December 2008

Can I worry yet?

With the Yankees signing basically every power player on the market, I’m beginning to wonder who’s going to be left for anyone else to sign. It’s as if CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira are going to join forces with A-Rod and Jeter and form some sort of baseball Megazord and just take out everything in its path. Or, at least, that’s Hal Steinbrenner’s hope. Otherwise it’s going to be a situation of “Look how much money we have!” that could all just implode if the Yanks don’t go to the playoffs again this year. Wouldn’t that just be so sad?

I mean, really though. This team is spending at least $423.5 million over a span of 8 years on just 3 players. What did we learn about putting all your eggs in one basket? That you shouldn’t do it, right? Granted, the Yankees have the most liberal payroll in baseball. And they’ve got that sparkly new stadium that needs to be paid for. If big names will draw the kind of people necessary to pay the astronomical ticket prices, then I guess someone in the organization is making the right moves. Creating some sort of baseball Superpower that, on paper, should just flat-out dominate? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, Hal.

For the Brewers, the Yankees aren’t a threat unless the 2 somehow would meet at the World Series in 2009. I am really thankful that they’re in the American League, I guess I’m just a little bitter that their market and payroll are so much bigger than the Brewers. Well, not true. Mostly, I’m just a little shocked at CC’s decision to play seemingly only for money. And that Teixeira had to sign, too, taking away the Brewers’ first-round draft pick.

With all that New York has done since the market opened, and with how little the Brewers have accomplished, I’m starting to wonder what my team will be doing in the coming weeks. They’re still in dire need of at least 1 more starter and I wouldn’t mind another arm or 2 to bolster the bullpen. Randy Johnson found a home for what could very well be his last year with San Francisco, so he’s out. Randy Wolf is still out there somewhere. Derek Lowe seems like a viable option. His demands are a bit high at $18 mil a season for a long-term contract, but why not at least make him an offer? It couldn’t hurt. Braden Looper was on the Brewers’ radar for a bit, and Doug Melvin says talks will probably continue after the Holidays. And there’s still Jake Peavy, if he lowers his own demands on where he’s willing to go. Oh, and there’s always Mr. Reliable, Ben Sheets coming back if no one else wants him. Which is seemingly how it’s turning out.

So far the Brewers have done very little to sign players. Reliever Jorge Julio was signed for the duration of 2009. Mike Lamb and Todd Coffey will be back, too. Yeah. That’s pretty much it. Everyone else is signed to Minor League contracts. Chris Capuano will start the year in the minors, which is probably for the better seeing as the guy didn’t pitch at all in ’08 and finished 2007 with what? 12 losses in a row? The Brewers also signed veteran lefty outfielder Trot Nixon to a Minor League contract, but have invited him to Spring Training. If he impresses, he could be on the active roster come Opening Day.

So, I guess I shouldn’t really say that the Brewers haven’t done anything. They just haven’t done much. And because the Brewers are really good at growing their own players, I should be thinking about the guys down in the farm system, too. I guess I’m just a little worried that more action hasn’t been taken to try and sign other free agents. I know Milwaukee doesn’t have the same resources as other teams out there, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

Yet again, I leave you with my wait and see sign-off. Seems like when I do get time to write, that’s what I’ve been ending with. So, we shall see in the coming weeks what that roster might start to look like.

Sniff sniff…thanks for the memories, CC

Well, that’s that. CC Sabathia came, saw and conquered and now, $161 million richer, it’s c’est la vie Milwaukee.

I’m incredibly grateful for what he was able to do for the team in the short time he was with the Brewers, but it’s just extremely sad to have to see him go. Especially to the Yankees. Ugh. Even though Doug Melvin was trying to get in a meeting to offer another year plus other incentives, CC’s mind was more than likely made up. It does seem a little weird that wanting to stay in the National League and preferring a West Coast team just got thrown out the window. But why wouldn’t it when you can become the highest paid pitcher in history? I did, however, love trying to factor in taxes in Milwaukee vs. New York. When you’re making that much money, a couple million in taxes probably won’t change your mind. But nice try, Doug. I applaud your effort.

In addition to Sabathia, it appears Mike Cameron is on his way to New York, too. I suppose Melky Cabrera would be a nice centerfield replacement, and a much-needed left-handed bat. I guess that one kind of worked itself out, but the Brewers are in serious need of starting pitchers and those talks need to start panning out soon.

Jeff Suppan, Dave Bush and Manny Parra are good, but this team needs more. Losing 2 aces (If you consider Ben Sheets an ace. Ugh.) is going to weigh very heavily on the Brewers. I probably wouldn’t be opposed to The Big Unit making his way to Milwaukee. I just don’t know how likely that is, nor do I trust bringing on such a, um, veteran, as Randy Johnson. Great pitcher, but what kind of deal will it take and will it be worth it? I also think that serious consideration should be made for Jake Peavy. I think he’s being far too picky for his own good, and the Padres are looking to trade. The Brewers have some good, young players that could very well be on the trading block if Peavy becomes a person of interest on the pitching front.

With Salomon Torres officially filing for retirement, Milwaukee is looking at closers, as well. I think the job should be a lock for Seth McClung after his stellar stints at the end of last season, but something tells me management thinks otherwise. The Brewers have cooled interest in Trevor Hoffman but still hope to remain as a front-runner for Brian Fuentes. But Tony LaRussa may have other plans that could keep the search wide open for Milwaukee. I still say give the job to McClung and set your sights on a set-up man.

Mike Lamb has signed on for the 2009 season, adding another left-handed bat, but also another 3rd baseman. The platoon didn’t sit well with Bill Hall last season, but it appears to be heading in that direction for ’09 too. That platoon could be further complicated by the possible addition of Mat Gamel, assuming Spring Training goes well for the young infielder. God, what would they have done if Ryan Braun didn’t work out in left field?

So, for now, Milwaukee still has a lot of question marks. With the GM meetings wrapping up and trades and deals being made left and right, one can only assume the holes will start to fill in rather quickly. I’m pretty confident the Brewers will emerge in Arizona with a pretty well-rounded team, but I’m just getting a little antsy waiting to see where everyone will end up.

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