon 30 4.5 4.48 -2.84 -2.49 -0.27 -0.24 1.98 9.59 0.6
Hendrickson Mark 35 4.83 4.5 -8.71 -2.84 -0.83 -0.27 1.95 9.42 0.59
Perez Oliver 28 4.22 4.57 2.13 -4.09 0.2 -0.39 1.83 8.85 0.55
Looper Braden 35 4.42 4.58 -1.42 -4.27 -0.14 -0.41 1.81 8.77 0.55
Perez Odalis 32 4.95 4.59 -10.84 -4.44 -1.03 -0.42 1.79 8.69 0.54
Pavano Carl 33 4.79 4.67 -8 -5.87 -0.76 -0.56 1.66 8.03 0.5
Moyer Jamie 47 4.58 4.71 -4.27 -6.53 -0.41 -0.62 1.6 7.72 0.48

Well, these guys are all incredibly expensive.  That’s the way it is for SPs, though, because they throw so many innings and a replacment level SP is really, really bad.  Personally, I think the best deal on this list will be Randy Johnson.  He’s still pitching amazingly well even though he’s in his mid 40s, and as a result he likely isn’t looking for a long-term deal.  The D-Back’s tried to sign him for 7.5 million and he declined, but it’s likely he will be paid less than he was last year (15M).   I suspect that Garland will not be a bargain and I think we should stay away from him, even though he possibly could be helped by a move to the NL.

I personally think that the best bargain on this list will be Brad Penny, due to his struggles in recent seasons.  However, it looks like he could still have some decent seasons left in him, and in this down market,  f he could be had for less than 9 million/season, I think it would be an incredible deal for the Brewers.

Some of the guys at the bottom of the list could be potential bottom of the rotation guys, but are probably unnecessary at this point.

Now for RPs.  I’ve listed both WAR and LWAR here.  LWAR, in this case, is Leveraged Wins Above Replacement.  In this case, I’m assuming if any of these guys were moved into the closer role, they would face an average situation with a Leverage Index of 1.93.  LWAR is found, then, by 1.93 * WAR.

The bolded numbers are WAR/80 IP.  I’ve also supplied LWAR/80, WAR/10, and LWAR/10.

nameLast nameFirst Age ERA mFIP ERARAA/80 FIPRAA/80 ERAWAA/80 FIPWAA/80 WAR/80 LWAR/80 Value/80 Lvalue/80 Value/10 Lvalue/10
Rodriguez Francisco 27 3.27 3.41 9.51 8.27 0.95 0.83 1.05 2.03 5.08 9.83 0.64 1.23
Wood Kerry 32 3.76 3.46 5.16 7.82 0.52 0.78 1.01 1.94 4.88 9.43 0.61 1.18
Fuentes Brian 34 3.63 3.70 6.31 5.69 0.63 0.57 0.8 1.55 3.89 7.53 0.49 0.94
Beimel Joe 32 3.78 3.93 4.98 3.64 0.5 0.36 0.61 1.18 2.95 5.71 0.37 0.71
Hoffman Trevor 42 3.74 4.04 5.33 2.67 0.53 0.27 0.52 1 2.5 4.83 0.31 0.6
Paronto Chad 34 4.24 4.08 0.89 2.31 0.09 0.23 0.48 0.93 2.34 4.52 0.29 0.56
Julio Jorge 30 4.4 4.16 -0.53 1.6 -0.05 0.16 0.41 0.8 2.01 3.88 0.25 0.49
Oliver Darren 39 3.9 4.17 3.91 1.51 0.39 0.15 0.41 0.78 1.97 3.8 0.25 0.48
Correia Kevin 29 4.63 4.36 -2.58 -0.18 -0.26 -0.02 0.25 0.47 1.19 2.3 0.15 0.29
Schroder Chris 31 4.22 4.39 1.07 -0.44 0.11 -0.04 0.22 0.42 1.07 2.06 0.13 0.26
Lieber Jon 39 4.76 4.56 -3.73 -1.96 -0.37 -0.2 0.08 0.15 0.37 0.71 0.05 0.09

Here we have the big 4 closers, as well as some other pieces that I think could be good fits.  I especially like Joe Beimel, now that LA declined to offer him arbitration.  He could be a good back end piece.  I think Chris Schroder and Chad Paronto would be goot front end pieces for cheap as well.

As far as the big 4 go, I think we should avoid Hoffman.  He’s been benefitting from Petco (and Marcel doesn’t know parks) and he’s on a swift decline.  I think either of the other three have the potential to be a good deal, and the longer it goes without either of them signing, the better the likelihood of a good deal for us.

Overall, I think there’s plenty on the market to suit our needs this winter.  The only question is whether or not we can find the value to push us into the playoffs.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - Free Agents?

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

This Week’s Topic: What non blue-chip free agents should the Brewers go after?

Tyler -

Free agency is a magical time where destinies are revised, teams once declared non-threats now lead the pack, and shirt jersey sales for a franchise’s newest member are comparable only to that of personalized No. 69 “Big Sexy” apparel. As a Brewer fan, one becomes accustomed to zooming past the flashy new products in store and, instead, sifting through the thrift store bargain bin for a misplaced Talking Heads record that is an affordable yet useful and even entertaining free agent tool.
To keep my picks shorter than my epic introduction, I’ll list a pitcher and a position player along with some benefits to Milwaukee acquiring their services.
Starting Pitchers:
Jon Garland – This 29-year-old would be a prime candidate to sign should Milwaukee want a long-term resolution to a lack of top of rotation-type hurlers on staff.
- He averages just below 32 starts a year… about 35 games/year.
- He’s coming off a not-so-hot 2008 so might be more of a bargain than initially expected.
- Career 4.47 E.R.A. (all in the American League).
Eric Hinske – I know I sound like a broken record with my odd adoration for Menasha’s (other) wunderkind. But with Craig Counsell’s (awesome) exit at least for the time being, a player like Hinske would be a versatile and effective piece for Milwaukee. The only hole in the starting lineup is third base which – if not addressed internally by moving Hardy or by a trade – won’t be given the relatively barren market at the position. Might as well fill in the bench.
- Left-handed bat with some pop (20 homers, 60 RBI in part time play last year).
- Not great numbers, but all obtained as a member of competitive AL East teams; I’d assume a slight j ump in numbers with a move to the NL.
- Can play decently (no worse than Hall or Fielder respectively) at either corner infield spot and legitimately well in the outfield.
- Flashes of speed for a guy his size… or plain good base running, call what got him 10 swipes in limited time last season what you will.
- Cheap. And with a possible return to the motherland, maybe even more affordable. He’s not a flashy choice, or even the best choice. But try to find better for the money along with the knowledge of exactly the production you’ll get.

What’d you want me to say, A.J. Burnett and Joe Crede? Unless by way of trade (which I see as likely), I don’t see Milwaukee making any splashes in free agency. Hunker down for a quiet winter in Brewland.

Jared -

As the Brewers look to fill holes this offseason, they’ll likely look at starting pitching, relief pitching, third base and the bench.

Third Base - The options at third base in free agency do not appear to be great and the team may end up handing the job to prospect Mat Gamel if they can’t find a third baseman via the trade market.

Starting Pitching - The starting pitching field is deeper in free agency, but expensive. The Brewers are likely to lose Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia. Getting a full season of Yovani Gallardo would help, but they could still use another arm. If they don’t work a trade, I think Jon Garland would be fairly inexpensive (compared to the top free agents) and could be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. A rotation of Gallardo, Parra, Garland, Bush and Suppan would not blow anyone away, but it would be relatively solid. I think they should also look to sign Chris Capuano to a minor-league deal so he can rehab and be an option a month or two into the season.

Relief Pitching - While there are a glut of closers available via trade or free agency, I don’t think the Brewers want to spend much in a swap or in a contract on a 9th-inning man so they may look for a closer internally. If they go with that approach, it would be smart to bring in some reliable bullpen arms. Brandon Lyon might be someone they look towards. He has been a fairly reliable bullpen option and even has some closing experience. They should also look to resign Brian Shouse as their lefty specialist.

The Bench - The Brewers need a utility infielder and may bring Craig Counsell back, but I think they should make a run at Mark Loretta first. Loretta might get an offer for a starting job and then he’s probably not coming to Milwaukee. Loretta is a valuable player off the bench because he can play first, second, third and shortstop and he puts up decent hitting numbers. He could probably count on hitting the field a lot in Milwaukee too since there are some question marks at second and third and he’d be the top option if Weeks, Hardy or whoever is playing third go down.
So, recapping, I’d say Garland, Lyon, Shouse and Loretta would be a good group of less costly vets to target to round out the team. They might not be flashy choices, but they’d help fill out depth on a young team.
Bryan -
With the Cubs making a push for Peavy and the Cardinals waving both Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick as trade pieces, the Brewers can’t afford to be completely dormant this offseason. Third base is a concern, but the free agent crop is very thin at third this offseason. I’d be alright with the Brewers giving Hall another shot while having Gamel in the background getting ready. I actually would like to see Nick Punto playing the role Craig Counsell has the past two years if the Brewers could get him. Hopefully Ray Durham can re-sign with the Brewers as well, providing veteran leadership and an insurance policy for Rickie Weeks.
I actually liked the scheme the Brewers took to their bullpen last season, which was aquiring veteran arms to one year deals. I thought Gagne was risky (not Riske), but when I saw that he was backed up by Mota, Riske, Shouse, and Torres, I felt much better. We now have Riske, Villa, and Stetter in the pen (with the possibility of McClung and others), but we need someone to close. This is why the Brewers need to get an offer out to Brandon Lyon. He’s young and has been a closer, but lost his job halfway through the year (much like Cordero). Hopefully the Brewers can re-sign Shouse to a deal, because he has been a great professional in Milwaukee and it’s always nice to have two lefties in the pen. Braden Looper is also an interesting option. He was a starter last year, but has relief and post season experience.
The Brewers also need one starting pitcher. I hope, like most of you, that Sabathia will take the Brewers offer, but that would be pure gravy and is not very likely. If they don’t land one of the biggest free agents in baseball this offseason, they shouldn’t feel helpless. Jon Garland would be a great addition. He’s a hard working pitcher that you can count on. However, I don’t think he’s coming. I actually would take Carl Pavano. I think New York had too much media and too many high standards that the Brewers could sign him to a one or two year deal. I know he may be considered blue chip, but it’s worth noting that there has been an eerie silence on the Ben Sheets front as well, which makes me think that they could possibly bring him back as a starter or closer, but that’s still about as likely as landing Sabathia albeit slightly more likely in my opinion. No matter what happens in free agency, the Brewers shouldn’t feel the need to bring in a long term contract which effectively makes any free agent acquisition less of a risk.
For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 3 for 3 for Jon Garland, a mention of former Brewer Mark Loretta, but no mention of former Brewer Glendon Rusch. Anyone else wanna throw some mac and cheese on the hot stove?

Unpopular Opinions: Penny, Hinske, Pavano

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Most every Brewer fan would like seeing CC Sabathia back in Milwaukee. Some see an actual possibility for the Brewers to trade Rickie Weeks for Garrett Atkins after trading Prince Fielder for Phillip Hughes and Robinson Cano. And still others are dead set on countless other blockbuster trades or free agent acquisitions in this Brewers offseason. Not to be the first to kill the collective buzz, or pour dirt in the Kool-Aid from which the fan base as a whole is presently sipping – but there is the glaring probability that none of the superstars you wish signed or traded for end up as Brewers.

“Unpopular Opinions” are just that, pessimistic, Armageddon, doom’s day-esque sad faces drawn on the Brewers (a realist’s view). So before blowing up the comment box, know that these opinions and suggestions, unpopular as they may be, are to be set aside for if – and ultimately when – the more glamorous possibilities have been unfruitfully exercised.

Brad Penny – Brewers ace?:
While Derek Lowe has many teams licking their lips, his Dodger teammate Brad Penny is also available. Penny’s club option was declined, making him a free agent. He’s coming off his worst and most injury-riddled season of his career, but prior to that Penny was a great, arguably top-tier hurler. At 31, he can safely (and due to bad season, affordably) be inked to a multi-year deal (3-4 years?). And, unlike Type-A free agent Derek Lowe, Penny is a Type-B.

Hinske homecoming:
I know I lost a lot of you at “Hinske,” but hear me out. With Craig Counsell’s option being declined and Joe Dillon shitty/in Oakland, Milwaukee is again in need of a super-utility kind of player to lend versatility of not being terrible at numerous positions, preferably with the ability to bat left-handed. Hinske fills that need, as he can man corner outfield, first base and third base proficiently. As far as the offense goes, he clubbed 20 homers and 60 RBI in fewer than 400 ABs last season… and stole 10 bases! This Menasha, WI native and former AL Rookie of the Year was signed to a minor league deal by the Rays in 2008, and I’m sure wouldn’t demand too high a bounty if it meant a belated homecoming, and first season outside the AL East.

No, the other oft-injured former Marlins pitcher…:
Carl Pavano hasn’t pitched more than 200 innings in a season since 2004. Since that time frame he signed a HUGE contract, both had and lost Alyssa Milano, was hurt in various oddball ways and became the poster boy for worst case scenario outcomes for free agency. All that makes him a perfect acquisition for Milwaukee… well maybe not the Alyssa Milano thing. If the Chris Capuano career reclamation process goes awry, why not bring in Pavano with the spare change and food scraps Doug Melvin picks out of his moustache? Think a higher upside, lower risk and cheaper Kyle Lohse signing by the Cardinals in 2008, and we’re on the same page. If anything, Milwaukee is left with a cute long reliever that ugly girls from West Bend can make homemade shirts about.

Doors can be closed from inside too:
Remember when the Brewers signed Derrick Turnbow to a boisterous multi-year pay day? You know, the contract those cactus league nachos you’ll buy next July will still help pay off? Or do you remember how everyone whined and cried about paying Eric Gagne $10 M to stunt double for Seth Rogen and give Milwaukee negative attention? Long story short, closers can be purchased, but they can also be made from scratch. Why waste way too much money on K-Rod or Brian Fuentes? Why sent players to Colorado for new Rockie Huston Street? Promote from within. One of Seth McClung, David Riske, Carlos Villanueva or Mitch Stetter is bound to stick and make the role his to lose. Once the most overrated and short-lived position is addressed from within, the more important middle and/or situational relief spots can be solidified via trades or free agency. Without unsung pitchers to hold the lead or keep their team in the game, a closer – no matter how marketable his name may be – doesn’t mean much.

That’s it for the unpopular opinions, but keep checking – I’m bound to have more.

Hinske Hintskes

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Eric Hinske

Prior to yesterday’s devestating Packers loss I happened upon Eric Hinske’s brother outside a Green Bay restaurant. Being fellow Wisconsinites and Menasha High graduates, I inquired on the status of the free agent World Champ.

I was told (as could be assumed) the Cameron signing all but dashed Hinske’s hopes of playing for his hometown team in 2008 but he was waiting on an offer from the Diamondbacks in the coming week. Both MlbTraderumors and Roto seem to support this scenario. He is apparently an Arizona resident now, so such an offer would likely be welcomed by the former American League Rookie of the Year.

I suppose this doesn’t really impact the Brewers, but I thought some might enjoy a little tidbit - a Hintske, if you will - on the possible destiny of a Wisconsin athlete and someone whose career I’ve always followed. Best of luck wherever you may land, Eric… unless it’s Wrigley of course.

Insomniac Ink